The Local Area



Monach House - Bonar Bridge - Sutherland

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Centrally situated, with the mountainous west coast 44 miles away and the wild yet beautiful coastline of Caithness only an hour's drive north, the village of Bonar Bridge lies at a unique focus of the sparse network of Highland roads. The capital city of the Highlands – Inverness – is 40 minutes drive across some wonderful scenery with amazing views of the Kyle and out to the Dornoch Firth. The Kyle is home to an outstanding assortment of wildlife including its resident otters, a huge selection of birds that wade and nest in and around it, visiting osprey and Whooper swans, and deer that roam its banks.


Fishing


The house itself is situated opposite the beautiful Kyle of Sutherland and the area is a haven for anglers. The Kyle of Sutherland Angling Association's pristine water extends for some 14 miles from the Creich pool, to the east of Bonar Bridge, westwards to where it is joined by the rivers Cassley and Oykel. The Kyle has four feeder rivers which are amongst the most prolific Salmon Rivers in the Highlands, the Carron, Shin, Cassley and Oykel, all of which are top class Highland fly fisheries. It is, therefore, little wonder that the Kyle is such a popular fishery. Visiting anglers also have the opportunity to fish four Highland hill lochs, Laggan, Laro, Cracail Mhor and Buidhe for wild Brown Trout. Day tickets are available locally for Salmon, Sea Trout and Brown Trout fishing.


Brown trout fishing is available by arrangement at lovely Loch Migdale, 3 miles north of Bonar Bridge, where boats may be hired and a ghillie is available.


Non- anglers will yet be enchanted by a trip to nearby (5 minutes) Falls of Shin. It is one of the best places in Scotland to see wild Atlantic salmon battling their way up the falls on their annual journey to the spawning grounds at the head of the River Shin. The salmon can be seen from early May until the end of October from well designed and maintained viewing platforms. The Falls also boast an attractive visitor centre, licenced restaurant and Harrods gift shop.


Golfing - Visit Our Golf Page


Cycling


One mile from Bonar Bridge is Balblair, part of the Kyle of Sutherland trails. With stunning views over the Kyle and out to the West the trails at Balblair offer both a fun Blue route for competent bikers and challenging Black Route for experienced riders. The Blue Route is a perfect trail if you want a quick spin. If you are an experienced mountain biker who is up for a challenge then have a go at the Balblair Black Route. There is plenty to test even the most experienced cyclist, timber trails and lung-busting uphill sections. Not for the faint hearted, but the view from the top of the hill at the mast is well worth the effort.

A further 3 miles will find you at Carbisdale. With excellent views over the inner Dornoch Firth and Bonar Bridge, a beautiful lochside picnic bench and secluded woodland scenery, the trails offer challenging cycling for competent mountain bike riders. The Blue route is a great introduction, with optional rock features, wonderful views and technical descents such as 'Goldie Rocks' and 'Hissing Sid'. The red route has some technical features, such as 'Little Red Riding Wood' and 'What Big Teeth' along with forest road sections. The viewpoint is a perfect place to regain your energy for the descent ahead. Recently opened in Ardgay you will find Heaven Bikes who can cater for a variety of cycling needs, Heaven Bikes can be contacted on 07543 466699.


Walkers


This is a wonderful area with a wealth of scenery and walks for all ages and abilities.


Balblair forest is noted for its excellent views over the Kyle of Sutherland towards Carbisdale Castle in the west, and the Dornoch Firth and Struie Hills in the east. As you climb further up the hill, this forest walk takes advantage of the best of these viewpoints.


At Carbisdale, the area comprising the former castle grounds is now owned by the Forestry Commission (Scotland). Several different pathways are available and at the highest point on the walk (120m) there is a lovely, secluded lochan; further on, an informative viewpoint overlooks and provides information on, the site of the Battle of Carbisdale (The last stand of the Earl of Montrose, 1650).


Ravens Rock Gorge is a 15 minute drive , a magical place and one of our best kept secrets. This walk skirts the edge of the spectacular Allt Mor (big burn) as it runs through a gorge under the canopy of old silver fir, spruce and beech. A series of suspended walkways take you to viewpoints over the gorge and surrounding forest.


Skelbo forest walk close to nearby Dornoch is an ideal place for a gentle family walk with lovely forest views, amusing hidden wood carvings, - or simply a place to enjoy a picnic beside the pond.


A further lovely walk can be found 3 miles to the north of the village around Loch Migdale and the Fairy Glen.

Not to be overlooked - the fabulous award winning beaches at Dornoch and Embo where miles of golden sands and dunes stretch past the mouth of Loch Fleet nature reserve.


Sightseeing


ndividual tastes and interests will vary but there are plenty of options here.


Castles - locally Carbisdale (now owned by the SYHA) - Dunrobin 20 miles away in Golspie (a visit includes twice daily Falconry displays): Inverness Castle, Urquart Castle and Cawdor around Inverness.


The Orcadian Stone Museum and shop at Golspie - a fascinating half day trip!

The 13th Century Cathedral in Dornoch is well worth a visit, not only for its splendour, history and original features, but American visitors will be interested in the three new stained glass windows in memory of Andrew Carnegie.

Tain Through Time museum and exhibition is a local centre featuring archives of local, regional and national significance. Of special interest is the Clan Ross and Balnagowan castle story.

We have several distilleries in the area: Glenmorangie, Balblair, Dalmore, Clynelish in Brora and Old Pultney in Wick. All have guided tours usually followed by a 'dram'.

Or for beer lovers a tour and tasting at the Black Isle Brewery at Munlochy may appeal. An added point of interest on the Black Isle and on the road to Cromarty, from where you can take an exciting trip to view the bottle-nosed dolphins, is the 'Clootie Well', a truly unique site - an ancient tradition of votive offerings to cure all ills!


Evening meals and local eating places


For evening meals there are several options, which may be especially useful for our self- catering guests. We are very fortunate to have The Crannag bistro close by, serving a thoughtful variety of freshly cooked dishes, once again using local produce wherever possible. Under the same management, and just 5 minutes away, you will find the award-winning Caledonian Curry Company (now with its own Take-away). They can also provide a range of dishes - Comforting Classics - to just 'pop in the oven' – and which will serve four to six people.


The village has an excellent butcher and greengrocer, a baker, a SPAR shop and newsagent, and a lovely cafe overlooking the beautiful Kyle of Sutherland. Fresh fish, most of it literally caught the same morning, is also available on a regular basis. There are two hotels in the village serving food and, just 15 minutes away, is the Royal Burgh of Dornoch boasting several eating places, notably Luigi's bistro and nearby Dornoch Castle Hotel.


We can also offer evening meals: either simple comfort-food suppers such as casseroles, chillies, pies, and pasta dishes that can be ready to greet you at the end of your day out - which may suit our cottage guests - or a set two- or three-course dinner menu served in the dinning room. Please see sample menus for typical dishes served.


Bed and Breakfast

Bonar Bridge  ~  Sutherland  ~  IV24 3EB  ~  T : 01863 766 147  ~  E: info@monachhouse.co.uk

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