“Thank you for a lovely stay. We have had a great time. Dornoch is lovely, enhanced by your attention to detail and wonderful food. Kind regards”. Stan & Deirdre.

“Just a line to say it was good to meet you both, and to say that the dinner was absolutely the best ever. It was totally delicious, thank you.” Gill Chambers.

" Thanks very much for making our stay in Dornoch so wonderful.
Perhaps the best way of putting it, is to say that it wasn't anything like staying in a hotel, anywhere else,…….. ever! Cheers " J & M
" Thanks for making us feel so welcome " Ian & Sally Campion

" Wie huft er behoefte aan de hemel, als ' 2 Quail ' bestaat?! "
"( Who needs heaven, when you have 2 Quail)"
Freddie & Dianne Somers " En dit komt uit het diepst van ans hart" (from the bottom of their big Flemish hearts)

“Just a short note to say thank you for a lovely place to come back to each night, knowing that it was clean and very comfortable. The attention to detail, ie: Molton Brown & lovely soft towels, was a treat. The breakfast was excellent and your warm welcome and friendly chat made our visit one to remember” Ann & Jim

" Thank you for making our New Year memorable in many ways. The food and the service were divine. I am sure you have won some new fans! Best Wishes" John, Jo, Tim & Lucy NY

" The meal was quite outstanding, the wine excellent and the company, of course, superb!! Thank you again " J Farquharson

" Great food, wonderful company, lovely breakfast! What more could we ask for. Many thanks. " D & W Nairn

" Just a wee note to say how much everyone enjoyed our evening with you. The whole event was perfect --- your attention to detail is nothing short of superb. Many thanks for your excellent advice on wines, they each complemented the wonderful food to perfection! Many, many thanks once again" J Knight … [I think they were happy]

2 Quail is ideally positioned to enjoy a variety of well-appointed shops, restaurants, Hotels, cafés and other services, including a Pharmacy, Post-Office, Bank, Co-op, Medical practice & Library.

Dornoch of course boasts one of the world's top championship golf courses, not to mention a fine second course. Royal Dornoch Golf Club is set in spectacular scenery but Dornoch is also served well with a Bowling Club, tennis and squash courts and the fine sandy beaches of the Dornoch Firth.

As well as being close to all our local amenities, this property is a great base for exploring the Highlands. From here you can also enjoy all the beauty of the North of Scotland, with its wonderful flora and fauna, to say nothing of the beautiful scenery.

Nearby is Dunrobin Castle part of which dates from the 14th century. Across the Dornoch Firth is Glenmorangie Distillery renowned for its fine single malt whisky.

Other things to do; just a half hours drive away is the Falls of Shin where you can catch magnificent glimpses of salmon leaping the falls in an attempt to return to their spawning grounds. Great Summer day trips can also be arranged to the Orkney Isles, the Castle of Mey, as well as circular trips to view the beauty of West Sutherland and Wester Ross, plus a trip south to the very popular Black Isle where you can visit Cromarty and often view bottle nose dolphins.

If you have a desire for the outdoors, you could always head up to Kildonan and marvel at the history behind "there's gold in them thar hills", Sutherland style as prospectors' huts formed a shanty town known in Gaelic as Baile an Or – Village of the Gold. http://www.helmsdale.org/gold-rush.php

For more information about Dornoch and the surrounding area try this e-magazine guide to the Northern Highlands


Royal Dornoch Golf Club

Situated just 4 ° below the Arctic Circle, it is due to the moderating affect of the Gulf Stream, that we are able to play golf throughout the Winter months.
Royal Dornoch Website

A Brief History

Golf has been played over the Links of Dornoch for a very long time indeed. King James II of Scotland in 1457 regarded the game with such disfavour that he decreed that golf be utterly “cryt doune and not usit”. James III and IV also wished to suppress the game, presumably because they required their subjects to be more active in the art of marksmen, and not golf.

The first six historic links of which there is a mention are:
St Andrews (1552), Leith (1593), Dornoch (1616), Montrose (1628), Aberdeen (1642) and Musselburgh (1672).

