Sandside is situated on the north coast of Scotland between John O’ Groats and Tongue about 12 miles to the west of Thurso.
Steeped in history Caithness is known for big skies, spectacular sea cliffs, wild and empty beaches, and long summer nights.
Thurso provides a wide range of facilities and professional services, supermarkets, a hospital, the University of the Highlands and Islands, and primary and secondary education.
The Northerly tip of the Scottish mainland is known for providing consistent and quality waves and the town of Thurso is a world-class destination for surfers.
Opportunities for coastal walks, hill walking and cycling are almost endless, and for golfers there is a fine mix of courses: Wick, Reay and Thurso, all 18 holes, and Lybster with 9 holes.
Sandside extends to about 8,137 acres in total and comprises around 2.75 miles of coastline and sea cliffs, open moorland, woodland, peatland, hill lochs and burns together with a traditional stone harbour, bothy and net store.
LOT 1 - SANDSIDE HILL
The coastline which forms the northern boundary of Sandside is made up of a spectacular series of sea cliffs, coves and inlets which command fantastic views out over the Atlantic Ocean, and are teeming with remarkable bird life.
The majority of Sandside is located to the south of the public road and the village of Reay, with the hill of Beinn Ratha forming a prominent ridge lying between the Sandside Burn and Brackside Burn, and a series of saddles and peaks along the southern and western boundaries of the estate.
The vast majority of the underlying land at Sandside is blanket bog, made up of nationally important Class 1 carbon-rich soils, deep peat and priority peatland habitat of high conservation value. Surveys carried out by Caledonian Climate (www.caledonianclimate.com) have identified an initial area of some 707 acres (286 hectares) of peatland that has become degraded and could be restored to protect this vital carbon sink.
The proposed initial restoration project at Sandside is forecast to result in projected emissions reductions of 49,587 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the 100 year lifetime of the project, producing the same number of Peatland Carbon Units which can be sold or used to offset other business emissions.
The project is registered under the Peatland Code on the UK Land Carbon Registry, and PeatlandACTION grant funding has been secured for 2022/23 restoration works. This will enable a purchaser to commence this project at the earliest opportunity.
The existing woodlands at Sandside extend to about 391 acres (158 hectares) in total, with areas of mature trees interspersed with planting and natural regeneration projects carried out in the early 2000’s.
A further area of new native woodland planting has been identified with a Scottish Forestry Grant Scheme application recently approved. Extending to about 103 acres (42 hectares), the planting is designed to be fragmented and variable in density, with its primary purpose being to create a
rare peat edge woodland that will form the missing link in the natural transition between peatland and riparian habitats, and will seek to improve the water quality of the Sandside burn. It is estimated that this woodland creation project could deliver upwards of 13,500 tonnes of carbon equivalent (CO2e) sequestration over a 100 year project period,
delivering the same number of Woodland Carbon Units.
The gently undulating nature of the hill combined with a
number of steep burns and gullies make for challenging and
exciting red deer stalking. Typically around 13 to 15 stags and 35 hinds have been taken each year, with much of the sport enjoyed by the current owners or with a local self-employed professional stalker who has an excellent knowledge of the ground employed to accompany and guide paying guests.
The moor has not been managed for grouse under the
current ownership but walked up shooting over pointers has
taken place occasionally, and most recently in 2022 when
encouraging number of grouse were seen. Historic bags are
not available but the remains of lines of butts from when
Sandside was formerly a driven moor can still be seen.
There are five hill lochs on Sandside which offer remote and
exciting fishing in spectacular surroundings for hard fighting
wild brown trout. Through the autumn and early winter
months these lochs can provide spectacular wildfowling for
ducks and geese, with wooden hides constructed around
Loch Hollistan for this purpose.
LOT 2- SANDSIDE HARBOUR
Sandside Harbour is a unique private stone harbour with a bothy and traditional net store built in circa 1830. The traditional category A listed stone harbour is distinctive and has immaculate stone-built harbour walls forming a simple basin as well as a slipway from which boats may be launched. The harbour is used on a grace and favour basis- by local small leisure boats and a few boats that are used for lobster and crab fishing.
The Net Store is also category A listed and is of traditional stone construction, set beneath a slate and metal sheet roof.
The Bothy Flat forms the upper floor of the Net Store building
located on the harbour edge and can be accessed from the west at first floor level. The building is currently unoccupied and will require extensive upgrading.
Note: part of the roof is in dangerous condition and access should not be taken internally to the Net Store or Bothy Flat.
Sandside is offered for sale as a whole or in two lots.
From Thurso, continue west on the A836 to Reay, approximately 11 miles. After passing Reay Golf Club on the
right, continue through the village, and the estate ground lies either side of the A836.
Alternatively, from the A9 at Helmsdale take the A897 to Melvich, turning right (east) at the T-junction with the A836. Sandside Estate begins at the ‘Welcome to Caithness’ sign which defines the county march with Sutherland.