For general Black Isle information including accommodation, attractions, activities, history and events, visit www.black-isle.info
Why is it called the Black Isle? Multi-award-winning author Ali Smith, born and brought up in Inverness, says “The Black Isle isn’t an isle at all; it’s an isthmus, a peninsula, nearly ten miles wide, over twenty miles long, just north of Inverness. Is it called the Black Isle because of the colour of its good dark farming soil? Or because of something to do with black magic and witchcraft? Or because at certain times of the year, if you look at it from across the other side of the Moray Firth, it looks a deep black colour? Black’s not the only colour the Black Isle goes; one hot and perfect summer I saw richer purples and deeper golds in the fields of the Black Isle than I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world.
When I visit I see its sheer impossible versatility, its cliffs and moors and beaches and woods and marshes and heaths, how it’s studded in its beautiful little bays with village after village protected by the dolphins and seals in the firths, and strung between a faerie glen, a tree above a well where the people in the know come to hang rags so that what they want will come true…”
Sounds amazing? It is! Read the whole Ali Smith article here.
Guardian newspaper food writer Matthew Fort wrote in praise of the food and drink of the area (and just how lovely it is too): read the first article about his discoveries here and the second installment here.
Natural Black Isle
- Thousands of visitors each year are thrilled by the dolphin acrobatics at Chanonry Point and North Kessock. Find out more at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society’s Dolphin and Seal Visitor Centre at North Kessock or with Moray Dolphins. You can even adopt a dolphin with the WDCS.
- The Black Isle has two very special RSPB reserves, Udale Bay and Fairy Glen. Which species will you spot there?
- There are great walks in the area, for all levels of fitness. Check the excellent WalkHighlands site for inspiration.
History and Archaeology
- Cromarty Courthouse Museum, in an elegant A-listed building from 1773, houses free exhibitions about this historic town.
- Find out about Pictish and Celtic culture at Groam House Museum in Rosemarkie.
- Who was Hugh Miller and what did he and Charles Darwin argue about? The National Trust for Scotland’s Hugh Miller’s Birthplace Cottage and Museum in Cromarty can tell you.
- To find out about the “tree above a well where the people in the know come to hang rags so that what they want will come true” make your way to the Clootie Well near Munlochy. Maybe your wishes will come true too…
- Check out www.black-isle.info for a calendar of local events.
- Live music? Theatre? Exhibitions? Check out what’s on at The Stables in Cromarty.
- Explore fantastic MTB trails for all levels at Learnie Red Rocks, with the best views ever.
- Have fun with laser tag, paintball and archery at WildWoodz, by Munlochy.
- Follow the historic King’s Route on the ferry from Cromarty to Nigg (June – September only).
- Black Isle Wildlife Park: home to an array of native and exotic animals. Great for children.
- EcoVentures: fascinating wildlife watching adventures in the Moray Firth.
- Avoch Dolphin Trips: Daily sailings from picturesque Avoch Harbour.
- Are you a golfer? Try the renowned links course of Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Club, and you might even see the dolphins while you tee off. There’s another great local course at Muir of Ord Golf Club.
- Inverness is just a short journey away. Check out what’s on in Scotland’s fastest-growing city here.
- Want some more adventure? Check out open canoeing, river kayaking, sea kayaking and white water rafting across the area from Inverness’s Explore Highlands