Self Catering Holiday Cottage Sutherland
Offering a beautiful Self Catering Holiday Cottage in Sutherland. This Luxury Remote Detached Holiday Cottage is easily accessible by train or car even in the winter.
After enjoying a breathtaking unforgettable journey to the Northern Highlands of Scotland, arrive to total comfort and relaxation and enjoy spectacular views of the North Sea and Northern skyline from the Northern facing conservatory. The cottage is within easy reach of Inverness and is the ideal touring base for Sutherland, Caithness, Morayshire, Ross-shire, Wester Ross and the Orkney Islands
Situated within walking distance of the famous hunting lodge the Navidale House Hotel, you can also visit the local Harbour, fish for Brown Trout & Salmon in the local River Helmsdale, play golf on the many local links courses....and once a month on average maybe a wee glimpse of the famous and mysterious Northern lights
"So Welcome to the Northern Highlands, the sunny east coast & it's fantastic beaches"
Sutherland Cape Wrath, Kyle of Tongue, John O'Groats
The pretty highland village of Helmsdale and it's harbour are situated within the semi tropical mini climate of the Far North East coast of Scotland offering a fantastic central location for touring the Northern Highlands, Golfing (6 courses are within 30 minutes drive) Walking, bird watching, stalking, wild fowling and sight seeing....or perhaps panning for Gold as many hundreds did in the 1880s and gold is still to be found in the local streams and hills!
Fantastic sunset or sunrise?
The morning sun seen from the cottage...April 05:30am!
The areas of Sutherland and Caithness form the great, empty, northern wilderness of Britain; having three coasts, a vast interior, and the lowest population of any area in Western Europe. Its scenery is surprisingly varied, ranging from fantastic mountain ranges to stunning scenery ranging from the 'Flow Country', an area of wild mountains and almost impenetrable bogs and moorland, to the 'machair', coastal grassland based on old dunes of shell sand and finally the Atlantic oakwood.
Their scenery varies from wild cliffs and tiny islands to lonely moorland and remote golden sandy beaches. You will find Majestic castles like Dunrobin, Mey, Old Wick and Girnigoe, dozens of ancient monuments, quality tweeds and woollens, whisky distilleries such as Clynelish Distillery. Plus tree-lined twisting roads and foaming rivers.
(left) Navidale Bay 10 minutes walk from Sea View. Helmsdale, the Harbour and River Helmsdale
The pretty village of Helmsdale offers the visitor a select choice of quality restaurants, Inns, Art and craft shops and of course the fabulous timespan museum. Within 5 minutes you can drive up the Strath of Kildonan, notorious scene of the Highland Clearances, into open vistas around Forsinard and the RSPB Reserve. The pool systems and patterned bogs of the Flow Country are very important breeding grounds for rare birds and wildlife. Helmsdale centrally located offers unlimited opportunities for the explorer...how much time do you have available and what would you like to see?
Favorite walks from Sea View Cottage
Or in a westerley direction to huge mountains and isolated Lochs like Loch Shin and the rewarding Salmon and Trout rivers of Sutherland and Wester Ross.
Or you can head south to the wonderful mysterious Black Isle renowned for its scenic beauty and mild dry climate and easily as far as Loch Ness in around 2 hours.
However if you are just looking for a lazy relaxing holiday...just enjoy the locality of Helmsdale, it's vast wildlife, beautiful often sun drenched deserted golden beaches, castles, scenic walks along coastal paths, rivers and the local hills, fishing in the River Helmsdale and Brora (frequented by prince Charles) or even Gold Panning a popular attraction just a few minutes up the road in the awe inspiring Strath of Kildonan.
The majestic Dunrobin Castle, Berridale Bay, River Brora, Port Gower and the surrounding countryside
The Wildlife around Helmsdale
Living with you during your stay on and around this most region are Puffins, Eagles, Great Skua, Ravens, Rock Dove, Twite and of course Roe Deer....and if you want to see, Kingfishers, Otters, Seals, Dolphins, Pilot and Killer Whales and a whole host of other wildlife...simply take a stroll down to the shores or Helmsdale Harbour.
