The Northern Lights If you are here in the winter months you may be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights – one of the greatest shows on earth! Sadly there are no guarantees of when they will appear but that makes it all the more special when it happens. To give yourself the best chance sign up for free alerts from Aurora Watch UK.
Walking The local coastline and hills make for some excellent walking for everyone from the gentle ambler to the serious walker. To start you off there is a picturesque short stroll down the river from the House to the sea. There are many guidebooks on walking in the Northern Highlands but a good place to start is the Walk Highlands website which can help you find the best walks to suit your fitness, time and interests.
If you would like a guide then we would suggest that you join one of the guided walks organised by the Ranger Service. A varied schedule of walks run all the year round and you can often have the guide to yourself!
Dunnet and North Coast Ranger: 01847 821531
North Sutherland Ranger: 01641 521884
Cycling and Mountain Biking The North Highlands are a great place for mountain biking, forest trails and relaxing countryside lanes. We are located on part of the 9000 mile National Cycle Network (NN1E) which is a linked series of traffic free paths and traffic calmed roads designed as a stepping stone to explore the UK.
If off road cycling is more to your tastes then there are Forestry Commission approved cycle routes at Camster, Borgie Forest and Trudercraig ranging from 9-16 mile round trips. The most northern of Scotland’s mountain bike centres, the evocatively named Highland Wildcat Trails are accessed directly from the centre of Golspie, a picturesque village about an hour’s drive South from the hotel.
Surfing You may not know this, but Thurso East is well known to surfers all over the world and has been voted one of the top 10 waves in Europe. Add to that an extremely friendly group of local surfers, including Phil who works at the hotel and you can have a great surfing experience. Best conditions are with a North to North Westerly swell and low-mid tide. For more information speak to Andy Bain, instructor and event organiser.
Horseriding Lorna Mackay runs Torrisdale Trekking which is a 25 minute drive away from the hotel on the A836 towards Tongue, a beautiful coastal drive worth taking for the scenery alone. Everyone from beginners to the experienced are welcome, as are children over 4. Sitting on the beautiful Torrisdale beach, Lorna runs mostly beach rides for 1 or 2 hours, or half a day, for groups or individuals. Booking in advance is essential on 01641 521472.
Boats Caithness has an amazing coastline, teeming with birds and marine life. It would be a shame to come and not to take to the water if you can. From Wick Harbour you can take a speedy RIB (rigid inflatable boat) ride and not only see the amazing bird and marine life up close, but also do some fun, speedy stuff too. The guys that run it are full of enthusiasm and we would recommend Wicker’s World Café for a hot drink and a cake afterwards. Waterproof clothing is provided. Another RIB is run from the Outfitters Store in John O’Groats.
If you prefer to be on a slightly bigger boat the John O’Groats ferry does a 90 minute wildlife cruise from mid June to the end of August, taking you around the coast for a closer look at the famous Stacks of Duncansby and over to the deserted island of Stroma.
Golf Courses Around Thurso, Wick and the North Highlands of Scotland
As you would expect we have a number of traditional Scottish Links courses within easy reach, offering golf as it has been played by the Scots over the centuries. After a few holes and a drink in the 19th alongside the local members you will certainly have a good feel for local Scottish golf!
Great Golf Courses to Play
Reay Golf Club is a 10 minute drive away. 18 holes, Par 69, 5831 yards, established 1893
Thurso Golf Club is also a 10 minute drive away. 18 holes, Par 69, 5853 yards, established 1893.
Wick Golf Club is a 30 minute drive away. 18 holes, Par 69, 6200 yards, established 1870.
Brora Golf Club is a little over an hour away, a James Braid designed, very pretty course. 6110 yards, established 1891. Could be easily played on your way up to Forss or on your way home?
Royal Dornoch is a world famous 18 hole Championship Course, Dornoch also has its alternative Struie course. We would recommend that you book Dornoch before you arrive.