Places to Visit

Well Worth a Visit

The Highlands has so much to offer in terms of beautiful scenery and sights to see. Below are just a few places you may wish to visit during your stay at Glenbain or Loanan.    

Handa

Handa Island or simply Handa is an island off the west coast of Sutherland. The island is of national importance for its birdlife and maritime vegetation. It is a Scottish Wildlife Trust nature reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Protection Area (SPA). A small ferry sails to Handa from Tarbet on the mainland and boat trips operate to it from Fanagmore. The island receives five thousand visitors per annum.

Smoo Cave

Smoo Cave is a large combined sea cave and freshwater cave in Durness in Sutherland. The cave name is thought to originate from the Norse ‘smjugg’ or ‘smuga’, meaning a hole or hiding-place. Situated around a mile to the east of the town of Durness, the cave can be explored by boat or by the path from the car park on the cliffs. The cave boasts one of the largest entrances to any sea cave in Britain at 50 ft high and is floodlit inside. It was formed by a burn that runs down into the rear chamber as well as erosion caused by the sea.

Lochinver

The small fishing port and resort of Lochinver on the north west coast offers the very best views back across to Suilven. Sitting on a sheltered bay north of Ullapool, the town splits into three parts: the harbour, the village, and Baddidarrach, along the shore of Loch Inver.
A few miles northeast is Loch Assynt which is the source of the River Inver which flows into Loch Inver at the village. There are 200 or so lochans in the area which makes the place very popular with anglers.

Ullapool

The picturesque fishing town of Ullapool is located around 45 miles north-west of Inverness and lies on the shores of Lochbroom.  Despite its small size it is the largest settlement for many miles around and an important port and tourist destination. The twice daily ferry for Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis sails from Ullapool.

Inverewe Garden and Estate

Cared for by the National Trust for Scotland, the award-winning Inverewe Garden is a botanical garden located just to the north of Poolewe in Wester Ross.  It is noted for the variety within its Gulf Stream aided collection.  As well as the garden, the wider estate offers plenty to see and is home to red squirrels, red deer, otters, seals and golden eagles. 

Ardvreck Castle

When travelling north from Inchnadamph on the A837 you can see two ruins at the east end of Loch Assynt. Close to the road is the shell of Calda House whilst the remains of Ardvreck Castle lie a little to the west, on a promontory projecting into the loch.

cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Mary and Angus Hogg - geograph.org.uk/p/3604944

The Great Stack on Handa

cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Mary and Angus Hogg – geograph.org.uk/p/3604944
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © kevin rothwell - geograph.org.uk/p/1227391

Inside Smoo Cave

cc-by-sa/2.0 – © kevin rothwell – geograph.org.uk/p/1227391
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Jim Barton - geograph.org.uk/p/2973496

Lochinver Harbour

cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Jim Barton – geograph.org.uk/p/2973496
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Gordon Hatton - geograph.org.uk/p/5780221

Ullapool's Shore Street

cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Gordon Hatton – geograph.org.uk/p/5780221
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Robin Drayton - geograph.org.uk/p/2460184

Entrance to Inverewe Garden

cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Robin Drayton – geograph.org.uk/p/2460184
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Richard Baker - geograph.org.uk/p/22724

Ardvreck Castle on the Shore of Loch Assynt

cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Richard Baker – geograph.org.uk/p/22724
Falls of Shin Visitor Centre

The Falls of Shin visitor attraction near Lairg is famous for being one of the best places in Scotland to view salmon leaping upstream. The visitor centre features a restaurant and gift shop, forest trails, mini golf, and children’s play park. Admission and parking are free.

Kinlochbervie

This West Highland crofting community of Kinlochbervie is scattered harbour village in the north west of Sutherland. It is known for its huge fish-processing plant and modern concrete harbour where trucks from across Europe collect fish. It is the most northerly port on the west coast of Scotland.

Kylesku Bridge

The Kylesku Bridge (officially known since 2019 by its Gaelic name Drochaid a’ Chaolais Chumhaing is a distinctively curved concrete box girder bridge that crosses the Loch a’ Chàirn Bhàin in Sutherland. It is listed as category A, the highest grade. The cost of the bridge was £4 million after being initially budgeted at £2.75 million. The bridge opened to traffic in July 1984, and was formally opened by the Queen on 8 August 1984.

Sandwood Bay

Sandwood Bay is a natural bay on the far north-west coast and is best known for its remote beach and Am Buachaille, a sea stack, and lies about 5 miles south of Cape Wrath. Behind the bay’s large dunes, stretches the freshwater Sandwood Loch. The scenic wild beach is reputedly the most beautiful beach in Britain and offers nearly 1.5 miles wide pink sand flanked by cliffs. The bay is part of the Sandwood Estate which is run by the John Muir Trust.

cc-by-sa/2.0 - © valenta - geograph.org.uk/p/5915292

Falls of Shin Visitor Centre

cc-by-sa/2.0 – © valenta – geograph.org.uk/p/5915292
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Bob Jones - geograph.org.uk/p/442796

Trawlers in Kinlochbervie Harbour

cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Bob Jones – geograph.org.uk/p/442796
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Harry Wilson - geograph.org.uk/p/661011

Kylesku Bridge

cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Harry Wilson – geograph.org.uk/p/661011
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Gordon Brown - geograph.org.uk/p/827746

Stunning Sandwood Bay

cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Gordon Brown – geograph.org.uk/p/827746
Dornoch

Dornoch is a town, seaside resort, and former royal burgh situated on the north shore of the Dornoch Firth, near to where it opens into the Moray Firth to the east. This thriving community is blessed with a particularly sunny climate thanks to its sheltered position, and has miles of golden sand beaches. The beach stretches from Dornoch Point heading past Embo beach to the mouth of Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve. Adjacent to the beach is a Site of Special Scientific Interest that features nesting birds, flora and fauna. With its 13th in the world ranking, the famous Royal Dornoch championship course attracts golfers from far and near.  

Golspie

Golspie is an attractive little seaside resort in the shadow of Ben Bhraggie situated just 10 miles north of Dornoch. It boasts a lovely long sandy beach and there are a number of great scenic walks around the area including one at the Big Burn with its spectacular waterfalls. Situated just north of the village is Dunrobin Castle, one of the grandest houses in the north of Scotland. Golfers can enjoy the excellent links course at Golspie Golf Club.  

Brora

Another village on the magnificent east coast of Sutherland, Brora boasts a small golden sandy beach with Jurassic rocks and sloping sea front. This unspoilt beach is great for wildlife watching with dolphins, minke whales, and grey and common seals making regular appearances off the coastline. You’ll find Brora an ideal place for walking and picnics too! Like nearby Golspie and Dornoch, Brora also has a superb golf course. Sited just off the main A9 trunk road is Clynelish Distillery.   

cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Alex Passmore - geograph.org.uk/p/6320412

Dornoch Castle Hotel

cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Alex Passmore – geograph.org.uk/p/6320412
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © valenta - geograph.org.uk/p/5782940

Royal Dornoch Golf Club

cc-by-sa/2.0 – © valenta – geograph.org.uk/p/5782940
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Andrew Tryon - geograph.org.uk/p/5316810

Dunrobin Castle, Golspie

cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Andrew Tryon – geograph.org.uk/p/5316810
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Colin Kinnear - geograph.org.uk/p/6427806

Clynelish Distillery, Brora

cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Colin Kinnear – geograph.org.uk/p/6427806