Things to do in & around Tongue
We are surrounded by some of the most superb scenery in Scotland with miles of unspoilt beaches, reputedly some of the best surf in Europe, and more sheep than people even at the height of the summer! There are a range of activities on offer in the area including walking and hiking, fishing, Munro bagging, cycling, birdwatching, pony trekking, beach walks and wildlife spotting. Further information on where to go and what to do during your stay in the north Highlands can be found at www.wherecanwego.com
Falls of Shin
Did you know that there is an outpost of the famous store 'Harrods' in the north of Scotland?! Well there is and it is located at the Falls of Shin, between Bonar Bridge and Lairg. Open all year this all weather destination has a childrens adventure playground, forest walks, wildlife, waterfalls and a famous salmon leap. If you are more interested in shopping you will not be disappointed by the selection of exclusive Harrods items, local crafts, clothing, toys, fresh local produce and Highland Stoneware exclusive to Falls of Shin. There is also an excellent licensed restaurant where you can enjoy home made food and snacks that are served daily from noon.
Local Crafts & Museums
Balnakiel Craft Village in Durness is a great place to visit. It started life as a Royal Air Force base but most of the buildings now house resident artists as well as two places to eat. Lotte Glob, the world famous potter, has her workshop and gallery here while Cocoa Mountain Cafe and Chocolaterie is an essential stop for anyone with a sweet tooth!
Skerray Museum is located in the crofting hamlet of Skerray, a few miles to the east of Tongue. The museum is a traditional croft house with a thatched roof. The building is split into three areas consisting of a workshop and office space, the museum room and the village post office and craft shop. The museum exhibits items of local interest and a wealth of photographs of the area's past. There is also a great deal of archive material. The post office next door sells and displays locally made arts and crafts.
John O'Groats & Cape Wrath
John O'Groats is said to be the most northerly point on mainland Britain (although in fact that title should go to Dunnet Head about 10 miles to the west!). There are a number of craft shops and cafés and various boat trips. From here you can visit the Stacks of Duncansby, populated by the 'parrot of the north', the very photogenic puffin.
Visiting Cape Wrath is a trip that many of our guests make during their stay with us when the military is not using the area for their training. If John O'Groats is the most northerly point then Cape Wrath is arguably the most westerly. Leave your car near the Cape Wrath Hotel then take the small foot ferry, on the other side a mini bus will pick you up and take you out to the lighthouse. The world famous Sandwood Bay is also accessible from Cape Wrath.
Smoo Cave is located at the eastern edge of the village of Durness. Set into the limestone cliffs, Smoo Cave, at 200 feet long, 130 feet wide, and 50 feet high at the entrance, is a must see. The cave is unique within the UK in that the first chamber has been formed by the action of the sea, while the inner chambers are freshwater passages. Enter the limestone cavern and marvel at the waterfall as the waters of Allt Smoo drop into the cave. During the summer months there is also an exciting boat trip available into the waterfall cave.
Strathnaver Museum in Bettyhill is a must for those who have an interest in the Highland Clearances and the Clan Mackay. The museum is open from Monday to Saturday, April through to October.
There are two golf courses near Tongue. Reay Golf Course to the east (25 miles) and Durness Golf Course to the west. Both welcome visitors. Reay Golf Club lies on the edge of Sandside Bay and offers panoramic views of the Pentland Firth and North Atlantic from every hole on the course. Durness is the most north westerly course on mainland Britain, famous for its shot 'across the Atlantic'.
Cycling & Mountain Biking
Sutherland is simply superb for mountain biking and cycling with world-class trails, stunning scenery and great places to explore. There is a surprisingly varied range of opportunities offering something for everyone, from extreme mountain biking to easy cycling routes that the whole family can enjoy. Tongue is also a very popular stop on the famous Land's End to John O'Groats cycling route as the first or the last stop on the epic journey from one end of the UK to the other.
Pony trekking is available at Bettyhill (12 miles from Tongue). Amongst others, the trek along the beautiful Torrisdale Bay is always popular. No prior experience is necessary. Small parties can be catered for as well as one-to-one treks. Booking in advance, particularly in summer months, is advisable.
For more details contact Lorna Mackay, Torrisdale Pony Trekking, The Ferry House, 86 Invernaver, Bettyhill. Tel: +44 (0) 1641 521472