The Black Isle and Dolphins at Chanonry Point

The Black Isle and Dolphins at Chanonry Point, explore this bonnie peninsula, full of great & varied locations. A mixture of ‘old wordly’ towns, spiritual locations, historical locations, world explorers, scenic walks and much more!

The Black Isle and Dolphins at Chanonry Point

Driving along the coast of the Beauly Firth, your first stop on the The Black Isle and Dolphins at Chanonry Point day out is the beautiful town of Beauly.

beauly priory

Beauly is a stunning town situated round a main square and the Priory ruins which dates back to early 13th century. The Priory is a magnificent structure and several intricate details remain intact. A graveyard surrounds the priory which also boasts an 800 year old Elm tree, thought to be the oldest in Europe. It is said Mary Queen of Scots who exclaimed ‘C’est un beau lieu’ meaning,what a beautiful place, which became Beauly. This was her reaction upon staying in Beauly in the 16th century. Now continuing through Muir of Ord (Glen Ord distillery) and round the firth you’ll arrive at the Clootie Well.

clootie well

A place of pilgrimage in Celtic areas. This Clootie Well beside Munlochy is full of vibrant colours from pieces of cloth or cloots that have been tied to the trees surrounding the well. Clootie wells or springs generally have a large tree next to them, allowing the strips of cloth to be tied to them, which helps the healing process. This Clootie Well near Munlochy is an ancient spring dedicated to the Saint Curidan, it was thought this well had the power to cure sick children if left there overnight. Nowadays visitors dip the strip of cloth into the sping’s water and tie to to the tree whilst saying a prayer. Next stop the ‘old worldy’ town of Cromarty, a jewel of The Black Isle.

the black isle

The views that can be enjoyed across The Black Isle enroute to Cromarty are simply spectacular.

hugh miller cottage

The ‘old wordly’ town of Cromarty is a seaport on the southern shore of the Cromarty Firth. The town grew around the port originally used by ferries and trawlers to export goods. Cromarty harbour was also a naval base during the first World War. Cromarty is architecturally important for its Georgian merchant houses that stand within a townscape of Georgian and Victorian fisherman’s cottages in the local vernacular style. The thatched cottage where Scottish geologist and writer Hugh Miller was born still stands, inside an exhibition outlines his fasinating life. Other places to visit in Cromarty are the Courthouse and the ‘Pirate Graves’. Next is Rosemarkie and the Fairy Glen.

the fairy glen

Rosemarkie has arguably the best beach in Inverness-Shire and it gets very busy when we have good weather. A wonderful place to visit here is The Fairy Glen. An easy walk up a delightful wooded glen, with two attractive waterfalls. The Fairy Glen was once the scene of a well-dressing ceremony, where the children of the village decorated a pool, next to a spring, with flowers. This was said to ensure that the fairies kept the water supply clean. Now you’ll pop along the road to Fortrose, visiting Groam House and Chanonry Point.

groam house

Groam House museum is an outstanding centre for Pictish and Celtic Art in Ross-shire. The unique display is focused on 15 carved Pictish stones which all originated in the village, an important centre of early Christianity. The sculptures are amongst the works of Pictish Art that inspired George Bain, the ‘father of modern Celtic design’, most of whose surviving artwork is in the care of the museum. The George Bain Collection has been awarded the status of a Recognised Collection of National Significance by Museums Galleries Scotland, the first and only one in the Highlands. The pride of the permanent display is the magnificent Rosemarkie cross-slab, decorated with enigmatic Pictish symbols and Christian crosses. Now it’s time to spot dolphins at Chanonry Point.

The Black Isle and Dolphins at Chanonry Point

Chanonry Point on the Black Isle is one of the best places in the UK to see Bottlenose dolphins. An incoming tide is best when they fish and play with the currents. Also here the death of the Brahan Seer, who famously predicted future events in the Highlands, is commemorated by a memorial stone close to where it is thought he was executed. Next during The Black Isle and Dolphins at Chanonry Point day we visit a world famous canoeist, Sir Alexander Mackenzie!

sir alexander mackenzie fortrose

Sir Alexander Mackenzie is buried in Avoch. Originally from Stornoway he emigrated to America and settled in central Canada, from which he staged two expeditions, one in 1789 to the Atlantic Ocean, the other to the Pacific Ocean in 1793. His trip to the Pacific Ocean was 3,000km by canoe and hiking, due to his success in reaching Bella Coola, British Columbia is part of Canada today. He was knighted in 1802 to recognise the achievments of him and his men. Time to quench your thirst at The Black Isle Brewery.

black isle brewery

The Black Isle Micro Brewery produces a variety of organic beers and ales, they sell the products in supermarkets and export their products world wide. Every September they hold a ‘Jocktoberfest’ which is a fantastic day out with a fun, relaxed atmosphere. This is a great place to take a tour and sample top quality beer. The Black Isle and Dolphins at Chanonry Point day takes you back to Inverness via the Kessock Bridge, a 30+ year old suspension bridge.

the kessock bridge

The Brahan Seer features during this tour, read about him on my blog.