The Royal Burgh of Dornoch is situated in the county of Sutherland, on the north east coast of Scotland, 40 miles north of Inverness. A settlement has been here since the Bronze Age, and Dornoch is mentioned in 1140 when records show that King David I asked the Earl of Orkney and Caithness to protect the monks there. King Charles I conferred the status of Royal Burgh in 1628. The historic nature of the town is reflected in its architecture, dominated by the Cathedral founded in 1224. The attractive sandstone buildings that form the centre of the town and the wide open space of the Town Square have been left largely unchanged over the years, preserving a traditional look and feel that is particularly attractive to visitors.
Dornoch's educational tradition can be traced back to the 6th century, and the present Dornoch Academy can trace its descent back to the Cathedral school founded in the 13th century. Between the town and its excellent sandy beach are Dornoch's two golf courses - the championship Royal Dornoch Golf Course, ranked 15th in the world and the Struie course. The first written mention of golf was in 1616, but the major development took place in the early 1900s and led to visiting golfers building substantial properties in the town. In the 1980s Ben Crenshaw & Tom Watson played on the course and since them a growing number of American and other visitors have come to the town - with over 13,000 visitor rounds being recorded in 1997. In the early 1990s Skibo Castle was converted into an exclusive Golf and Country Club, increasing the number of visitors to the area and providing additional employment opportunities. A large percentage of the population is dependant on tourism, with agriculture, forestry and building being the main other areas of specialism. Public sector employees and the service industries (including nursing homes) make up the balance. The population of the parish of Dornoch is ~ 2200.