Loch Fleet is a sea loch situated on the east coast of Sutherland mid-way between Dornoch
and Golspie. As well as being an extrememly scenic area, the loch and its surrounding
countryside are important for their flora and fauna and as such have been designated a National Nature Reserve.
The reserve supports many different species of plants and animals because of the varied habitats around its shores.
Common seals can often be seen, particularly at low tide when they haul themselves out onto the sandbanks. There are
good vantage points all along the southern shore where they can be viewed from the road. There are mudflats that
support waders and wildfowl. The pine woodlands support many rare plants and are also home to mammals such as roe
deer, pine martens and red squirrels. These woods also support a wide range of bird life including crossbills,
treecreepers and woodpeckers. Buzzards and sparrowhawks are common and ospreys can be seen fishing in the loch.
At the mouth of the loch large shingle bars have narrowed the entrance and the tide rushes in and out through this
opening. Nearby is the original crossing point for those wishing to travel between Dornoch and Golspie. On the
northern shore lies the tiny settlement of Littleferry. Here you can see the old cottages that were once home to
the ferryman and pilot, as well as buildings that served as an inn and stores for coal, salt and meal, all imported
into the area by boat. There is also an ice house which was used to preserve fish.
On the opposite shore to Littleferry lies the remains of the other ferry pier. Heading inland from here along the
road that follows the southern shore of the loch, you will find the remains of Skelbo Castle. It stands a little way
back from the loch on top of a small hill and was once one of the most important castles in the north of Scotland.
However today it is just a ruin (in fact the structure is dangerous and should not be approached - it is best viewed
from the car park by the shore).