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This was once the industrial centre of Sutherland with one of the earliest coal mines in Scotland, a brick and tile works and a salt mine. The harbour was developed to take advantage of the rich fishing grounds, though now only a few boats sail in to land lobster and crabs here but you may spot some Grey seals and otters.
Clynelish distillery, which was built in 1819 by the Duke of Sutherland, provided a market for locally grown grain. Spirit still flows from the stills of Clynelish and after maturation produces a warm, peaty malt. You can take a tour of the distillery and sample the malt at the visitor centre. The distillery was part of the duke’s scheme of economic improvement. It was fired with coal from the local mine and its by-products, valuable animal feeds, were used by livestock farmers. Their animals helped to fertilise unimproved land, which later grew grain used at the distillery, thereby completing the cycle. Such was the demand for its whisky that a larger distillery with commanding views across to the holiday town of Brora and the sea was built in the grounds of Clynelish in the 1960s. The six new stills faithfully reproduced the design of those in the original distillery and ensured that the character of the whisky remained unchanged. Today, the distillery produces a single malt Scotch from six traditional copper stills and is used extensively for blending. Clynelish 14-year-old Highland single malt is also available at the distillery and selected outlets in bottles which feature the distillery symbol, a native wildcat.
Despite a heavy industrial past – its Hunters Woollen Mill was famed world-wide for its tweeds – Brora remains an attractive village with a fine beach and an excellent golf course.
The area is ideal for those who love the outdoors, whether it be fishing on Loch Brora, a round on Brora Golf Course - a traditional links course designed by James Braid - or mountain biking, the area has many attractions.