Day 89 The Black Isle (Part 1)

Friday 3 July 2015

Inverness to Fortrose

10 miles

Fortrose Caravan Park

I was up early as it was so hot and the man in the bunk next to mine (mixed rooms these days!) snored like a train. I took some time to catch up on the blog and then headed out for a quick breakfast in town on the way to the Kessock Bridge. Unfortunately the cycle route by the River Ness was shut owing to work being carried out so I was relegated to the footpath by the side of the main roads through an industrial park.  

 The Kessock Bridge crosses the narrow section of water that splits the Beauly Firth from the Moray Firth. It was opened in 1982 by the Queen Mother and looks like a modern bridge. The views up the river into the mountains were great and some of the mountains still had snow on them.  

What a view of Beauly Firth, and those mountains have snow on them!
 Once over the bridge I was in the Black Isle and the countryside. Initially there was a road and then a path (sort of) along the side of the Moray Firth to Kilmuir. 

Looking back at Kessock Bridge

  Just after this village the path disappeared and I found myself negotiating a steep hillside covered in gorse and ferns. It was incredibly frustrating as the map said there should be a path and the tracks I found kept leading to nowhere. I was going up and down the same hillside constantly being trapped. At one point I found 2 enormous houses with a road/track that linked them, but no matter where I looked I could not find the road out. Ridiculous. Perhaps the owners arrive by helicopter? Eventually I made it out to a minor road and then on tracks down to a large inlet called Munlochy Bay. Again the tracks were fading on me as it looks like no one drives down them so they become blocked with gorse and nettles. I made it into a field that was obviously used by cows and was also quite boggy. Wading through a boggy cowpat is quite slow going and I was glad I didn’t see any cows.  

Munlochy Bay, the Moray Firth beyond
 I finally made it to the main road, which was almost worse as it was rather busy and narrow and there wasn’t a pavement so the cars had to move out to avoid me. 

By the time I got to Munlochy it was 2.15 pm and I needed a break as the weather was very hot and sunny (I was glad of that hat!).  

Glad of my new hat in the sunshine
 I stopped at the first pub I came to and sat inside to cool down. The barman kept topping up my soft drink as I looked like I needed it. I was conscious time was pushing on and I still had a way to go. As I walked up the main street a bus arrived labelled Fortrose and stopped right by me. I thought this was fate so I got in it and arrived at Fortrose about 10 minutes later. 

Fortrose is a very small town at the head of the peninsula that leads to Chanonry Point, dolphin-watching territory. Despite its small size it has a ruined cathedral that was built in the 1200s and sacked in the Reformation. It was quite an important place as it housed the Bishop of the Diocese of Ross, which covered a lot of North Scotland, and a ‘town of clergymen’ built around it.  

The Fortrose Cathedral
 I found my campsite, pitched my tent and relaxed in the sunshine for a bit while my washing dried. No Dolphins this afternoon as the wind has increased and the Firth has become choppier the last couple of afternoons. 

The campsite owner booked me into the local restaurant, Eilean Dubh, for dinner as it’s won some awards and is highly recommended. It was definitely worth going; locally sourced food and the best sticky toffee pudding I’ve ever eaten.  

Chanonry Point in the evening sunshine walking back to the campsite

3 thoughts on “Day 89 The Black Isle (Part 1)

  1. jomunday99 July 3, 2015 / 8:47 pm

    Has your new tent arrived yet? I’m sure it’s hard going with that pack in the heat – glad you’re finding some buses. Sounds as though there’s loads of interesting stuff to see in the area. Envious of you being outside!


  2. vaneesaa July 4, 2015 / 6:22 am

    Enjoy that sunshine…. It wont be long til you will be walking in the snow!!!
    Photos look amazing as always and what a joy to watch the dolphins….x


  3. Chris Frazer July 4, 2015 / 8:00 am

    Nice hat Miss N……lovely phots as always. You certainly are seeing the highlands at their beautiful best .
    I hope Sun Block was also purchased in Inverness. …..that usually puts pay to the sunshine..
    One foot in front of the other….use a compass instead of following the map religiously that way you won’t waste time and energy looking for paths that no longer exist……..buses get my vote!!
    Be safe my friend and try to think of the best Sticky Toffee Pudding you have ever eaten…..


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