To suggest any alterations, additions, deletions or find out more - please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.
Tel 01408 622920
In the beautiful Brora Countryside and seaside features every imaginable habitat, so a wide variety of our fellow inhabitants can be seen in the wild, as nature intended.
Otters; On the River Brora seen anywhere between harbour mouth and loch.
Seals; see often in the Dornoch Firth, but the best views are on Brora beach where
they relax in their inimitable way regularly. Moray Firth bottlenose dolphins can
also be seen making their way along the coast, often very close to the beach in small
Wildcats; In local woods and in the hills, if you are lucky!
Deer; Roe deer are widespread and may be seen wherever there is cover, Red deer can commonly be seen on the hills around Loch Brora and Glen Loth.
Other Mammals; Hedgehog, moles, shrews, voles, house and wood mice, fox, stoat, weasel,
rabbit are all common. Brown hares are found on farmland and mountain hare on heather
moorland. Long eared bats in sheltered areas and Goats are often to be seen on the
Morvich Rock near Rogart.
Birds; Brora Beach displays a variety of ducks and waders, the species varying with the season including Mallard, Goldeneye, Longtailed duck and Eider.
The Arctic Tern is also a visitor and has become the emblem of Brora Golf.
Loch Brora has Goldeneye and other ducks, Curlew, Redshank, Oystercatcher and Lapwing. Buzzards are likely, and with luck Golden Eagle may be seen in winter. Loch Fleet, Off the A9 between Dornoch and Golspie, forms part of a well known nature reserve with a wealth of seaducks and waders. Here one may hope to see Osprey fishing. Ospreys arrive in spring and their numbers are increasing so much so that the Forestry Commission has recently assisted the local Council Ranger to erect a substantial high platform which is intended to attract nesting – we await a visit.
The area also has a wide variety of Gulls & Cormorants.
One of the town's attractions that is well worth visiting is the Clynelish Distillery can be found a little west of the A9 as it heads north out of the village. It is open all year Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm, with Saturdays 10am-5pm from June to September. Clynelish Tel: +44 (0) 1408 623000
WIND POWER AND OTHER RENEWABLES
The Brora area generates a significant proportion of its energy from sustainable sources. Two large wind farms are located inland from the village and there are pockets of small-scale domestic microgeneration developing throughout the area. To learn more about small-scale domestic microgeneration systems visit Culgower Microgen - for Brora workshops.
Star Stables are in Brora tel 01408 621164 mobile 07759335918. Long established Highlands Unbridled, run by Graham & Jan O’Neill has moved a few miles south to Tain now on 01862 735007. Day trips can be attended, including wildlife watching country treks with picnics & BBQs & even coast to coast expeditions taking several days.
Brora has a proud history of producing fine yarns and tweeds and at Kingcraig Fabrics in the centre of the village (just next to the Sutherland Hotel) you can purchase Knitting Yarn, Weaving Yarn plus Kingcraig’s own specially manufactured items such as tweed, throws, travel rugs and cashmere scarves.
The village has easy access to many opportunities for ‘retail therapy’.
Also in the village, a short stroll up from the railway station is a unique shop called Pandora’s Emporium (now with a corner store in the centre of Brora). Here you can find a vintage, retro and classic clothing, shoes and accessories from the 1920's right up to current trends, along with excellent unusual hand made bags, couture hats, knitwear and much more. it really is a treasure trove where you can spend time browsing the wide range of produce, that includes pictures and some super photographs of the wonderful, often spectacular local area.
Golf Golf Golf! Brora is the ideal base for a golfing break. Brora Golf Course (A highly rated links) was designed by James Braid, where little has changed since he left in 1923, it is still challenging to all standards but is it is relatively easy for a visitor to get a tee-off time and the club atmosphere is relaxed. Another lovely links course is 10 mins south on the A9 at Golspie and famous Royal Dornoch, formed in 1877, is only 20 mins away by car further down the road towards Inverness.
