Retrace your journey back to Inverness and from there, head north to Dornoch, to the west of which you may catch a glimpse of Skibo Castle.
The original castle was built by the Bishop of Caithness in 1186 and after a long and chequered history, the estate was bought by philanthropist and industrialist, Andrew Carnegie in 1898 who spent a considerable sum of money renovating it. It is now Scotland's top private residential sporting club and famous for being the location of Madonna's wedding to Guy Ritchie.
Dornoch with its pink stone buildings and uneven Scottish slate roofs is an attractive cathedral town and was protected by the powerful Sutherland clan chiefs in its early history. Historylinks Museum explains the story of Dornoch from pre-historic times and the town is also famous for being where in 1727, the last witch-burning took place in Scotland.
Just a few miles north is Skelbo where the ruins of the 13th century castle are found on the shore of Loch Fleet. Further along the coast is the village of Golspie, which is overlooked by the 100 ft column and statue of the first Duke of Sutherland on top of Beinn a' Bhragaidh. At the beginning of the 1800s the duke owned over 1.5 million acres of land, the largest private estate in Europe. In the following years, some 15,000 people were cleared from the estate to make way for more lucrative sheep farming during what became known as the Highland Clearances.
Just north of Golspie stands Dunrobin Castle, the principal seat of the Sutherland chiefs. It was first built by Robert, the 6th Earl of Sutherland in the late 14th century. It was the 2nd Duke, in the 19th century who transformed that typical Scottish castle into the beautiful French-style palace you can visit today. There are also beautiful formal gardens with falconry displays and a museum of souvenirs brought back from hunting trips around the world.