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Old County of Sutherland

An ancient maritime county and a dukedom of NE Scotland, Sutherland was the fifth largest of the counties, extending to 2028 sq. miles (5252 sq. km). It was bounded to the E by Caithness and the S by Ross & Cromarty, with an indented Atlantic coastline to the N and W and a more sheltered coastline, forming the northern shore of the Dornoch Firth, to the SE. The principal rivers were the Oykel, Brora, Golspie, Helmsdale, Halladale, Naver, Hope and Dionard. Sheep farming and crofting were the major industries. The county town was Dornoch, with other settlements of note being Golspie (the seat of the Duke of Sutherland), Brora and Helmsdale (all along the SE coast), with Lairg, Tongue and Bettyhill. The county became a local government subdivision within Highland Regional Council between 1974 and 1995. Following reorganisation into unitary authorities, Sutherland has remained as an informal administrative unit within the sizeable new Highland Council.


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