Highland hills rich in plants and wildlife are a backdrop to
the Moray Firth and the sand-and-shingle beaches of the coast.
Inverness, the 'capital' of the Highlands, stands at the entrance
of the man-made Caledonian Canal, which connects Scotland's
east and west coasts. On its way, the canal passes through Loch
Ness, home of the famous but officially unverified monster.
Cottages clustered around small harbour have their gable ends
facing the sea so fishing boats can be drawn up between them
during rough weather. Easy walk along farm lanes south of village
on north side of Munlochy Bay provides views of bay and surrounding
mountains. Grave of Sir Alexander MacKenzie. Explorer of the
North West Territories of Canada, he gave his name to the MacKenzie
River. Born in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, he came to Avoch
when he retired and was buried in the old churchyard in 1820.
The village of Beauly was the Seat of the chief of the Clan
Fraser - "Maschimid" in the Gaelic. The origins of
the village lie steeped in antiquity with several Pictish vitrified
forts around the perimeter of the grounds of the ruined Valliscaullian
Priory founded by Sir John Bisset Lord of Lovat in the year
1230. Mary Queen of Scots on looking our of her window gave
Beauly its present name, exclaiming "Quel beau lieu".
It is a beautiful place indeed, having won four national awards
in the "Britain in Bloom" The main street of the village
is still dominated by the remains of the 13th-century Beauly
Priory, which contains a 16th-century monument to Sir Kenneth
Mackenzie. Nearby mud flats are home to waders and wildfowl.
Walk through Reelig Glen, 3 miles east of Beauly.
and Religion, a wee bit of history
Angling Club, information on local fishing
Shinty Club, a Sport worth seeing !!
Cawdor Castle has turreted 14th century tower with 17th-century
additions and still serves as home to Earls of Cawdor. Drawing
room has 17th century fireplace and portrait of Emma Hamilton,
Nelson's mistress. Tapestry Bedroom has Venetian bed and 17th
century tapestries portraying Biblical scenes. Three differently
styled gardens, nature trails. Castle is scene of King Duncan's
murder in Shakespeare's Macbeth. Licensed self-service restaurant.
Sea lock built here for Caledonian Canal because North Sea runs
out long way at low tide; one of great engineering achievements
of the canal-building age. Canal opened in 1822.
Cairns dating from late Stone Age surrounded by standing stone
circles and hidden by trees. Originally contained domed burial
chambers with passage entrances.
Site of last battle fought on Scottish soil. Bonnie Prince
Charlie defeated by Duke of Cumberland in 1746. Battlefield
restored to 1746 appearance. Visitor centre has audiovisual
display of battle. Farmhouse has museum containing historical
maps and relics.
Dingwall is a busy and businesslike town that serves as the
commercial centre of the area. There are shops and other tourist
facilities and the town has a railway station. The Dingwall
Museum, housed in a monument building, overlooks the town. Dingwall
was the birthplace of Macbeth, and lies at the head of the Cromarty
Terraced gardens stand in 15 acres by Loch Dochfour. Daffodils,
trees and rhododendrons; water garden and yew topiary. Kitchen
garden with soft fruit in season.
Small stone village dominated by Loch Ness Monster trade. Exhibition
centre tells of monster sightings and reveals ingenuity of searchers.
Visitor centre features film on monster history and myth. Sonar
Four-house hamlet stands by bridge over River Feshie rapids.
These rapids turn quickly to birch surrounded pools as water
makes its way through Glen Feshie.
One of finest artillery fortifications in Europe, completed
1769. Regimental museum of Queen's Own Highlanders has military
items covering period from 1778 to present day.
Cathedral, probably destroyed by Cromwell, retains some vaulting.
The cathedral was the seat of the Bishops of Ross from about
1240, when it was moved here from Rosemarkie, until the Reformation.
The cathedral was ruined from at least the 1650s when stone
was taken from it to build Oliver Cromwell's Fort in Inverness.
Hill of Fortrose has views over town and Chanonry Point.
Academy - History of Scotland Project
and Rosemarkie Golf Club. Fortrose
and Rosemarkie Golf Breaks.
Foyers Falls on eastern shore of Loch Ness. Best places to view
falls are from path through trees.
Highland 'capital' on River Ness. Castle Wynd Museum has bagpipes,
various Jacobite relics. Abertarff House in Church Street built
in 1693. St Andrew's Cathedral built l866.
Grounds of 15th-century castle contain tree garden with some
varieties unique to Britain. Nature trails, guided castle tours.
Remains of 14th-century Castle of Moy and obelisk honouring
19th-century Mackintosh chief stand on one of loch's islands.
Possibly Scotland's most famous stretch of water, renowned for
perennial tourist attraction, the Loch Ness Monster. Loch is
24 miles long, about a mile across, and up to 754ft deep. Road
from Urquhart Castle to Invermoriston runs alongside wooded
slopes of loch; viewpoints.
Town granted royal charter in 12th century. Laing Hall in King
Street houses the Fishertown Museum, which has exhibits on domestic
life of town, model boats and collection of photographs and
articles on fishing industry. Ornamental gardens just off High
Street, and walks along River Nairn. Sandy beaches popular in
summer, provide nickname, the 'Brighton of the North'. Nairn
Viaduct, 600yds long and 130ft above ground at maximum height,
built in 1898 for Highland Railway's route between Aviemore
and Inverness through Nairn Valley. Each of the 28 arches has
span of 50ft. Arch over river has span of 100ft.
Iron Age fort tops Ord Hill, over-shadowing village of small
houses along mud-and-shingle shore. Kessock Bridge replaced
ferry route across Beauly Firth. Sea trout angling, bird life
along fore-shore of firth. Walks through forest along slopes
of Ord Hill allow views of firth.
Named after Norse for 'splashing, foaming river'. Leaping salmon
can sometimes be seen from suspension bridge.
Sandstone cliffs dotted with caves face the sea and overlook
red-sandstone cottages. Groam House is small museum containing
Pictish stone. Footpath starting on road to Cromarty, just north
of village, leads along Fairy Glen to two waterfalls. Ledges
allow visitors behind falls.
Village, once Victorian health resort with sulphur springs,
now famous for doll museum housed in remains of baths complex.
Dolls, teddy bears, games and toys spanning 150 years on display,
as well as other features of Victorian nursery such as baby
clothes, lace and cradles.
is also the Eagle Stone and early 'Class 1' type stone, with
the symbols cut into a rough boulder (7th-8th.c.) It stands
on a small, possibly man-made, mound. A horse-shoe and a bird
are cut on one side.
curative properties of the sulphurated waters here were first
noted in 1772, when Dr Donald Munro gave a paper on the 'Castle
Leod Water' to the Royal Society. Their popularity took off
with the arrival of the railway in 1885. Many buildings associated
with the heyday of the spa can still be seen, including the
Spa Pavilion, pump room and gardens, which are in the process
of renovation. The waters can be tasted in the village square.
Strathpeffer is Knockfarrel Hillfort. This had substantial ramparts
made of stones with a timber frame, enclosing a large area and
making good use of the natural defences of the hill-top.. At
some time, the timber of the walls was set on fire, creating
enough heat to melt the rock. This vitrification can be seen
all around the perimeter of the fort.
Jutting out on strategic point into Loch Ness, part of this
large often-rebuilt castle ruin dates from Norman times. Blown
up in 1692 to prevent Jacobite occupation.
you would like to visit this area as part of a highly personalized
small group tour of my native Scotland please e-mail me: