Dunrobin Castle*is the Highlands’ largest house, dating back to the 13th century, but the fairytale towers and turrets were mostly the creation of the locally-infamous Duke of Sutherland, known as architect of the Highland Clearances.
A magnificent building and gardens, offering intriguing insight into aristocratic life, it is gazed upon by a controversial, often mischievously tampered with, monument to the much-maligned duke on Ben Bhraggie hill.
En-route, we can visit the stunning Falls of Shin, once the site of the “Harrods of the North” – a store and visitor centre owned by the business magnate Mohamed Al Fayed – before a destructive fire. The outlet has now been rebuilt and re-opened under new ownership.
Heading back South we come to Dornoch, home to a world class golf course, craft and antique shops and cafes. Dornoch was the pop star Madonna's favoured romantic Highland hideaway, with her baby Rocco christened in the 17th century catherderal. She married filmstar Guy Ritchie at nearby Skibo Castle at a star-studded ceremony in 2000.
There are a number of possible tweaks to take in beaches, dolphin-spotting opportunities, eerie haunts of the 19th century Gaelic soothsayer, the Brahan Seer, as well as the chance to sup some fine malt and explore the renowned Glenmorangie Distillery* near Tain.
*Admission fees for exhibitions is extra.