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Sutherland - Vast and Beautiful, The Enticing Reality of Sutherland


Sutherland is a registration county and historic administrative county located to the north of Scotland. It belongs to the Highland government area and its main town is the burgh of Dornoch. Due to its size, many other towns and settlements are located within the county.

It is bounded to the north by the North Sea, by Caithness to the east and north east, by Ross shire to the south and by Moray and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is one of the very few Scottish counties that extend from side to side of the country limiting with a sea and an ocean at the same time. Also for some reason, its proximity to the sea has caused the formation of salt-water lakes, considered a rarity in Scotland. Another rarity is the fact that the whole county is virtually owned in its entirety by the Duke of Sutherland, whose family has owned it since the 13th century.

The Sutherland County contains thirteen parishes and its landscape is one of the most diverse in the country, sporting mountains, valleys, lakes and moors in abundance.

Short History

Sutherland inherited its name from the period when it was under the rule of the Norse culture. The Norse occupied most of the current Highland area during its peak, around the 11th century, when Sigurd the Stout was jarl of Orkney.

First an administrative county, Sutherland became a local government in 1890. This state lasted for almost a century before it was abolished in the year 1975. On that year the Highland government region was created and Sutherland became one of its eight districts. However, this situation was once again not permanent, and the district was abolished in the year 1996 when the whole region became a unitary council.

One of the strongest inheritances of the Sutherland County was that it served as home for the renowned Clan Mackay. This is why in some parts of Scotland, the Sutherland is known as Homeland of Mackay. In fact the influence of the clan and its presence in the region was such, that still nowadays Mackay is a preponderant name of the residents of the area.

Due to the vast coastlines that it sports, the county of Sutherland possesses some of the most dramatic landscapes in the whole European continent. There are cliffs that abruptly meet the sea, old mountains and lengthy roads that span all the way from north to south of the county. To top it all off, Sutherland sports some of the most picturesque towns in the Scotland and is also sparsely populated, which grants it the perfect atmosphere for both the locals and visitors alike.