Braeside Retreats is perfectly placed for keen walkers should you wish to venture out on foot to explore the area. We are just two and a half miles from the village of Castletown; its downhill all the way! (but uphill all the way back)
Why not walk or cycle down to the local hotel for drink in the bar or on a Sunday, sample the locally famous Carvery Dinner – a no frills, excellent value, truly delicious meal. We dare you to sample the “all you can eat pudding trolley” – how many deserts can you fit on the plate?!
Castletown is well served with a late opening corner shop which will supply you with all your store cupboard essentials and of course that bottle of wine for sipping before you jump into the hot tub. Home to a handy post office and cash machine, they also stock local bakery products which are a must try! Tuck into a MacDonald’s of Wick cream cake or buy some “ Annie’s Bakery” sandwiches to take on your day trip. Using their own freshly baked bread, they are a cut above the rest.
For young children, there is an excellent swing park with a large picnic bench, make a morning of it and take some lunch, or nip into the Castletown Butchers for a locally famous hot Macaroni Pie or Sausage Roll.
Castletown Butchers is a real asset to the village. Not only stocking the traditional meats, sausages and burgers, they have a large variety of “ready to cook” meals such Itallian Meatballs in tomato sauce or Sweet and Sour Chicken, plus a range of ready made pies and quiches – ideal for minimal effort cooking. The chicken sausages are always a hit, as are the pork and apple burgers and don’t miss out on the shop-made coleslaw or coronation chicken for your sandwiches. They also stock an array of local produce not to be missed – the Caithness Summer fruits raspberries are delicious, there are bakery rolls, fresh free range eggs and John O’ Groats potatoes – not just your average butchers!
Castletown leads to the adjoining area of Castlehill; a former flagstone mining site which is responsible for the original growth of the village of Castletown. There is an free, interesting open air walk with informative plaques to tell you of the history of this industry and a small heritage centre run by local volunteers (link for opening times). You can wander on up to the harbour and look out across Dunnet Bay before following the loop back round to the main road; a lovely gentle route.
Dunnet Bay Distillery
Dunnet Bay Distillers is the business of local couple Claire and Martin Murray established in 2014, and producing Rock Rose Gin and Holy Grass Vodka. These products have in the short time since opening, become so popular throughout Scotland and worldwide that they are now one of Caithness’s most famous exports. A range of different gins with seasonal botanicals are now available in addition to the original Rock Rose recipe. A distillery tour is available (booking advised) which allows you to relax in the comfort of their new, beautiful “tasting room” and sip on a Gin and Tonic before seeing the stills where the spirits are produced. The tour concludes with a tasting of three of their spirits and a goody bag to take home. Excellent value for money and a great experience for gin drinkers and novices alike – you will be converted! There is a stunning shop to purchase some gin to sip in your pod that evening whilst looking out over the landscape, what could be better?