Brora in Sutherland is situated on the A9 coastal road, in the North East of the Scottish Highlands. Its name, Brora, is of Norse origin, denoting a river and a bridge, and there is indeed a bridge over the River Brora, fed by Loch Brora, two miles further inland.
What’s Brora like?
Brora is a small, picturesque and remote village surrounded by magnificent coastal and highland scenery.
This castle, five miles South along the A9 coastal road is only open during the Summer months. Dating from the 1300s it is one of the most Northern of Scotland’s historic houses and is the family seat of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland. The gardens and grounds are open to the public and falconry displays are held in the warmer months. The castle also houses a museum of archaeological and ethnographic items collected from all over the world. Most interestingly, the museum’s exhibits also include the Pictish Stones, a very important collection of ancient carved stones.
Outdoor Activities around Brora
The Brora area is a great base for walking holidays in the midst of some spectacular scenery. From the traditional crofting landscape of the inland area, to the beaches, the lochs, the harbours, and the glens, there’s much to see in Brora. Cycling near Golspie (just a few miles South on the coastal road), the biker could take a track from the summit of Ben Bhraggie all the way down to sea level (the longest cycling descent in the UK).
Alternatively, visitors may wish to take advantage of the local riding stables which provide countryside pony treks (incorporating wildlife watching and picnics). Many opportunities are also available in the Brora area for hunting and fishing, as well as outdoor swimming on a beach which attracts many kite flyers.
The outlet for Loch Brora can provide waves of up to 10ft. While not so good for local fishermen, this is good news for surfers!
Wildlife around Brora
The Brora area offers many varied habitats and therefore is also home to many species of wildlife. Otters can be regularly seen on the River Brora between the harbour and loch, and roe and red deer are also sometimes spotted in sheltered areas near to Brora. Of course, Brora has its share of commonly seen mammals, but the visitor may also notice brown and mountain hares on moorland, and long- eared bats in sheltered areas. It’s also a wonderful surprise to encounter a group of wild goats on the rocky outcrops of Morvich Rock, near Rogart. Or even to encounter a rare wildcat.
Many birds can be spotted in this area, especially sea birds and waders round the coast and loch, while buzzards, osprey and golden eagles might be seen in the colder months.
Arctic terns (locally known as sea swallows) have been known to fly more than 10,000 miles to get to Brora. These incredible creatures overwinter in the Antarctic and spend their Summers at Brora Beach.
The Clynelish Distillery, built in 1968, isn’t far from Brora – it is situated just to the North of the village and is open all year round to visitors.
Golf in Brora
The Arctic terns have become the symbol of Brora Golf club, because of their liking for Brora Beach in the Summer. The Brora Golf Course was designed by James Braid and has remained much the same since its creation in 1923. Other golf courses in the area could all be incorporated into a golfing holiday – Golspie links course is ten minutes away and the Royal Dornoch, on the way to Inverness, is only twenty minutes away.
Ferries to the islands
Brora is ideally placed as a stepping stone for a holiday further North to Thurso, Wick or John O’Groats, but also could be your Highland base for the drive to the Orkney ferry port at Gills Bay.
Getting to Brora
The A9 is the main route in and out of Brora, North or South bound. With easy access to Inverness via train (Brora station is on the Far North Line from Inverness to Wick), and within a comfortable hour and a half drive of Inverness Airport, Brora may feel remote but is in fact quite accessible to the visitor.
Staying in Brora
In Brora and surrounding areas we are happy to offer a number of pleasant and comfortable types of holiday accommodation to suit all pockets. From self-catering cottages to guest houses and hotels, we have a good variety of properties on and around this coastline. Some of our properties offer stunning sea views, others a handy village location, and still others offer easy access to the golf or to fishing areas – so do take time to browse our list of properties below.