Loch Brora

We're individual owners of the Brora Links Apartments in Sutherland. When we're not holidaying here ourselves, the letting of our apartments is managed by nearby four-star Royal Marine Hotel — so as a discerning guest, you too may enjoy an elegant and comfortable base for your exhilarating North Highlands adventure.



Why isn't Brora golf course as well-known as Royal Dornoch etc? It's just as good. I'd say better. — K.T.

Ssshhh... you'll give the game away! We agree it's a wonderful course. Challenging and relaxing at the same time — how do they do that? It's hugely loved and respected by golfing pros, and rightly so. Yet it retains a beguiling informality. The scenery is unbeatable (like some of the holes), the staff are unfailingly welcoming and helpful, and the clubhouse is just the nicest place to be, with views across the links and the Moray Firth, from both the bar and dining room. Dinner with the dolphins. What could be better?

Does Brora offer association fly fishing?
— R. G-P.

Yes... and you're just as likely to get a catch here as you are more expensively up the river and in the loch. The town water stretches to the first big bend (where there's parking), about a third of a mile up-river from the bridge over the A9. It's £15 for adults, £7.50 for under-16s and over-65s — permits available at Linda's Cafe. Remember, you must put your salmon back, even if it's your first catch of the season, or even your first ever. Tight lines!

Where can I hire a boat to fish Loch Brora? (And will I get lucky?)
— S.W.

Brora Angling Club has three boats on the loch at around £25 a day. Arrange hire through Cunningham's, the newsagent and hardware store. As for catching fish... yes, if you seek out some local knowledge first.

Bet you won't advise which fly to use!
— S.W.

Bet I will — a Willie Gun and Allies Shrimp are all you need on the Brora — D.S.

I want to take the train from Brora, have an evening meal at The Trawlerman at Golspie, then return by train. Is it do-able?
— C.R.

Always check the latest train times but, yes, it is. You could catch the 6pm from Brora and get off at Dunrobin Station, but be sure the tell the guard, or the train won't stop at Dunrobin. Then stroll down to The Trawlerman via the grounds of Dunrobin Castle, and return to Brora on the 8.42pm from Golspie Station. It should make a very pleasant evening.

Will I be able to hire a mountain bike when I visit?
— J.M.

Email Sam at Sam's Bike Shed. He's always obliging and his prices are extremely competitive. Contact details are on his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SamsBikeShed

Can I walk from Brora to Golspie along the beach?
— V.W.

Yes. It's about six miles. If you avoid doing it at high tide, you'll see lots of seals basking on the rocks. En route you'll be able to explore cascading Sputie Burn and Carn Liath Broch.

I've always wanted to gallop a horse in the surf. Any chance?
— E. L-S.

Try Kirsteen Mackintosh at Star Stables. She's highly recommended.

What shall we do if it rains?
— C.W.

Dornoch is a bit touristy during peak season — 'though every prospect pleases, and only man is vile' — but it's worth a visit, if only to browse the clothes and shoes at The Jail. Good eating places include Luigi's and five-star Links House which does a sensational afternoon tea — well actually, it does a sensational everything. Brora Links Apartment owners adore it.

Does that clothes shop in the centre of Brora
ever open? — A.S.

It opened just once, last Christmas, according to some wild rumours. It's a bit like spotting a wildcat — you just have to be in the right place at the right time to experience such a rare phenomenon.

are the chances of seeing a wildcat? — A.J.

Hmmm... quite good, if you travel between Brora and Golspie in the early hours of the morning. Watch out for primeval eyes glowing in the dark as one emerges from the forest for easier prey on the arable land next to the sea.

I've been here three days and I still haven't seen an otter. You promised
. — R.B.

Always keep your eyes open when walking beside River Brora and Loch Brora. A few years ago a family made its home in a small cave almost directly beneath Brora bridge in the centre of the village and the youngsters were a common sight. And on New Year's Day you would have seen three gambolling in the surf at the foot of Dunrobin Castle — magical. — D.S.

Can you suggest a circular walk from the doorstep of the Brora Links Apartments, to help us work up an appetite?
— S.S.

Try this one for size. It's three miles and it takes in the golf course, the beach, and the small village of Dalchalm. You can cut across to make it shorter if you find yourself running out of time. Enjoy.

Is the Indian restaurant in Station Square, Brora, any good?
— J.H.

Sid's Spice? Emphatically yes. One of the best in Scotland. Nice people, good food... and if (like me) you're not familiar with Indian food, they'll happily help you choose. Best to book, especially in season. Whilst in the restaurant, try and visualise it as it was decades ago, when it was the Hunters of Brora shop, selling some of the world's finest tweed. The world-famous Hunters of Brora tweed mill was once the biggest private sector employer in Sutherland with more than 130 employees, supplying cloth to Paris fashion houses such as Yves St Laurent. Hunters of Brora tweed was much favoured by our own Royal family, and indeed we more humble types continue to treasure the few Hunters garments we own today. When on the hills, they're the perfect foil to the capricious Highlands weather. — D.S.

Where are the Whaligoe Steps?
— G.C.

They're too dangerous to warrant an official highways sign. At least it means the place isn't full of North Coast 500 campervans. Take the A9 north, then the A99 towards Wick. Look out for the Cairn of Get sign on your left. The Whaligoe Steps are opposite. There's a car park behind some cottages. If your husband is too timid to descend them, leave him in the cafe at the top!

Can I walk or cycle between Brora and Golspie, all off-road?
— D.B.

Nearly. Drive, cycle or walk along Strath Brora (the road that runs alongside River Brora) and after three miles turn left to the Doll footbridge, where there's room to park. This is your start point. Enjoy! Here's a map. There are several variations to this route, all taking in part of the Queen's Drive. The route can be extended all the way to Ben Bhraggie. Let me know when you arrive, if you want details. — D.S.

I have a supplementary question... is the Queen's Drive a public road?
— D.B.

It looks like any other forest track but it's important historically, as it's the way Queen Victoria travelled from Dunrobin Castle to fish the River Brora. You may walk, cycle or ride along it, but not take your car.