Caithness and Sutherland covers a region that offers a peaceful and attractive lifestyle, with a great pace of life, vibrant culture, thriving business sectors and communities, and an expansive outdoor adventure playground.

The area is perfect for active family life, with friendly and supportive communities, exceptional education offerings, and outstanding sports facilities and activities. Although the surroundings are serene, the businesses and adventure opportunities available are exciting and worth exploring.


Culture & Community Spirit

Our region boasts diverse communities, inherently connected to the land and sea around them. The area is abundant in people, culture, and natural resources. If you choose to make Caithness and Sutherland your home, you’ll be welcomed into a friendly, welcoming, and close-knit community.

The events calendar is full of community events and gatherings that celebrate our culture and traditions. From the Highland Games to Galas and County Shows, there are numerous opportunities to socialise, make connections, and meet new friends. We always celebrating something!

You can find a busy calendar of events on the Venture North website.

There are also plenty of sports and social clubs, a vibrant creative, cultural, and heritage scene, delicious food, live music, and plenty of opportunities to create the perfect work-life balance.

Our region is perfect for children and families who love nature and the outdoors. It offers ample space, freedom, and safety for children to grow and thrive. There are numerous activities to keep children engaged with the outdoors such as hiking, camping, and exploring.


Action & Adventure

Caithness and Sutherland is the perfect destination for adventure enthusiasts who love spending time in the great outdoors. This picturesque region offers numerous opportunities to connect with nature and feel alive. Here, you can challenge yourself to climb higher, run faster, and ride further. The stunning coastal landscape provides ample opportunities for wild swimming, surfing, paddleboarding, coasteering, canoeing, and sailing. You can also seek breathtaking views along the rugged coastal cliff-top paths and mountain trails. Sometimes, you may even get the whole beach, loch, or summit to yourself. Alternatively, you can seek out company, support, and friendly competition by joining one of the many clubs in the area.

Thurso, known as the cold water surfing capital of the UK, owes its reputation to its famous surf spot, Thurso East. This fast reef break produces some of the biggest and most consistent waves in the area and has a fearsome reputation among surfers. It’s considered a mecca for those willing to brave the cold waters.

The long sandy beaches and hidden coves are a favourite with families, dog walkers and horse riders, who enjoy the open space and low crowds.

From the inland lochs and rivers to our region, Caithness and Sutherland are famed for world-class Salmon and Trout Fishing. For those who like to keep their feet on land, the region boasts an impressive golfing portfolio to match anywhere in the world.


Education

Caithness and Sutherland offers a variety of schools, ranging from small village schools to larger town schools. The education quality is high, with small class sizes available in primary, secondary, and nursery schools.

34 Nurseries

26 Primary Schools

6 Secondary Schools

Apprenticeships

Our region is well supported with career opportunities for young people. Developing the Young Workforce is Scotland’s youth employment strategy to better prepare young people for the world of work.

With dedicated School coordinators in place across the six high schools in the across the region, Developing the Young Workforce North Highlands works in partnership with employers to inspire confidence, enable relevant employability skills and support access to workplace opportunities to develop lifelong career skills. You can find information on apprenticeship opportunities in the region on the DYW North Highlands Website.

Study

UHI North, West and Hebrides is Scotland’s newest college with 19 campuses and centres spread across the North and West Highlands, Skye and Outer Hebrides, covering a geographic area larger than Wales and 40% of Scotland’s coastline.

As one of the largest partners within UHI, a regional further and higher education partnership, UHI North, West and Hebrides delivers flexible, supportive learning from access level to PhD to suit more people, at more levels, for more reasons, so our students develop the skills they need now, and in the future, for learning, life, and work.

Its courses are deeply rooted in the culture, location, and landscapes of the region. So, in the Caithness and Sutherland, you’ll find subjects to study which include Construction and Engineering, Environmental Research, Rural Studies, Hospitality and Tourism, Professional Cookery & Golf as well as other opportunities to study from access to degree and postgraduate level in a range of more traditional subjects too.


Landscape, History & Wildlife

Caithness and Sutherland region boasts a diverse and breathtaking landscape, featuring soaring sea cliffs, long sandy beaches, low-level fertile farmland, rugged mountainous terrain with panoramic mountain views, twisting roads, foaming rivers, and stunning lochs. It’s no surprise that the region was named one of Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel” destinations for 2024.

Our region comprising of Caithness and Sutherland covers much of the far north of Scotland. Caithness is home to popular tourist attractions such as John O’Groats and Dunnet Head and hosts much of the spectacular NC500, famed stunning scenery, fresh local produce, fine distilleries, wildlife wonders and fascinating history.

The region is rich in nationally significant archaeological sites ranging from the Mesolithic hunter and gatherers’ sites to the Neolithic chambered cairns and the Iron Age Brochs.

Much of the vast open landscape known as the Flow Country, is the most intact and extensive blanket bog system globally. In 2020, the Flow Country took a significant step towards becoming the world’s first peatland UNESCO World Heritage site by passing stage one of the nomination process. A decision is expected in the summer of 2024. The rolling landscape of bogland, studded with thousands of pools, is home to a wide range of rare and unusual birds, animals, and plants. Here, greenshanks, golden plovers, dunlin, merlin, and hen harrier breed. They share the peatlands with millions of insect-eating sundew plants, dragonflies, and red deer.

Caithness and Sutherland are home to a rich and varied wildlife population. Our coasts and waters are home to an amazing array of birds and marine life, including spectacular sightings of visiting orca pods and dolphins, and the more common curious seal. Along the coastline, in summer, high cliffs and stacks support amazing seabird colonies, home to more than 300 species, including Puffins, Razorbills, Guillemots, Fulmars, and Kittiwakes.

Our region is among the best places in the world to witness the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis or “Mirrie Dancers”. The best time to observe this mesmerising phenomenon is during autumn and winter when the dark skies above the Highlands are frequently illuminated with enchanting dancing colours. The lack of light pollution makes the dark skies perfect for stargazing, allowing you to enjoy the true beauty of the night sky in all its glory, making it a photographer’s dream!