Breeding Puffins are usually present on the cliffs from March to September and also look out for the Great Northern Diver, Common Scoter, Goldeneye, ducks and gulls. White-fronted Geese overwinter in nearby Loch Mey. Except for the cliff breeding colonies, there are birds in residence year-round.
The flow Country to the North is a very important breeding ground for the Slavonian Grebe, Capercaillie, Ptarmigan, Osprey, Dotterel, Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill and Snow Bunting and for waders like the Golden Plover and Greenshank, waterfowl such as Red- and Black-throated Divers, Common Scoter and Red-breasted Merganser, as well as raptors like Hen Harrier and Merlin.
But please follow the birdwatchers and countryside codes. Please do not disturb nesting birds, and take care in sensitive areas. Please be very careful and discrete with any information you have been told or on species you discover, this information should only be passed on to the RSPB (Etive House, Beechwood Park, Inverness) and not put into the public domain. Careless talk can put at risk the birds that you have enjoyed watching.
Helmsdale Harbour Cottages (left) The rewarding river Helmsdale (middle) and Navidale bay (Right)
Award Winning beaches on the North East Coast
In addition to Helmsdale, the North East Coast provides some of the finest beaches in the UK and all within 20 minutes drive are a number of record-breaking beaches, awarded the "Rural Seaside Award" by the body Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB). Among them are Brora Beach, Golspie North Beach, and Golspie South Beach pictured above and Embo.
Helmsdale South Sands (left) Golspie Sands (middle) Embo Sands (Right)
Brora, the harbour and it's sands
A short drive to the south of Helmsdale lies the medium size town of Brora, along with it's lovely beaches and harbour, there are plenty of shops, a well stocked supermarket, 2 petrol stations, cafes, restaurants, gift shops and yet another links golf course.
Broras amazing sands, it's harbour and local beach
The RSPB Bird Sanctuary Reserve - Forsinard
Forsinard lies in the heart of the internationally important Flow Country of Caithness and Sutherland. Comprising over 10,000 ha of 'blanket bog', the peatlands are best during spring and summer, with birds including golden plovers, hen harriers and greenshanks breeding on the reserve. The reserve is open at all times; visitor centre is open Easter to end of October, daily 9 am to 5.30. It is a must for all nature lovers and is easily reached from Helmsdale up the delightful strath of Kildonan either in by car, bike or train from Helmsdale station to Forsinard station.
The clock tower Brora, the grave yard Navidale bay and commando monument Berridale
The History of Helmsdale
Helmsdale's history goes back to before the construction of Helmsdale Castle built in 1488, but its story actually dates back at least as far as the Vikings, who settled the sheltered mouth of the River Ullie or River Helmsdale as it is now more usually known. The harbour was built in the years from 1818, and extended in 1823 and again in 1892. As you look around Helmsdale's harbour today, try to imagine it as home port for the 200 or more herring boats that once operated from here!
Helmsdale harbour (left) the cottage the small white dot right (middle) the cottage close up (right)
In the early 1800's almost all of the inland settlements in this area were cleared of their inhabitants in order to make way for more profitable residents: sheep. Clearances took place right across the Highlands and Islands, but those perpetrated by the first Duke of Sutherland in this area were amongst the most notorious. Helmsdale grew as a planned village from 1814, laid out on a grid pattern by the Sutherland Estates. Some of the cleared were resettled in Helmsdale, as an alternative to being shipped to the colonies or to North America. The aim was to create a community able to live from both fishing and farming, and, in particular take advantage of the herring boom then in full swing. The harbour was built in the years from 1818, and extended in 1823 and again in 1892.
A more recent attraction in Helmsdale is the Timespan Heritage Centre. The museum here gives an insight into the colourful history of Helmsdale and the surrounding area particularly the gold rush of 1869, which focused on two tributaries of the Helmsdale River in Strath Kildonan.
One of Scotlands most picturesque & best kept secrets is found in Sutherland. Loch Shin is over 18 miles in length and only half an hours drive from Sea View Cottage, Helmsdale. Just like Loch Ness it is believed to be the home of deep mysterious creatures.
