The Old Manse at Argay, near Bonar Bridge in Sutherland is exactly what you would expect from the name. A substantial traditional Victorian manse, built to reflect the importance of the minister in the local community, with plenty room to accommodate benighted and needy travellers who might pitch up at the door in need of succour and shelter.
But it is also so much more. Reached by its own long drive, it stands, secluded, in its own substantial grounds on the banks of the River Carron. Its orchards, lawns and shrubberies are perfect for children to roam free and engage in good old fashioned adventuring, while their parents appreciate the peace and beauty of the surroundings and the comforts within.
A much-loved family holiday home, the accommodation which The Old Manse provides is both spacious and comfortable. A particular feature is the fine modern conservatory on the side, which is also equipped for dining. Inside there is an enormous sitting room, a dining room with arch to an elegant kitchen, utility room, and a bathroom with separate shower, and upstairs a large double bedroom with en suite bathroom, three twin bedrooms and a further bathroom.
In Sutherland you are really in the Highlands. This is a beautiful country of mountains, rocky coasts and white, sandy beaches. At Ardgay, you are perfectly placed for exploring all of Scotland to the north of Inverness , which can be reached either by going round the coast via Tain, or, in less than an hour by taking the shortcut over The Struie, a high, fast road across open moorland with wide vistas. On the way you will cross the Black Isle, which, with its pretty villages and the dolphin-watching site at Chanonry Point, is well worth a diversion. (While there, pick up some supplies from the Black Isle brewery, just off the A9 from the Tore roundabout. You will not be disappointed!) Portmahomack is another lovely destination for a day trip, with a meal at the excellent Oystercatcher Restaurant there.
To the east is the charming cathedral 'city' of Dornoch, (11m) with its endless beaches and championship golf course, as well as a couple of excellent restaurants. To the north, the spectacular coast road will take you up to John o' Groats, where you can take the foot ferry to Orkney (or the car ferry from just along the coast at Gill's Bay).
And then there is the north west, either via Strath Oykel to Lochinver or Ullapool, or along Loch Shin to Laxford Bridge and on to Durness and Cape Wrath. At the Shin Falls there is a visitor centre, children's pay area and in season you can also watch the spectacular salmon leap there. So much to see and do!
In the close vicinity of the Old Manse, there are plenty opportunities for walking, golfing and fishing. A visit to Dunrobin Castle near Golspie (24m), is another attraction, where there are regular falconry and other displays. There is a railway halt at Ardgay, and hotels and shops etc a couple of miles away in Bonar Bridge, where there is also a very pretty 9-hole golf course.
Heating is by electric panel heaters (first £50 INCLUDED) and gas-fires. Bed linen and towels are INCLUDED in the rental. Sorry, no pets or smoking within the house.