Brora Golf Course Tel: +44 (0) 1408 621417
Brora is a real golfers’ village. In the past the locals used maintain a pitch and putt as a hobby on a voluntary basis - locally known affectionately as ‘Gleneagles!’ . Golf is played by the all ages and and sexes from the youngest school kids to the older residents many who go to make up the ‘Brora Old Boys’ or BOBs.
Check out the Brora Golf – www.broragolf.co.uk : Golf Week is towards the end of May and is a lot of fun for all levels of ability.
Royal Dornoch GC www.royaldornoch.com
Golspie GC www.golspie-golf-club.co.uk
Blisss, in the station square provides a wide range of treatments and therapies for women and men including skin care, nail care, massage and reflexology. Contact Blisss... directly on 01408 621111 to book (advised).
Whenever surfs up, whatever the time of day or year there is a very good chance of seeing a group of enthusiasts out on the waves near the harbour entrance. When particularly high, the waves actually prevent the smaller fishing boats from leaving the harbour but do make great surf for sport.
Sutherland Swimming Pool Complex Highland Council Back Road, Golspie, KW10 6RA Telephone 01408 633 437
Brora and immediate surrounding area inspires many artists and many have settled here,
Artist - Telephone 01408…..
Hazel Reed - 622236 Textiles based on land and seascape observation
Joan Baxter - 621761 Woven tapestry inspired by landscape and history
Norman Gibson - 621186 Sculpture & design ‘time, change & visual memory’
Cyril Reed - 622236 Paintings on land and seascapes
Victor Rose - 621244 Watercolour, oil acrylic paintings & pottery
Linda Parker - 621411 Very colourful acrylic paintings, often abstract
Lonie Mackintosh - 621775 Wood Turning/crooks
On the produce side – Bees Honey can be purchased directly from bees (almost) in Dalcham and also Capaldi’s Ice cream (Harry Gows in village).
The whole range of angling is available at Brora from Sea Angling, loch fishing to Salmon and Sea Trout Fishing. Other sports are also available although the author here prefers to shoot with the camera! Further fishing, shooting or stalking information in Sutherland can be gained from agents CKD Galbraith.
FISHING PERMITS AND TOURIST INFORMATION
Brora Loch Fishing Permits are available from old Cunningham’s Newsagents, this is also the Tourist Information point in the centre of village. Salmon and Trout Fishing is of the most sought after in both the Brora and Helmsdale, permits from Sutherland Estates 01431 821372. Fishing permits are also available for the Brora river at Cathie’s Coffee & Flower Shop 01408 621530. Sea Angling is also possible - arrange with Mr Rob Brown on 01408 622153.
The best beach with safe swimming is the mile or so along from the north of the Brora River where kite flying seems to be popular and an army of locals regularly walk this stunning scene. The river inland, Loch Brora and surrounding hills are great walking, cycling and, most impressively nature spotting territory – see following sections. Local Mountain Biking is run by Highland Wildcats in nearby Golspie features the longest descent in the UK from the summit of Ben Bhraggie (1300' to sea-level) - and the longest technical singletrack climb.
BOWLING AND TENNIS CLUB - Golf Road 01408 621807
Brora Rangers play in the Highland League during the season commencing August - [web site] for further information - come over and cheer the boys!
A visit to Brora must include the Castle 5 miles south of the village. The historic seat of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland hosts many activities including an impressive Falconry display 01408 633177 - [Go To Website]
Crofting and Coal
The history of the parish of Clyne is dominated by its long industrial past, e.g. coal mining, salt panning, tweed production, distilling, electricity generation etc. The early industries were established by the house of Sutherland and by the late nineteenth century Brora became known as the Industrial Capital of the North. Crofting and fishing also played a major part in Clyne’s working past.
In common with other Highland parishes, the history began in the Mesolithic of the Stone Age after the recession of the ice sheet which covered the country during the last ice age (for a concise overview of archaeological periods in the Highlands see the Am Baile website). There is no evidence yet discovered of these early nomads in Clyne, unlike neighbouring areas.
Evidence for Neolithic settlers, dating to around 5000 years ago is sparse, but a good example of one of their burial chambered cairns is found on the shore of Loch Brora.
