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Sutherland

Dunrobin Castle and gardens
©2016 Gazetteer for Scotland

Dunrobin Castle and gardens

An ancient county and dukedom of N Scotland, Sutherland was the 'South-land' of the Vikings and was under Norse rule until the 12th century when William the Lion claimed it for Scotland. It occupies about one-eighth of the land mass of Scotland and has an east, west and north coastline, backed by a sparsely populated landscape of mountain, moor and loch. Sutherland is bounded on the south by the Dornoch Firth, Strathcarron and Strath Oykel; on the north by the Pentland Firth separating the mainland from Orkney; on the east by Caithness and the North Sea; and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean and the North Minch. Its highest point is Ben More Assynt at 998m (3273 feet). A district of Highland Region between 1975 and 1996, when it had a population (1991) of 13,740 and an area of 5865 sq. km (2264 sq. miles), its chief town is Dornoch. The archaeology of the past reveals Iron-Age brochs, souterrains, burial sites and hill forts as well as more recent townships cleared of their inhabitants in the early 19th century to make way for sheep farms. It was the most sparsely populated county in Scotland.


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