A peninsula of land surrounded by water on three sides. These are the Cromarty, Moray and Beauly Firths, with the Conon and Beauly rivers meandering down the western edge of The Black Isle. There are quaint towns and villages, like Fortrose, Rosemarkie and Cromarty. Whilst the area is best known for its rich farmland and The Black Isle Show, the region has a great deal of history and the opportunities to enjoy the diverse wildlife are endless
There are museums to enjoy, whiskey distilleries to visit and wildlife species to discover. These could include The Cromarty Courthouse, Hugh Miller's Cottage and Museum and The Groam House Museum, The Black Isle Brewery and Glen Ord Whiskey Distillery in Muir of Ord. Chanonry Point at Fortrose and Rosemarkie, one of the best places to spot bottlenose dolphins in Europe (shown below). RSPB reserves can be found at both Fairy Glen by Rosemarkie (see below) and Udale Bay further north. In addition, there are opportunities to see deer, osprey, otters, seals and Scots Pine.
In terms of sites of castles in The Black Isle, visitors to the area are able to visit Castlecraig, Redcastle and Kilcoy. There are also the remains of a cathedral (see below) at Fortrose. Large areas of woodland exist in The Black Isle managed by The Forestry Commission of Scotland. These include, Munlochy Clootie Well, Monadh Mor, Culbokie Woods and Learnie Red Rocks. A great mix of woodland, farmland and water means that the area is excellent for discovering both plants and animals.
Highfield House is situated at the very start of the North Coast 500 Route (NC500). It is an excellent stop off point for those wanting to further explore northern Scotland. Many will spend 3-5 days in the area before they head further north along the NC500. The route covers a total distance of just over 500 miles. The stunning scenery takes you through Wester Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, Easter Ross, The Black Isle and Invernes-shire.
There is the opportunity to do horse riding at the Chapelton Equestrian Centre nearby. Muir of Ord has a good range of facilities, including a doctors' surgery, a pharmacy, a butchers and bakers, two small grocery shops, a garage, post office and a golf course that is part of the James Braid Trail.
The pleasant town of Beauly (Beauly Priory shown below) is 4-5 miles to the south, with the historic villages of Fortrose, Rosemarkie and Cromarty (Hugh Miller's Cottage and the Cromarty Courthouse shown below) not too far away either.
Inverness is a great city to spend a couple of days exploring. Inverness Castle, The Botanic Gardens and Museum/Art Gallery are worth visiting. The Victorian Market and St Andrew's Cathedral are other notable attractions. Numerous bars and restaurants can be found by the river in the town centre. In terms of historical interest, there is Clava Cairns from The Bronze Age and The Culloden Battlefield to go and see. This was the scene of the final Jacobite Risings. Further to the east is Fort George, the 18th Century fortress near Ardesier. Its purpose was to control the Scottish Highlands after The Jacobite Rising of 1745. To this day it has never been attacked and is still used as a garrison. To the south is Loch Ness where it is worth visiting Urquhart Castle and also The Loch Ness Visitor Centre. This area of water still holds the largest volume of freshwater in the British Isles.
A Golfing Holiday
The region has a large number of world class golf courses. Within an hour of the property you will be truly spoilt for choice. There are links, heathland and parkland courses to choose from. Renowned golf course designers, such as James Braid and Old Tom Morris designed many of the courses . They have stood the test of time even with the advances in golf equipment. Details on the various courses can be found here.
Sampling the whisky distilleries...
The Highlands has a large number of whisky distilleries to visit. The spread of distilleries in the region spreads far and wide. It stretches from Orkney in the north, to The Isle of arran in the south. There are many more on Speyside and furtherafield into Aberdeenshire. With a total of 47 and the oldest being Glenturret from 1775, you'll be truly spoilt for choice. The characteristics of the whisky varies from region to region. More information can be found at the following link...
Trout fishing exists in Strathconon and Easter Ross. The river Conon and Alness provide the best opportunities. South Eastern Sutherland near Dornoch also provides good trout fishing. Both the river Beauly and Conon offer Salmon fishing. The Conon system includes a number of tributaries, such as The Blackwater. There are numerous lochs as well, for example Glascarnoch or Fannich. Permits are available in summer season, but not in the off season. The following link has some greatinfo on fishing in Scotland...
Muir of Ord train station is half a mile from the house. From here you can embark to enjoy the scenic route to Kyle of Localsh. You'll be able to see the Torridon Peaks and Ben Wyvis. This is an isolated mountain that you can see between Muir of Ord and Dingwall. Plockton (see below) is a popular stopping point as are Attadale Gardens. More can be found at www.scenicrailbritain.com/lines/inverness-kyle-lochalsh.
The Isle of Skye is a wonderful place to visit. By car its 1.5 hours from the house to the bridge. Some of the attactions include The Fairy Pools, The Quiraing, Old Man of Storr and The Cuillin Mountains. Furtherafield, there are ferry routes to The Outer Hebridies and other islands from Ullapool and Uig. The photos below show a recent visit to The Isle of Skye, Lewis & Harris...
Hiking and Cycling
There are some great walking routes on The Black Isle. The choice is endless with coastal, woodland, scenic villages or walks exploring archaelogical remains.. The Black Isle is alsoa paradise for keen cyclists. There are numerous quiet roads and tracks that meander across the peninsula. The Beauly Firth loop is a very popular route and there are places to hire bikes from during the summer season. More information can be found at www.black-isle.info.
Some cycling ideas for The Highlands can be found here
Opportunities to go skiing in the winter months can be found in The Cairngorms. The Cairngorm Mountain and The Lecht resorts are 50 minutes and 1 hour thirty minutes respectively. Ski rental and mountain sports instruction classes are available for all levels. Aviemore offers year round activities and there are numerous places to eat and drink in the town. Below is some information on the two resorts. Lecht is great for beginners and kids to learn how to ski. For more info see the links below.
This is based in Carrbridge, which is around 50 minutes south of Inverness along the A9. Its a wonderful place to take the family for the climbing, water rides, woodland walks, see the butterfly house and explore the dinosaur kingdom. I'd highly recommned visiting.