The Kyle of Tongue "Clan Mackay Country"
A scenic run in your car takes you to the small North coast village of Tongue centre of the "Mackay clan territory" looking west over the Kyle of Tongue. Dominated by Castle Varrich and Ben Hope Scotland's most "Northerly Munro" and Ben Loyal "Queen of Scottish Mountains" which provide dramatic backdrops. The kyle of Tongue is a wildlife paradise - look out for seabirds, eagles, ptarmigans, otters, seals, red deer and enjoy whale and porpoise spotting. This area is still one of Scotland's truly best kept secrets and there are few restrictions to your enjoyment. The area offers wonderful un spoilt game fishing with great yields in a long list of local lochs and rivers, particularly the Naver, Borgie Strathy, Forss and Halladale. Fabulous walking, hillwalking and mountain climbing (you can see the Orkneys from the summit of Ben Hope on a clear day!)
This quiet location attracts lovers of the outdoors throughout the year from Hill-walkers and beachcombers to naturalists, fishers, Historians, geologists, photographers and artists. There are sensational beach, inland and forest walks, also cycle runs along a huge network of single track roads and unspoilt routes - tranquility and timelessness itselfand cycle routes, slipways to suit small boats and sailboards / windsurfing.
Dunnet heads famous lighthouse (left) one of the locals..a Puffin (centre) and John o' Groats (right)
Caithness and Dunnet Head
While staying at Seaview Cottage, why sample the delights of Caithness and it's pretty coastal Towns, Villages, Harbours and sandy beaches such as Wick, Dunbeath, Lybster (below right) and the beautiful sands of Keiss (right)
The Orkney Islands
Better still why not visit the beautiful Orkney islands. There are more than 70 islands in the Orcadian Archipelago.....of which 17 are inhabited and you can easily reach John o' Groats by car in less than 60 minutes and take the fantastic maxi day tour of the Orkneys via the JOG ferry (see below)
Access Orkney daily in the summer from John o' Groats, or Scabster (Thurso) throughout the year... choose from island-hopping, pottering around ancient sites and dreamlike beaches, spending time browsing in craft shops and galleries, sample wholesome cuisine and drink the world famous ale and whisky...Orkney has much to charm the visitor - historic attractions of global significance, diverse wildlife in a pure and serene environment, a rich cultural heritage, and the same traditionally warm and welcoming people you will find in Sutherland.
Orkney Ferries / Orkney Car Hire
For the day tripper on foot the fantastic JOG Ferry Tel 01955 611353. Operating from John O' Groats to (Burwick) Orkney just 40 minutes crossing time this ferry runs every day through the summer from May to the end of September, you can choose from a variety of tours and the maxi day tour at just £37 is fantastic value. You can also access Orkney (12 months/ all year round) from Scrabster (Thurso) via North link ferries. Return Adult fare from just £24 ( Return car fare from £80 and perhaps a little xpensive for just a day trip) however you can easily pick up a hire car at Stromness (Orkney) from either Orkney Car Hire or Orkney Car rental from just £32 per day.
The Falls of Shin & Salmon leaping
Within an easy day out are the Falls of Shin a truly wonderful experience for all the family. Open all year round and less than an hour's drive south from Sea View Cottage, amongst spectacular Highland Scenery, it's well worth the journey down the Coast. After heading west along the A949 and the banks of Beautful Dornoch Firth, Bonar Bridge you arrive at the dramatic waterfalls, where it's famous, natural Atlantic Salmon Leap can take your breath away.
The estate is owned by Mr Al Fayed...see him for yourself as he graces the entrance courtesy of a genuine Madam Tussaud's waxwork. The River Shin is one of the great Salmon rivers in Scotland, with the fresh, clear water - coloured slightly brown due to the natural peaty soil of the landscape - creating perfect conditions for the Atlantic Salmon, and other fish that thrive in a constant flow of fresh water. This most natural feature enthralls visitors lucky enough to witness the many Atlantic Salmon as they battle upstream at the Falls to return to their place of birth in Loch Shin and spawn the next generation. There are also countless river and forest walks, BBQ, gift shop, restaurant and a mini golf course.