Much praise has been lavished on our links. Tom Watson described the three rounds he played here, as “the most fun he had ever had playing golf”. Ben Crenshaw on his return to Muirfield for the 1980 Open, when asked how he enjoyed Dornoch…….”Let me put it this way. I nearly didn’t come back”!
Sir Robert Gordon, tutor to the young 13th Earl of Sutherland, and an Historian of the Earldom wrote (1628), “About this toun there are the fairest and largest linkes, of any pairt of Scotland, fitt for archery, goffing, ryding, and all other exercise: they doe surpasse the fields of Montrose and St Andrews”.

Dornoch Golf Club owes enormous debt to John Sutherland. Appointed secretary in 1883 at the age of 19, he guided the club for 53 years. He educated himself in the art of green–keeping and gradually developed the course laid out by Tom Morris in 1886, into a subtle test of golf which became one of the world’s great natural courses.

Donald & Alec Ross were born in St Gilberts Street *, behind 2 Quail, close to the Cathedral, in 1872 & 1875 respectively, both learning their golf on the Dornoch links. Having been to St Andrews to learn the skill of club-making and green-keeping, Donald returned to Dornoch as the Professional/Green-keeper in the mid 1890’s. They emigrated to America in 1899, where Donald became one of the great course architects.

In 1906, King Edward VII granted a Royal Charter to the Club, and Royal Dornoch Golf Club was born.
A new clubhouse was opened in 1909, attended by Mr & Mrs Andrew Carnegie (of Skibo Castle). He presented the members with the magnificent Carnegie Shield, for an Open competition, which is played at Royal Dornoch in early August every year.

As a woman that plays golf at Dornoch, I have to say that unlike some other golfing communities, lady golfers have never been treated less favourably than their male counterparts. In fact, Dornoch was one of the earlier clubs to encourage Ladies to play. They had their own 18 hole course, with a clubhouse in Littletown. Unfortunately, during WWII, part of the course was flattened for an airstrip, but was later re-modelled to become the ‘Struie Course’. Now extended by an extra 1’000 yards, overlooking Struie Hill and the Kyle of Sutherland beyond, it is a fine test of golf, and worthy of being a fitting companion to Royal Dornoch, the ‘Top Course’.

*Gilbert de Moravia, see page on the Royal Burgh of Dornoch.

Dornoch parish covers c. 53 square miles and includes the Royal burgh of Dornoch, the former fishing village of Embo, and nearly twenty small crofting townships and hamlets. Dornoch is the parish's largest settlement as well as being the county town of Sutherland and once the seat of the Diocese of Caithness, it has one of Scotland's smallest Cathedrals.

One of the major difficulties encountered in telling the story of Dornoch (both parish and burgh) is that the area’s history is rather disjointed. There are long periods of inactivity where nothing significant seems to occur, that are punctuated by episodes of much importance. Presenting a coherent picture of Dornoch’s past is not made any easier by the absence of archaeological and documentary evidence. An archaeological survey of the parish or burgh has never been under-taken and many of the early written records have been either lost or destroyed. What evidence remains – at least prior to the 18th century – is fragmentary, based on scraps of official documents, Norse Sagas, place- names, legend and tradition, plus a less than reliable 17th century account of the Earls of Sutherland, a few minor archaeological finds and the topography of the area itself.

The picture does become much clearer by the 18th century, simply because many more (although not all) of the official records relating to the town managed to survive. What follows is a simple take on the chronological account of Dornoch’s development from earlier times to the 20th century.
Dornoch is blessed with a marvellous museum, Historylinks, which you should fit in to your itinerary.

A Pre-History

Exactly when man settled in South-East Sutherland is unclear, but the discovery of Neolithic chambered cairns at various sites around the Parish, indicate the area was occupied over 400 years ago.
Local tradition credits the Ulster monk, Finbarr (St. Barr) with converting the inhabitants to Christianity during the C6th, possibly 540 AD. Although there is little substantiating evidence to support the claim, it is thought that Dornoch’s first church, which pre-dates the cathedral, stood at the East end of the present day cemetery, and was known as St. Barr’s church.

The diocese of Caithness was probably established by King David I between 1147 and 1151, and the earliest recorded Bishop of Caithness was Andrew, a Benedictine monk from Dunfermline.
Whatever early religious settlement there may have been in Dornoch, they would surely have been disrupted by the Norse raids on the Mainland during the latter half of the C9th. These Viking raiders from Norway settled in Orkney and then moved South into Caithness and eventually into SE Sutherland (The Southern Lands).

