Stay with us for a sustainable, low impact holiday with Coast, Forest, Mountain, Loch and Glen all within easy reach, by bike, public transport or car. We are situated on the Black Isle, surrounded by rolling farmland and woodland. Nearby are Inverness and Dingwall for transport, eating out, nightlife, entertainment and activities. A great resource for sustainable travel planning in the area is the transitionblackisle active-travel-map. We are only 20 minutes from a bus stop with regular services to Inverness so perfect for a car free holiday using public transport and/or bikes.
We are ideally located for travellers on the North Coast 500, but why not take some time to slow down and sustainably explore the Black Isle and the region. Cycling, dolphin watching, history, woodland walks and tranquil coastal villages such as Cromarty, Avoch and Rosemarkie are all close by. You can find out all about it here www.black-isle.info and scotland-inverness.co.uk/blackisle. There are so many walks throughout the Highlands we can’t list them all but here is a good site for ideas https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/lochness/
Below are a few of our favourite places we like to visit….
From the cabin, there is an easy walk to Redcastle and Beauly Firth. Taking in Black Isle scenes, distant mountains, woodlands, a ruined castle, a babbling burn, and waterside viewing spot with bird watching. You can also take a longer longer extension to Spittal wood. Takes about 45 minutes each way (add 2 hours for Spittal wood)
Walk to Monadh Mor – The Big Moor – a remnant of the extensive bog woodland which once covered the Black Isle ridge. It’s the largest area of forest bog in Scotland, and classed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Head up towards the bus stop and cross the road and head left, then you’ll come across the signpost for Monad Mhor with maps and signpost into the woodland.
We suggest people slow down and sustainably explore the Black Isle and the region rather than rushing around to see far and wide sites. Cycling, dolphin watching, history, woodland walks and tranquil coastal villages such as Cromarty, Avoch and Rosemarkie are all close by. You can find out all about it here www.black-isle.info and scotland-inverness.co.uk/blackisle. There are so many walks throughout the Highlands, a good site for ideas is https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/lochness/
Suggested Itineraries… by Car or Public Transport
The nearest bus stop is about 20 minutes walk and there are services 25 and 27 towards Inverness (on the opposite side of the road) and towards Dingwall, Strathpeffer and Contin on this side. Service 21/21A goes to Rosemarkie/Cromarty but only runs certain days of the week. The active travel map shows the cycle routes and guide times of journeys
Exploring the Black Isle
The best way to see the Black Isle by bus is to use the 21 or 21A from Tore village, by the main roundabout (note this only runs certain days of the week but the timetable for 2023 is in the folder) or go into Inverness for buses to Cromarty/Fortrose.
Nearby is Rosemarkie, with its idyllic beach, rock pools and caves, you can also walk from here to the magical Fairy Glen, and down the beach to Chanonry point for dolphin watching (we advise avoiding the car park at Chanonry Point as it gets very busy in summer).
While at Rosemarkie we recommend a visit to Groam House Museum for local and Pictish history. Eat and drink at Crofters Bistro, lovely food and atmosphere on the waterfront and The Plough Inn, good old fashioned pub usually with Cromarty Ales on tap. You can also explore Fortrose, which has a lovely restaurant and deli, IV10, and the Anderson Bar. Take a look at the ruined Cathedral. Visit Cromarty (for lunch we suggest Sutor Creek, a really nice restaurant with local, seasonal menu, or the Fishertown Inn, and explore the quaint streets of this seaside harbour town. Avoch is a nice little seaside village with a harbour and Harbour Fish and Chips, get your fish supper and take a seat on the picnic benches by the small garden, a lovely spot with views across the firth!
Further round the Black Isle is RSPB Udale Bay for wildlife. For gardeners and plant lovers, you must visit Poyntzfield herb nursery, an amazing place for organic, biodynamic plants (where we have got a lot of our forest garden plants from!).
Brahan Estate and Maryburgh (Bus 25/27 towards Dingwall/Contin)
Ask to get off at Maryburgh, and then walk to nearby Brahan estate for woodland and riverside walks, and maybe a pint and pub food at The Cottage, Maryburgh, a friendly local pub which has a lovely garden.
Strathpeffer, Blackmuir Wood and Knockfarrel Hill Fort (Bus 25/27 towards Dingwall/Contin)
Take a bus or cycle to Strathpepper and walk from Blackmuir wood to Knockfarrel Hill Fort along The Cats Back, see the Touchstone labyrinth, through woodland There is a nice little cafe at the old railway station or the deli on the square.
North Kessock and Ord Hill
You can bus or cycle to North Kessock and then underneath the A9 to get to Ord Hill, atop which are the ruins of an ancient Pictish Hill fort. See the Black Isle Active travel map for the routes.
Culture, Food and Nightlife are a bus ride away in Inverness for nights out, delicious local food and drink and history. Spend a day exploring Inverness Museum & Art Gallery and Brown’s Gallery, take a pit stop at the Castle Tavern beer garden, walk along Ness Bank to the Cathedral and Eden Court arts centre. Interesting architecture around the Old town, with Leakey’s bookshop, live music at MacGregor’s Bar, one of our favourite bars, the Sunday music session is brilliant and the food very good. Also the Black Isle Bar, for great pizza, organic beer and an amazing rooftop ‘secret garden’. The Mustard Seed, a favourite spot for a special occasion, has a good value set lunch and early bird evening menu. Walk up St Stephens Brae for a good choice of cafes and restaurants, including Girvan’s for cake and coffee, or further up the hill for Velocity Cafe (and bike repair shop) and WASPS Creative Academy, which also has a cafe with art on display. Stroll out to the Caledonian canal and visit the pub garden at Clachnaharry Inn. Or you could check out the newly opened Victorian Market food hall for a range of cafes and food stalls (such as the vegan Salt’n’Fire and Bad Girl Bakery), the website also has details of some music events they are holding. Also worth checking out in Inverness are Blend cafe and the new vegan Culture Cafe.
Loch Ness/Glen Affric
From Inverness, bus or walk to Dores, along Loch Ness shores with nice views down the Glen, and lunch at the Dores Inn. By car, Craigmonnie woods just outside Drumnadrochit is lovely, see Loch Ness 360 maps. Reelig Glen is also amazing for tall trees and lush green riverside walks.
If you are going further afield, there are so many options whichever direction or means of transport you choose, but some ideas… Beaches at Nairn, Dornoch, Portmahomack, Wilds of Glen Affric and Cairngorms National Park, Highland Folk Museum. Coach day trip to Ullapool, lunch at Seafood shack, An Talla Solais for exhibitions and crafts. Attadale gardens and Plockton make a lovely day trip by train. There is a nice woodland at Evanton community wood and there you can visit the Black Gorge.