This area has some of the finest beaches to be found in the UK. The nearby sands at Reiss are simply stunning. Paths lead through the white sandy dunes to the sweeping beach below. Surfing, body-boarding, sand-buggying, swimming, horse riding and wild-life watching are all local pastimes, yet this superb beach is never crowded. Dunnet Forest, just a few miles further north, has miles of lovely walks and cycling trails, with picnic areas and unusual sculptures to encounter on the way. It is also close to the Highland Tourist trail that runs from Wick harbour in the east through to Ullapool in the west. This trail follows a route right across the far north and west of Scotland, taking in some of the most dramatic scenery, with mountain ranges, stunning beaches and awe-inspiring and ever-changing coastline along the way. The Castle of Mey, beautifully restored by the late Queen Mother is a must. This fairytale castle has a fascinating history and the gardens, grounds and views are wonderful. The whole area is renowned for its bird and sea life. Puffins, Great Skua, otters, seals, dolphins and whales are all seen around these coastal waters. An excellent boat trip runs from John O’ Groats to encounter the sea-life close to hand and to explore this fascinating coastline from a different perspective. Day trips also run from here across to the Orkney Isles. Here visitors can explore Neolithic villages, standing stones, Scapa Flow and the amazing Italian chapel built by prisoners during the Second World War. At Melvich just along the coast there is also a colony of puffins, and at Forsinard, Strath Halladale, there is an RSPB nature reserve, where local rangers will take visitors to explore the bird life, flora and fauna of the area. Historical sites and places of interest abound. A local archaeological trail provides a tantalising glimpse into times past, with brochs, cairns and ancient sites along the way. There are also many excellent golf courses in the region, and plenty of opportunities for fishing, coast and forest walking, and cycling, taking advantage of the quiet country lanes and spectacular coastal scenery. The towns of Thurso and Wick are both 12 miles away. Thurso has an excellent selection of bars, cafes, shops and restaurants. Originally built by the Vikings and added to over the centuries it now offers visitors a fascinating mix of ancient and modern. The new Caithness Horizons visitor centre is well worth a visit. Facilities also include a swimming pool, leisure centre, boating lake, horse riding and sailing. The town of Wick is also steeped in history. Also an ancient Viking settlement, the town plan is medieval in origin. Today it offers a good selection of shops, bars and restaurants. There are a wide variety of sporting activities in the area. Iscoyd provides a superb base from which to explore this totally unspoilt area.