Dornoch Parish & Cathedral

A Brief History

The earliest mention of Dornoch occurs in a mandate of King David I sometime between 1136 and 1153 at Abernethy. The King commands of Rognvald, the Norse Earl of Orkney; to… respect and maintain the monks and their men dwelling in Dornoch and their goods, and wherever they come among you, that you permit no-one to do them harm or insult them.

At the start of the C13th the Parish of Dornoch was granted to a Hugh Freskin of Flemish descent, who had been previously given land in Moray. He then adopted the surname ‘de Moravia’*, or in its Anglicised form, Murray. Finally, around 1211, Hugh granted the area stretching from Skelbo to Invershin to his kinsmen, Gilbert de Moravia, who was Archdeacon of Moray.

In 1224 Gilbert was made Bishop of Caithness, and spent his life building Dornoch Cathedral, which held its first service in 1239, six years before his death in 1245.

Despite the powerful presence of the church in SE Sutherland, the area did not enjoy a peaceful future for the following five centuries. In 1570, the town and cathedral were burned by The Earl of Caithness, supported by the Mackays of Strathnaver and the Sutherlands of Duffus. The cathedral remained roofless, until 1616, when Sir Robert Gordon re- roofed and repaired the chancel and transepts, although for the next two hundred years the cathedral continued to be used without a nave. However, Dornoch was still given Royal Burgh status by Charles I in 1628, in a vain attempt to encourage foreign trade.

In 1655, Dornoch was occupied by Royalist troops in the struggle against Cromwell, and as they retreated, laid waste to the area, and the building suffered yet again. In 1680 the cathedral was again roofless, but eventually in 1714 was repaired and re-roofed for a second time. During the rebellion of 1745, when Dornoch was occupied first by the King’s army and then by the Jacobites, much damage was done to the principal buildings of the burgh, it was said that men & horses were stabled in the cathedral. By 1769 it was ruinous again, though yet again rebuilt for a third time in 1772.

During the C18th pigs were allowed to roam at will in the churchyard. Booths and tents for the town fairs were also erected, some of the poles were driven deep enough to reach the coffins. In 1815 the churchyard was enclosed by a wall, and a road along its south side was built. At this time in particular Dornoch was quite impoverished, and though the building remained in a very poor condition, the people of Dornoch kept things going.

In 1833, shortly after the death of the Duke of Sutherland, his wife the Duchess-Countess, agreed to re-build the cathedral, work began in 1835 and was finished in 1837.

The notorious Highland Clearances of the early C19th saw the introduction of sheep farming on an unprecedented scale, which meant that hundreds of local families were forcibly cleared from land farmed by their ancestors for generations. Many left Sutherland altogether, and although Dornoch suffered less than other areas, the bitter memory still arouses controversy today.

In the latter part of the C19th, with the introduction of the rating system, which allowed local authorities to raise finance directly from inhabitants, the improvements of the parish were no longer dependent on the goodwill of the Dukes of Sutherland.

The advent of the motor car and the coming of the railway in 1902, made the area much more accessible. Further improvements to the transport network have enabled visitors from all over the world to travel to the Highlands and Sutherland.

Many visitors return to this beautiful and tranquil town year after year. Like the first Stone Age settlers, thousands of years ago, and the Celtic, Pictish and Flemish immigrants after them, they have all left their mark on the parish, and have contributed in some way to make Dornoch what it is today.

If you would like to find out more about Dornoch take a look at Undiscovered Scotland's informative pages or our own website dornoch.org.uk

Online booking

Email: web@2quail.com 

Phone: +44 (0)1862 811 811


Prices are based on two people sharing, and include a full cooked breakfast.

Room prices range throughout the year from £70 (including single occupancy) to £120 (douple occupancy)


Contact us via phone or email to make a booking.

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2 Quail is a small business and due to a tiny number of past experiences, we will apply the cancellation policy below, thank you.

Every effort will be made to re-let the room reservation that you made however, if you cancel your booking and we cannot re-let the room/s, the following charges of the total booking cost apply:-

Outside 28 days, 20%. 14-28 days before arrival, 30%. 7-14 days before arrival, 40%. Less than 7 days before arrival, 50%.

If less than 48 hours notice is given, a full 100% charge will be made to your card.

It is always hoped that customers do not make cancellations that have been booked for many months at the last minute, as often these are the hardest to fill

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