The dramatic falls of Shin, The beautiful Dornoch Firth and Bonar Bridge
Wester Ross and Ross-shire
Riches beyond your wildest dreams and Pictures that tell a thousands of words. Again within a day you easily can tour Wester Ross and the beautiful landscape of the north-west Highlands
So where do we start...Should we tell you about the more famous attractions of Wester Ross such as Inverewe gardens, and the Victorian Spa town of Strathpeffer, or about the scenery, the mountains, or maybe the golf-course or the gardens. What about the traditional music, or the fishing, and the walking? Have you ever seen the sunsets, the wildlife, the birds, the history, genealogy. Or perhaps you prefer the sea, the sailing, a kayak trip, the beaches? Maybe you fancy the swimming pool, the sports centre, the cycling? Have you tasted the prawns, the mussels, the lobsters? Are you for a wee dram.?
The dramatic landscapes of Sutherland and Wester Ross
Less than an hour South from Sea View you can reach and explore the magical Black Isle by the Moray Firth. It's picture postcard seaside towns of Fortrose, Rosemarkie, Munlochy and Avoch are a delight to visit particularly Avochs ruined Cathedral.
Chanonry Point is certainly worth a visit as it is reputed to be one of the best spots in the UK to view Bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus from the land. The dolphins are often visible off Chanonry point, particularly on an incoming tide when they play and fish in the strong currents. Other wildlife, including porpoises and grey seals, can also regularly be spotted. European otters Lutra lutra are occasional visitors.
The Dolphins playing at Chanonry Point near Fortrose on the Black Isle
If seeing the Dolphins at Chanonry point has wetted your appetite for unusual creatures why not venture another 20 miles inland to the West to Loch Ness in the highlands of Scotland.
The largest body of Freshwater in Britain, over 25 miles long, over a 1 mile wide and more than 300 metres deep. Home of Scotland's best kept secret the "Loch Ness Monster" One of the most hotly discussed and controversial subjects to this day. In 525 AD the first recorded entry of a sighting was made by St. Columba. Modern day sightings ranging from the sensational 1934 R K Wilson "Surgeons" picture...recently suggested to be a hoax, but even more recently indicated to be a hoax theory within a hoax. To the genuine cine film sequence taken by Tim Dinsdale in 1960. There were also others like Roy Mackal and Robert Rines, plus a regular supply of Sonar and Radar readings picking up strong mid-water contacts in the Loch. here are also of course everyday people with nothing obvious to gain exept for the "loss of respect" from policemen, Monks, Bank Managers, Fishermen, Aero engineers and tourist's with eye witness accounts and further photo evidence.
There have also been many hoaxers and show men to add to the confusion. Scientists alike, do not dispute that large creatures are living in the Loch, but cannot say exactly what they are, the Loch s fairly un-productive because of it's deep dark peaty waters, visibility is virtually zero 3/4 metres down, a number of species of fish, such as Artic Char "once thought extinct" have adapted to hunting and feeding with out the use of eye sight and amazingley can be found living off plankton and smaller fish up to 100 metres deep in the Loch. Original calculations put the the tonnage of fish living in the Loch at around 3 tons, hardly enough to suppport a large creature! more recent surveys indicate an actual tonnage of over 25 tons. "Nessie" The Loch Ness Monster, draw your own conclusions.
The Black Isle (Smaller images) of Fortose, Avoca and the Catherdral ruins
Golfing Holidays in Sutherland and Caithness
Quality links courses such as Brora a beautiful 18 hole Links course designed by James Brai and locally. Helmsdale has its own testing 9 hole course. Within 30 mins are another 4 courses in particular Royal Dornoch - another Links course made famous by Tom Watson and further a field further Championship courses such as Raey.
Fishing is available and can be arranged on the River Helmsdale through the local Fishing Tackle Shop. The River Helmsdale has long been regarded as one of the most prolific and consistent rivers in the world for producing Atlantic salmon. If you are lucky enough to fish on this prime water you will have a chance of hooking a fish from the opening day of the season on 11th January. Fishing can be arranged on the River Helmsdale through the local Fishing Tackle Shop.
