Leaving the port of Invergordon you will see the murals painted throughout the town and the lovely floral displays in neighbouring Alness.
Invergordon has several murals depicting various aspects of Scottish tradition and the town of Alness has a proud history of success with the floral displays. Now taking the road known as ‘The Struie’ you arrive at ‘Millionaires View’.
Millionaires’ view as it is known locally gives you fantastic views for up to 40 miles across the Dornoch Firth and the mountains of Sutherland. You now continue through Bonar Bridge and onto the Falls of Shin salmon ladder.
The Falls of Shin are famous as a salmon leap, rather than a high waterfall. Every year throughout the summer the salmon return from the open sea to spawn. These fish have swum up the Dornoch Firth and the Kyle of Sutherland to return to the river that they themselves were spawned in. However in order to get to the spawning grounds in the upper reaches of the River Shin they have to pass the raging torrent of water at the falls. Using their powerful tails they leap against the current, often jumping completely clear of the water. Some make it first time and are able to continue their journey while others have to try and try again. Next it’s whisky time, at the Clynelish Distillery.
Now it’s time for a dram! The Clynelish Distillery does a great tour of the distillery where you learn about the whisky making process. This is a great tour even for non whisky drinkers like myself! The Clynelish Distillery can be found just north of Brora. The original distillery was started in 1819 by the Marquis of Stafford, who later became the First Duke of Sutherland. It was a great success and by the end of the century had to stop taking trade orders. In 1967 another modern distillery was built next door, being named Clynelish resulting in the original distillery being renamed Brora after the town. Spring water for the distillery comes from the Clynemilton burn and the single malt produced here is marked by a fruity, slightly smoky flavour. Next stop is Dunrobin Castle, one of the best places to visit in the north of Scotland.
Dunrobin Castle is the most northerly and largest of Scotland’s great houses, with 189 rooms. It is steeped in history dating back to the early 1300s. Since this time it has been continuously inhabited, firstly by the Earls of Sutherland and then the Dukes of Sutherland. It resembles a French Chateâu with Sir Charles Barry who designed the Houses of Parliment and Scotland’s Robert Lorimer providing architectural influences. It has previously been used as a naval hospital during the first World War and then as a boys boarding school.
Dunrobin Castle will be one of the highlights of your day, it has so much to offer visitors, making it somewhere not to be missed. Here you can tour the castle and see the manificent rooms, decor and displays. Outside there are beautiful gardens and a museum almost hidden in the far corner. The museum has an amazing collection of items from all over the world, dating back centuries. Saving what I think is best till last, the Falconry display which takes place at 11:30 and 14:00 on the castle lawn. The spectacular shows feature golden eagles, peregrine falcons and owls which are all resident here in the north of Scotland. Andy the Falconer puts the birds through their paces in an aerobatic display whilst explaining the different hunting methods used. Visitors are encouraged to be involved by holding, flying and feeding the birds. This is a chance to take amazing photos of the birds close up. Heading back towards the boat, next stop is the Loch Fleet nature reserve.
Loch Fleet is a magnificent tidal basin which has a variety of habitats and species. From the shore you can spot seals and otters. When the tide is out sand banks are visible and the seals can be seen lying on them bathing in the sunshine. Several varieties of birds can be seen such as oyster catchers and swallows. You now continue to the Royal Burgh of Dornoch.
Dornoch is famous for its cathedral, founded in 1224. It has been restored twice since then and has fantastic stained glass windows some of which were paid for by Scotland’s top philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. It is said the last witch in Scotland was burnt here in 1722, this is commemorated by the Witch’s Stone. Dornoch also boasts a championship links golf course ranked 13th in the world and a stunning beach running miles up the coast. You now make your way back to the ship through small villages and towns, where a piper welcomes you back on board.
This a full day tour lasting 8 hours.
Cost for up to 4 people is £320. For 5-8 people £400.
A £50 deposit is required to secure your booking.
Deposit payment details sent after tour availability confirmed.
Please note admission prices not included.