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Around and About

Applelodge is an ideal location to set up base when visiting this part of the Highlands of Scotland. On lovely sunny days the beautiful sandy beach at Portmahomack is only a few minutes drive from the cottage - safe for swimming and playing, and is excellent for water skiing, wind surfing or just paddling.

On the high ground, just above the village lies Portmahomack Golf Club. This is a challenging nine hole typical links type Scottish golf course, with views over both the Dornoch and Moray Firths. Sea breezes can make this course a challenge for most golfers.

Out with Portmahomack there are no end of interesting places to visit and sights to see. Inverness - the capital of the Highlands - is an easy drive of around 35 miles away and offers all the facilities you might expect of a modern city, including Eden Court - an excellent theatre.

Closer to hand are Tain and Dornoch. Both towns are Royal Boroughs dating back as far as 1066 when Tain was granted its first Royal charter by King Malcolm III. The town is steeped in history, revealed and explained by a visit to Tain Through Time - one of the main visitor attractions.

The world famous single malt whisky distillery Glenmorangie lies on the western outskirts of the town and welcomes visitors from around the world with an invitation to tour the distillery to see and hear how the 'dram' is produced. Should this be one of your interests, then there are other whisky distilleries in the area - Balblair distillery just five miles to the west is another single malt and also welcome visitors for tours around the plant.

Heading north across the Dornoch Firth, the town of Dornoch greets you with its particularly tidy and inviting appearance. This is the home of the Royal Dornoch Golf Club - a spectacular 18 hole course, world renowned and visited by many of the world's golfing elite including names such as Tom Watson and Ben Crenshaw . The area boasts no fewer than 12 quality golf courses, all within an easy reach.

Dornoch Cathedral became world famous in 2000 when Madonna wed Guy Ritchie and drew half of the world's press to the town a few days. At the time, Madonna and her entourage stayed at Skibo Castle, half way between Tain and Dornoch. This palatial, former home of the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie is now operated as a high class country club and is patronised by celebrities such as Bill Clinton former President of USA, television personalities Ant & Dec, Robbie Williams, Sting and many more household names.

Just a short drive north to Golspie, you will find Dunrobin Castle. The fairy tale architecture of gleaming white turrets and sweeping spires draw crowds of tourists each year to tour the castle and look at the splendour of life in years gone by.

Tourism opportunities are much too varied and plentiful to provide here but they are sure to offer something for every interest.

For the more active there are endless walks and hill walking opportunities. The Forestry Commission make a splendid job of constructing and maintaining a great many walks through the forests - many of which offer spectacular views from the heights overlooking Easter Ross and Sutherland.

This part of the Highlands offers generally easy driving on unconjected roads. The West coast can be reached easily and offers many small villages and sights that can be covered on day trips. The local tourist office information centres stock a wealth of brochures on places to visit and things to do through the region.

For those who care to do a bit of sailing and wildlife watching, trips may be arranged for sea fishing or for the more unusual pursuit of dolphin watching. The Moray and Cromarty Firths host schools of bottle-nosed dolphins, seldom seen elsewhere in these waters. Boat trips are organised on regular daily schedule and, if you have an interest in such matters, should not be missed.

Underpinning all of this is the laid back tranquillity of the area. Wide open spaces and half empty sandy beaches. The roads are uncongested and the villages uncrowded. It is unlikely that you will find a queue of more that three or four anywhere you go. Many who come here for the first time, marvel at just how clear the air is hereabouts - from a vantage point you can often view a number of counties simultaneously.

The Tarbat Ness peninsula is largely still unspoilt and waiting for you to add your name to its list of many admiring visitors.

The Pines, Wester Seafield, Portmahomack by Tain, Ross-shire IV20 1RG
Tel: +44 (0)1862 871427
anne@applelodge.co.uk www.applelodge.co.uk
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