Small town on the way north with a spectacular youth hostel!

North of Ardgay is the Kyle of Sutherland, where several rivers converge to flood into the sea through lush water meadows. Montrose was defeated here, at Carbisdale, in 1651. Overlooking the Kyle, at Culrain, is the 19th-century Carbisdale Castle, once home of the exiled King of Norway, which now houses the largest and most sumptuous Youth Hostel in Scotland, and possibly anywhere else, Tel. 01549-421232. It's open 26 February-31 October (except the first two weeks in May). Trains between Inverness and Thurso stop at Ardgay and Culrain. The youth hostel is half a mile up a steep hill from the station. Buses between Inverness and Lairg (see below) stop in Ardgay and Bonar Bridge.

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