The lower River Helmsdale traditionally offers the best sport in springtime as temperatures are generally low. Productive pools over the years include the Flat pool, Lower Caen & Salscraggie, Kilphedir and Torrish. By the end of March and into April the Kildonan falls become productive. By early May the Spring run is in full flow and the upper beats score well. Sea trout & grilse are the next to arrive and early specimens can be caught in May but it is not until mid June before the run really to gathers pace. By late July the main run of grilse has have arrived and sport will be fast and furious throughout the river. The best sea trout fishing will generally be had on the Association water or the upper beats, The Woody, Suisgill & Dalharn will all give you excellent sport from dusk till dawn. By mid August most Helmsdale fish are in the system but good sport can be had right up to the last day of the season on September 30th. Although the river thrives from the luxury of having compensation water when required, spate water usually provides the best fishing towards the back end. If you do get the chance to fish this famous river be sure to take in all the advice of your ghillie and if you are fishing the popular association water, keep an eye on the locals! Unlike the big rivers of the world where casting long distances is important for success, the secret of the Helmsdale is in reading the water and knowing the lies which are often just under your rod tip!
Fishing permits for the River Helmsdale
Salmon Fishing permits are available for the River Helmsdale from early January to the end of September, the River Brora from early February to mid October and the River Berriedale from mid February to the end of October from just £5 per day / £20 per 7 days. The Brown Trout Season is from the middle of March until early October. Coarse fishing, Sea fishing and Rainbow Trout fishing are permitted all year round and no national rod licence is required in Scotland. Fishing permits of all kinds are available from Ronald Sutherlands fishing shop on Dunrobin street, Helmsdale Tel 01431 821372 Mob - 07780 861466
Megan Boyd, Ronald Sutherland's salmon flies
Have accounted for thousands of salmon all over the world now and have become highly sought after, come along and see them being tied on site and maybe even buy a few! Ronald's 30 years fishing experience will also provide you with all the help & equipment required to catch fish locally and overseas by offering you advice & Tackle from quality brand names to suit every pocket. The shop is located on Dunrobin Street, Helmsdale
The Salmon and Trout rich River Helmsdale (fished by Prince Charles) and also within 20 minutes the rivers Brora and Berridale
For the highly active there are a wide range of pursuits from Horse riding and Pony trekking, surfing, sail boarding, land yachting, kites & kite buggying, sub-aqua diving and sailing, places to climb and walk. For the less active and just in need of a rest the beaches are amazing and often you will find one all to yourself. The area has much to offer for those interested in History and archaeology. With a local guide leaflet you can follow trails or head for one of the many ancient monuments.
Train journeys and day trips from Helmsdale
The local railway station at Helmsdale offers a limited but efficient service of direct trains Northbound to Kinbrace, Forsinard (for the bird sanctuary) Thurso (for Orkney) and Wick (for castles & John o Groats) and in the Southbound to Brora (for sandy beaches) Dunrobin halt (for Dunrobin castle) Golspie (for Sandy Beaches) Dingwall and Inverness (for Loch Ness) taking in a wealth of lovely scenery ranging from Mountains and Lochs to sandy beaches and castles.
More information at www.firstscotrail.co.uk
Views of the the famous river Helmsdale and its pretty harbour
The Locality of Helmsdale
The village of itself offers a great choice of local restaurants and Inns particularly The Wayfarer Restaurant
Tel: 01431 821457 La Mirage Restaurant a fine Fifty seater establishment.
Lists sample menus and dining facilities. There is also the Bunillidh Restaurant - Seafood restaurant with a fantastic vegetarian menu. There is also Gilberts traditional tea-rooms open daily. Tel (01431) 821090.
Helmsdale also boasts the fantastic Timespan Heritage Centre. The museum here gives an insight into the colourful history of Helmsdale and the surrounding area. There is also a gallery showcasing the work of international, national and local artists; an excellent cafe overlooking the riverside community garden; and a shop. The Timespan Heritage Centre also contains information about the gold rush of 1869, which focused on two tributaries of the Helmsdale River in Strath Kildonan. It is still possible to pan for gold. There is also a gallery showcasing the work of international, national and local artists. There are various art and craft shops offering a range of animal stoneware sculptures, specializing in wildlife and birds, designed and made by hand. Wild Tiles Mosaics, plus craft courses in mosaic, batik, and textile embroidery.
