Stay a While in The Black Isle

Lying north of the awe-inspiring Loch Ness, the charming city of Inverness is often a base for tourists who want to try their luck at Nessie-hunting.  But there is so much more to the Inverness area than Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle (beautiful though they are).  One of my favourite areas is The Black Isle (not an isle at all but a peninsula), sitting on the other side of the Kessock Bridge and well worth a bit of exploration.  Here are a few personal highlights of the area.

Fortrose

This lovely town is home to one of the most scenic golf courses I have seen.  Chanonry Golf Club is shared with neighbouring Rosemarkie and the coastal course follows a ‘V’ shape, with Chanonry Point jutting into the sea.  (I don’t play golf all that often but this course always makes me want to dust off my clubs!).  This point is also a great place for spotting the Moray Firth dolphins.

9th hole, credit Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Course

9th hole, credit Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Course

Rosemarkie Beach 

Rosemarkie lies a short distance from Fortrose (and is famous for its Pictish stones, housed in the museum).  The picturesque beach is backed by red sand cliffs, and you can visit the nearby Fairy Glen – a wooded glen with pretty twin waterfalls (and ideal for wildlife-watching).

Cromarty

This historic town is perched on the tip of the Black Isle, looking onto the Cromarty Firth.  Cromarty is well-known for its architecture – probably one of the most interesting buildings is a thatched cottage on Church Street (the birthplace of the geologist Hugh Miller).  Along with Chanonry Point, it is a well known dolphin-watching spot.

Ord Hill Walk

If you’re looking for a good viewpoint of Inverness, the Beauly Firth and the Kessock Bridge, head to Ord Hill.  The walk is only accessible from the southbound carriageway of the A9, and the walk starts from the car park on the north side.  You can either take an easier circuit around the hill or climb up to the summit (make sure you take the short detour to the viewpoint).

Beauly

The ruin of a 13th century priory is at the centre of this beautiful village (where Mary Queen of Scots is known to have stayed).  I have visited a number of times and each time I think it would be a lovely place to spend a few days.  I also love Ffords Photographic just outside of Beauly – a camera shop with a great cafe.

For a truly authentic holiday experience, why not stay in a local holiday home?  Find holiday cottages in The Black Isle area with our self-catering Inverness.

Do you have any suggestions to add?  Please leave your comments below.

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    Fuchsia Cottage is situated with a southerly aspect, adjacent to the beach and small harbour in Fortrose. Ideal base for exploring the Highlands and observing dolphins, seals and other wildlife. Local shops in Fortrose and also Avoch & Rosemarkie nearby.

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