In contrast, Bronze and Iron Age people have left their marks all over the parish. Their characteristic roundhouses (hut circles) are dotted around the landscape and many more remain to be discovered. These early farmers have also left their mark on the hillsides, close to their roundhouses, in the form of cairns of stones which they have cleared from their agricultural grounds.
There are 7 brochs in the parish dating from around 600BC to 100AD, which are uniquely found in the Highlands and Islands, but are concentrated in Caithness and East Sutherland. These familiar stone-built towers are somewhat enigmatic structures, as experts are still undecided as to their purpose – defensive or pure status!
There are few remains about the little known intervening years to the Post-Medieval/Pre-Clearance settlements, which are also found scattered about the landscape. There are over 100 of these ‘townships’ which litter the now barren and uninhabited areas of the parish – a direct result of the notorious Highland Clearances, which began in Clyne in around 1809.
Making way for sheep
The Clearances form a dark chapter in the history of the parish, and of the wider Highlands, when the tenants of the townships were forcibly removed and the land was converted to great sheep farms or walks, which were deemed to be more profitable for the landowners, in this case the wealthy House of Sutherland.
Most of the former inhabitants of the townships were re-settled in new coastal villages on small lots of land, which were not large enough to sustain the families. This was so that they would be encouraged to take up fishing as a main occupation and, in particular in Brora, or another job in one of the many industrial adventures set up by the Sutherland family at that time. Others emigrated, never to return.
The industries revolved around the geological fortitude of Jurassic coal being found and exploited on the coast at Brora, as early as 1529. The Sutherland estate invested in a deep coal mine and used this rich source of fuel to power related industrial enterprises such as brick and tile works, salt-pans and a distillery. These industries, with the exception of the still-thriving distillery, soon faded as the duty on salt was abolished in the early 1820s and it was no longer economic to mine coal.
The Electric City
These industries were revived by the third Duke of Sutherland in the 1870s and the coal mine only closed down for good in 1974. Hunter’s Woollen Mill, famous all over the world for its tweed, operated in the village from the turn of the last century until 2004 when it too closed its doors for ever. Thomas Hunter eventually owned the coal mine and brickworks, as well the mill which he powered by electricity generated on site. He sold his surplus electricity to those who could afford it as early as 1913, when he set up the Brora Electricity Supply Company to use his surplus power. The village street lights were also powered by this source and soon the village acquired the name ‘the Electric City’, fully 35 years before the arrival of mains electricity after the war.
History courtesy of Brora Heritage Centre
Coal Pit Road, BRORA, Sutherland, KW9 6LE,
Telephone non UK: +44 1408 622024 - Out of Season 01349 885114
Timespan is an Art and History centre and is situated in the centre of Helmsdale, 10 miles north of Brora. This lively facility is billed as a vibrant meeting place between our past and our future; linking culture, heritage, the arts, people and their ideas. [Go To Website]
FREE CHURCH of SCOTLAND
Gower Street, Brora,
Sutherland KW9 6PU
Telephone: 01408 621271
CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
40 Golf Road
Tel: 01408 621239
Fax: 01408 621239
School Hill, off Gower Street,
Brora, Sutherland KW9 6PU.
Parish priest: Father Benedict Seed (1956), The Bungalow, School Hill, off Gower Street, Brora KW9 6PU. Phone: 01408 621388. His mobile number is 07926 169910. In 2006, he celebrated his 50th anniversary as a priest. Deacon: Kenneth Bromage, 21 Gate Street, Embo, Dornoch IV25 3PS, phone 01862 810900, or email .
FREE CHURCH CONTINUING
12.00noon and 6.30pm
2 Col Bheinn Road,
Tel: 01408 621459 (or 0844 414 0040);
SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Brora. St. Columba.
Sunday Services at 9:45 am and 11:30 am.
Prefabricated Corrugated iron near station.
Visitors to the area can take out temporary membership of Highland libraries which entititles them to free use of internet services and to book and audio visual materials(DVD's) loans (need identification and proof of home address).
Activities, Sightseeing and History
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