The nearest Inn / Hotel is the fantastic Navidale House Hotel Tel 01431 821258 a former hunting lodge built by the Duke of sutherland. The recently Refurbished Hotel enjoys some of the most spectacular views of any hotel in Sutherland and there is also easy access to the beach.
For the football fan there is Helmsdale United Football Club. By far the best source of other additional local information is the Helmsdale community web site.
The majestic Dunrobin castle and it's gardens just 20 minutes in the car from Sea View
Dunrobin is the most northerly of Scotland's Great Houses and is certainly one of the most majestic. It is the largest house in the Northern Highlands with 189 rooms, and is one of Britain's oldest continuously inhabited houses, dating in part from the early 1300s.
The history of the castle is quite fascinating and has seen the architectural influences of Sir Charles Barry and latterly Sir Robert Lorimer. The castle has been used as a naval hospital during the First World War and from 1965 to 1972 as a boys' school.
Instead of driving you can take a return train journey from Helmsdale station to Dunrobin halt or Golspie a most scenic 15 minute journey.
Sea View Cottage offers you extremely comfortable accommodation. The cottage is double glazed with full oil fired central heating throughout, its thick stone walls keeping the cold winters and oppresive summer heat waves away.
The kitchen / Dining area is brand new and fully equipped with all the necessary modern equipment including a Dining table and 6 chairs; cooker; oven; microwave; fridge freezer; toaster; kettle; plate warmer; dishwasher; washing machine; tumble dryer; iron and ironing board, radio / cassette player.
The views for the Kitchen / Dining area are fantastic either Mountains or the Sea take your pick !!
Living Space relax and settle into a good book in front of the open fire in the living room comfortably furnished with armchairs and sofas, this room is warm and well lit. In it you will find a TV, VCR, Hi Fi and lovely sea views from the bay window. Or lounge in the Conservatory enjoying amazing Sea Views and benefiting from the sun from dawn till dusk and those famous Northern lights and sun rises.
Downstairs master bedroom after an active day in the fresh air, stretch out in the downstairs master bedroom and watch the TV or relax in its en-suite Jacuzzi bath.
Upstairs the Twin bedroom and (Double bedroom with it's own shower room) both rooms have double glazed dormer windows enjoying fantastic sea views, both rooms have central heating, hanging and drawer space and colour TV'S. Upstairs Toilet there is an additional upstairs room with a Toilet & Sink serving both bedrooms.
The total package... no hidden extras
The cottage is open and available all year round, Electricity, lighting, Total control Heating, Towels and all bed linen, towels and even electric blankets to ensure a cosy night's sleep for everyone. Baby crib or cot and high chair are available on request.
An evening in or out
Take advantage of the long summer evenings in the comfort of the conservatory, conveniently facing the open North Sea, Sea View offers the most wonderful evening views and sunsets...and on crisp clear Autumn and winter nights a wee glance of the Northern lights "Aurora Borealis".....and in the deep mid-winter the sight of 30 foot waves crashing over the cliffs and rocks.
More Views of the mysterious... Northern skies
Or you might take advantage of Sea Views well equipped kitchen and enjoy some home cooking.
Or perhaps you may wish to just soak away your cares in the Jacuzzi bath!
Or maybe you might just chill out in the lounge in front of the 'wood burning stove' after a hard day of relaxation and leisure with your favorite drink and some gentle Highland music
The best time to see the Northern Lights
One of the advantages of the cottages Far North location and the absence of street lamps presents regular sightings of the Northern lights "Aurora Borealis". With good timing you have a good chance of experiencing one of the world's most magnificent natural phenomena: the Northern Lights. The Northern night sky dancing with red, yellow, green, blue and violet streamers, arcs and rays. The best time to see the Northern lights is in the months of October, November, December and January between 10 pm and 3 am. If you don't see the Northern Lights, then at least you'll see the stars - many, many more than you'll see from anywhere less remote. The longer you look up, the more stars will appear!
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