Wonderful Wildlife in Sutherland

Just in from a lovely autumn walk around Embo House, Dornoch. It reminded me how wonderful wildlife in Sutherland can be.

Wildlife in Sutherland: Wild Geese rising



At this time of year the barley stubble to the front of Embo House provides perfect camouflage for a huge flock of barnacle geese fresh in from the Arctic. My presence triggers a cacophony, as around a thousand of them clatter from the ground, squawking their alarm. At first they rise slowly, confused as a swarm of locusts. But higher up the vast army start to circle in formation, and the outer echelons form a classical ‘V’. It really is a breathtaking natural spectacle.





Wildlife in Sutherland: Embo Beach


Down to the beach now where there is always some wildlife busy at work. Last winter I was awed by the vast numbers of guillemots floating close together to form living rafts on the calm sea. It is rougher today so most of the birds are either on the wing or scavenging amongst clumps of weed pulled up from the Dornoch Firth and deposited along the beach. But I am charmed by the groups of humble dunlins effortlessly dancing from rock to rock to dodge each incoming wave. Further out, a harbour seal pops her head up to keep an eye on proceedings whilst a pair of oyster catchers provide a low fly-past with their shrill ‘kleep, kleep’ call cutting through the drum-roll of the surf.




I head towards home and the bird-life provides yet more welcome distractions. The heron that lives near the burn rises and flies back towards the ponds at Embo House – its’s wing-beat as serene as an eagle but behind it’s legs trail ungainly. Our dog performs the duty of any self-respecting Labrador and puts up a couple of pheasants. This in turn agitates the swarms of geese whose clamour carries miles on the breeze as they again resume their aerial manoeuvres.

So I return grateful to have ventured out. Even on the shortest local walk, wildlife in Sutherland can provide an unmissable backdrop.

Embo House is now a Dornoch wedding venue!

Embo House is starting to show its capability as a Dornoch wedding venue, with the very lovely Agne and Jerry using it as the base for their celebrations in October 2018. Luckily, it was a fabulously dry and warm weekend, even though it was nearly November.                                

I was thrilled to be able to be around to take a few snaps, as preparations got underway. A marquee was erected in the back garden, on the circular lawn and its transparent sides allowed the sunshine and the garden views in.

Embo House as a Dornoch wedding venue


It is also possible to erect a tent on the front lawn, looking out to the Dornoch Firth, but this couple decided that was where they wanted to take photos, as their guests (and priests) looked on! These two had previously been married in St. Finnbarr’s Scottish Episcopal Church in Dornoch, though there are in fact a number of churches in the town, (plus of course the beautiful, 13th century Cathedral) to choose from. And don’t forget that in Scotland you can also be married anywhere you can get the local registrar to agree with, including in Embo House, or on the beach.


…and as Jerry decided to carry his bride towards the sea, for some more “rural” shots!

Meanwhile, back at the house, the food was nearly ready, drinks were flowing and the party was about to begin.



As I left our guests to their party, the evening sun came out with real warmth and I reflected what a lovely Dornoch wedding venue this really is.


If you would like to use Embo House as a Dornoch wedding venue, or indeed as a venue for other kinds of events, please do get in touch. We would be delighted to discuss your requirements with you and see what we can do to accommodate you.