Places of Interest
Burnside Cottage is also conveniently situated near a number of magnificent Castles – The Castle & Gardens of Mey, the residence of the late Queen Mother is nearby, along with Ackergill Tower, Girnigoe, Sinclair, Dounreay to name but a few (there are 30 castles in Caithness). We are popular with visitors retracing their roots as the surrounding area has a long association with the Highland clearances.
Caithness has many places of interest for those who enjoy a dram or bite to eat as the area boasts many distilleries and award winning food producers. The Old Pulteney Distillery is 10 miles away with Wolfburn (the most Northerly mainland distillery) & Dunnet Bay Distillers (the makers of Rock Rose Premium Scottish Gin & Holy Grass Vodka) located in Thurso. The award-
There are many acclaimed golf courses in the far north including Royal Dornoch, Durness, Golspie, Brora, Bonar Bridge and Reay with nearby courses Wick, Thurso & Lybster.
Nature and Wildlife
The local area is popular with walkers, cyclists and those travelling the NC500. With Burnside Cottage located close to the John O’Groats Trail which is a long distance, challenging, walking route from Inverness to John O’Groats. Caithness is also an Ornithologist & wildlife lovers dream……..Puffins nesting in spring, Seals pupping in summer, rutting Deer Stags in autumn…….. and flocks of Waders, Geese, Swans in winter. Dolphins, Porpoises, Orca, Minke Whales, Otters, Eagles, Ptarmigan, Mountain Hare are also sometimes visible.
Keiss Castle is a partially ruined castle which stands on sheer cliffs overlooking Sinclair’s Bay less than one mile north of Keiss village centre.
Castle of Mey
The Castle of Mey was the property of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother from 1952 until 1996, when Her Majesty generously gifted it with an endowment to the Trust.
The castle is situated on the north coast of Caithness, in the parish of Canisbay, about 15 miles east of Thurso and six miles west of John O’Groats. It stands on rising ground about 400 yards from the seashore, overlooking the Pentland Firth and the Orkney Islands.
Castle Sinclair Girnigoe
Castle Sinclair Girnigoe is located about 3 miles north of Wick on the east coast of Caithness, Scotland.
It is considered to be one of the earliest seats of Clan Sinclair and comprises the ruins of two castles: the 15th-century Castle Girnigoe; and the early 17th-century Castle Sinclair.
The Stacks of Duncansby are some of the finest in the British Isles. The Great Stack towers at 60m high.
As well as the incredible view you can enjoy seeing a varied amount of wildlife and seabirds including Fulmars, Kittiewake, Guiliemots, Razorbills and the Skua, and also a few Puffins.
Dunnet Bay is a fantastic sweeping arc of white sandy beach backed by rolling sand dunes.
Stretching for over 2 miles, the bay is fairly sheltered from the elements and offers great opportunities to sunbathe, paddle, swim and indulge in other beach sports.
The beach is a surfer’s haven and offers some quite dramatic surf when the winds are high. There are excellent wildlife spotting opportunities in the bay and a visitor centre at the north end provides details of what can be seen.
Forsinard Flows is part of a vast expanse of blanket bog, sheltered straths and mountains known as the Flow Country. The Flow Country is one of Scotland’s most important natural treasures and the RSPB looks after more than 21,000 hectares of it.
The RSPB has been working to protect the landscape here for more than 20 years.
The Italian Chapel is a highly ornate Catholic chapel on Lamb Holm in the Orkney Islands. It was built during World War II by Italian prisoners of war, who were housed on the previously uninhabited island while they constructed the Churchill Barriers to the east of Scapa Flow.
John O’Groats Ferry
With the John O’Groats Ferry Terminal being less than 5 miles from Burnside Cottage, and a crossing to Burwick that’s only 40 minutes, it doesn’t take long to travel to the Orkney Islands. These spectacular islands are there to be explored and enjoyed!
The beautiful sandy beach at Peedie Sands is a short walk along from Dwarwick pier, near Dunnet.
Peedie Sands beach is best visited when the tide is out and you do need to scramble down over boulders and stones to get to the beach from the coastal path. You will usually find the beach deserted, it is one of Scotland’s hidden beaches.
Ring of Brodgar
The Ring of Brodgar is a Neolithic henge and stone circle about 6 miles north-east of Stromness on the Mainland, the largest island in Orkney, Scotland. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Heart of Neolithic Orkney