On this northerly day trip you will get a tasting of what brings travellers flocking to the Scottish shores. You’ll see mysterious lochs, beautiful glens, a fairytale castle, a 12th century cathedral, Viking graves, a Whisky Distillery, and hopefully some seals!
As this tour is completely tailorable we would recommend that you select between six and eight tour stops from the Detailed Tour Information tab below. For planning purposes you should leave a minimum of 90 minutes if you wish to tour the inside of Dunrobin Castle, or take a tour at any of the three whisky distilleries, or simply leave it to us on the day of your tour and we will keep you on track.
* The standard vehicle for our tours is a Volvo XC90 SUV which has six passenger seats. For comfort we recommend up to four passengers however if you have a larger group, two small adults or children could use the rearmost seats.
On this northerly shore excursion you will have the option of seeing beautiful lochs, a fairytale castle, a 12th century cathedral, Viking graves, a Whisky Distillery, and hopefully some seals!
This tour is customisable to your preferences and time on shore. We would recommend you choose between 6 and 8 options from the itinerary and we will design a bespoke route for your tour.
You will find eleven options in the Detailed Tour Information tab, it is recommended that you choose between 6 and 8 of these for your day. Note that Dunrobin Castle, and all three of the whisky distilleries tours take around 90 minutes each.
Tour Options and Details
This is a stunning viewpoint from Struie Hill, also called “Million Dollar View” where you’ll see far into Sutherland and beyond. Looking across Loch Migdale, we will be able to see two Sights of Special Scientific Interest on the other bank. Here we have the most northerly Oakwood forest at Ledmore, and one of the last surviving native Pinewoods in Britain.
Between May and September, the Falls of Shin visitor attraction offers one of the best places in Scotland to see salmon leaping upstream. Throughout the summer, salmon return from the ocean, up the Dornoch Firth and Kyle of Sutherland to attempt to reach their spawning ground. Before they reach this, they must get past the waterfall on the River Shin. From the viewing platform, you can watch as they try to get up the river as well as enjoying the views up and down the river.
You can also get a takeaway coffee and cake at the café should you wish to.
Reaching Lairg we will look right up Loch Shin and then travel through a beautiful glen to Dunrobin Castle. Resembling a French Chateau, this castle can be best described as like something out of a fairy tale. It originally dates back to the 1300s and has gone through a number of changes and additions through the centuries. Ticket prices includes entry to falconry display, museum and gardens.
Please note that this castle is open from 1st of April until the 31st of October and the falconry display runs from April until September.
Shops and Food
Dornoch has a range of shops that appeal to travellers and locals alike. There are a few antique shops, a well-stocked whisky shop that also does tastings, and a lovely café that (according to my son) sells the best hot chocolate in Scotland. Andrew Carnegie had very strong connections to Dornoch with the Courthouse Bistro carrying his name. This is also a good place to have lunch during this tour or if you prefer the Dornoch Castle Whisky Bar offers bar food as well as a full a la cart menu.
Next door to the Courthouse is the Old Jail which is now a shop selling a wide range of Scottish goods. This is an opportunity to buy that tartan scarf, or box of shortbread. The shop accepts payment in £, $, and Euros.
This 13th century church built during the reign of King Alexander II is still in use today. The cathedral burnt down during the 16th century and was restored again during the 1830s. It is a beautiful space to spend fifteen minutes in whilst you admire the skill and craftsmanship of our forefathers.
As we head long the shores of Loch Fleet, you may have the chance to see harbour seals as they bask on the beach. During the months of June to August, it is not uncommon to hear the seal mothers calling to their pups with the sound carrying across the water to your viewing point. The driver carries a pair of binoculars in the vehicle should you wish to take a closer look.
From here we will head to the Old Church where we will see a ninth century Celtic Cross Slab. This is a Pictish stone standing in the old graveyard of Edderton, Easter Ross. The slab is made of red sandstone and originally was sunk a lot deeper into the earth. This was raised to its presumed height which is noticeable given the lack of lichen on the bottom part of the slab. The slab is decorated on one side with a celtic cross, and the other side, there is a horseman with two further riders below.
Founded in 1790, this is the fourth oldest distillery in Scotland after Glenturret, Strathisla, and Bowmore,
Balblair creates its malt whisky slowly, and it is then matured at the distillery in the tradtional dunnage warehouses on earthen floors. The visitors centre provides a welcoming, relaxed environment in which to enjoy a tasting. Tours are available at 11:00 and 14:00 costing £10 per person, and as a maximum of ten people are accommodated per tour, advance bookings are essential.
Visitors to the distillery can purchase a bottle from a hand selected cask which you are able to fill, cork, seal, and label yourself. Your name will then go into the ledger and you’ll have a unique gift to take home with you.
Note that we will only have time for one distillery stop during this tour unless you switch out some of the other stops on this tour.
The Glenmorangie Distillery was founded in 1843 with production starting in 1849. Glenmorangie is famous the world over for its whisky with the first exports starting as long ago as 1880.
Moving with modern times, the Distillery installed an anaerobic digestion plant in 2017 to process and break down by products such as pot-ale and lees which in turn means the production process is more sustainable. This has removed the need for them to be taken away from the Distillery by tanker for processing elsewhere.
Tours and tastings are possible with the Original Tour costing £8.50 per person. It is possible to visit the tasting room without doing a tour. A range of Glenmorangie Single Malt Whiskies are available to purchase and try in the relaxed environment of the tasting room.
Note we will only have time to visit one distillery on this tour unless your switch out some of the other attractions.
At the Tain Collegiate Church, in the old churchyard, there are three Viking burials. We will stop here for you to see these at first hand and you can use your imagination to dream how the people in these graves came to be buried so far from home.
Dalmore was one of the first single malts to be exported to all corners of the world. For a period of time through the 60s to the early ’00s, it was used as part of a blended whisky. It was then transformed once again, into a prestige single malt whisky.
At present, you can taste up to 9 different single malts from their core and travel range at £5 per dram, irrespective of the RRP of the bottle. This represents great value as they can retail at up to £175 per bottle!
- Private Transportation
- Air-conditioned Vehicle
- Entrance Fees
- Tours and Tastings
You will be collected from your Hotel, B&B, Airport, Railway Station, Residential Home at the start of the day and returned there at the end of the day unless an alternate arrangement is made.