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Dornoch-Strathpeffer central to highland walking

We are looking for a 5day-one week home base for walking in the highlands and have checked Dornoch and Strathpepper as possibilities. We may have a rental car or public transportation. Our travels will be in October. We would appreciate any suggestions regarding a central, small town base with an emphasis on access to highland walking.

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I have gone on walking tours out of Strathpeffer many times. It's a great location and I would pick it over Dornoch. The biggest benefit is from Strathpeffer you can get to the west, down to the Cairngorms, to the east to Culbin and north. This is important, if you are flexible in your plans and watch the weather. It can be beautiful in the east when it's pouring down in the west. Or you can have high winds in the north and west and go down to Cairngorms and hike around a sheltered loch. I wish I could recommend a hotel, but the Richmond where I have stayed has changed ownership. The rooms are fine, but I'm less sure about the food. There are a number of B&B's. Watch out for the large old hotels as they cater to large coach tours. Watching the all the retired folks kick up their heels can be fun, but you might want to be someplace else. If you are interested in a guide send me a message. I know a good one that isn't outrageously expensive.

Have a wonderful time! Take you your goretex boots and rain gear. I also recommend a midgie hat. I got mine in Edinburgh. You won't need it all the time, but when you do need it, you will be much happier with it.