Caithness and Sutherland

Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Sat, 2009-11-21

The boggy half of Caithness and Sutherland is known as the Flow Country (from the Old Norse word Floi meaning marshy ground). If you were to dig down about 7 metres you would touch peat that is 7000 years old.

The two areas of Caithness and Sutherland form Scotland’s northern wilderness. When you look at a map of Scotland and find Inverness, travel north a few miles and you will find Sutherland, a county that stretches from the east coast to the west of Scotland. At the top right corner of Scotland is the county of Caithness, the land of picts and vikings.

This site represents Natural dystrophic lakes and ponds on 7130 Blanket bogs in northern Scotland. The scale and diversity of the peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland make them unique in Europe. They are three times larger than any other peat mass in the UK. Dystrophic waters are especially common in the Peatlands.

Sutherland and Caithness are the most northerly parts of mainland Britain. Northwest Sutherland is a stunning landscape of perfect sandy beaches and sweeping moorland studded with glittering lochans, overlooked by some of Scotland’s most remarkable mountains, individual peaks each with great character. Caithness, further east, is more fertile and populated but has some fantastic coastal scenery with dramatic castles, great sandstone cliffs and towering sea-stacks, as well as the larger towns of Wick and Thurso. Further south is Sutherland’s east coast with the beautiful old town of Dornoch. This area too has some great beaches as well as interesting shorter walks.

The contrast between the Caithness and Sutherland is also unique. Caithness is famous for its open, cathedral-like skies, sea bird-girt cliffs and the internationally renowned peat lands of the ‘Flow Country’. Scotland is unique but some parts of Scotland are more unique than others. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Caithness and Sutherland.

Fig: Map of Caithness and Sutherland area

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