The Famous Town of Dornoch

The town of Dornoch in Scotland became famous in 2000 when celebrities Madonna and Guy Ritchie took their nuptials at the mysterious and beautiful Dornoch Cathedral. Just five years later Dornoch became the first Highland ‘Fair Trade Town’ and made the top 100 in Britain. The result is that you will be able to find the Fair Trade products virtually anywhere including shops, churches and schools.

The little town of Dornoch is situated just eight miles north of Tain on a piece of land that juts out across the Dornoch Firth. Because of its coastal position the town is surrounded by magnificent sandy dunes. At the center of the town you will find the beautiful medieval Dornoch Cathedral that was built round about 1239 during the reign of the great King Alexander II. Unfortunately the original structure was burnt down in 1570 due to a hostile dispute. It was not until the 19th century that the reconstruction of the ruins began to take place largely due to the efforts of the Countess of Sutherland. The interiors of the Cathedral were reworked in the 1920s. Originally the Cathedral had been plastered but an order to have all Victorian plasterwork removed resulted in the beautiful old stonework being exposed once more.

As part of the restoration work the medieval Nave was removed and replaced by a more slender nave. The medieval high altar was also converted and raised to form a burial place for the prestigious Sutherland family who had been instrumental in getting the restoration of the Dornoch Cathedral started. The Cathedral’s churchyard adjoins the Dornoch Castle where visitors can view a number of unusual marble memorials that seem somewhat out of place surrounded by the medieval architecture of the building.

The town of Dornoch is also famed as the home of the beautiful Royal Dornoch Golf Course. It is interesting to note that the north of Scotland took much longer to build interest in the game of golf than the south-eastern half of the country did. The earliest documented reference to the game was made in 1619 when purchases of golfing equipment were made by the Earl of Sutherland. Despite the fact that many of the richer families in the north later migrated to Edinburgh, a number of golfing enthusiasts stayed behind and helped the sport to grow. Today golf is widely enjoyed across the entire country.

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