Fortrose and Rosemarkie are two small towns a mile apart on the Black Isle in Ross and Cromarty, in the Scottish Highlands. Between them, Chanonry Point projects into the Moray Firth, where dolphins are often seen. "Chanonry" refers to canons or priests, and there was a monastery hereabouts in the Pictish era.
Fortrose and Rosemarkie are on the A832 on the south shore of the Black Isle. From Inverness, take A9 north and turn right onto A832 at the Tore roundabout, allow about 40 mins.
Stagecoach Highlands Bus 26 runs from Inverness via Munlochy and Avoch to Fortrose, taking 30 mins, hourly M-Sa 07:00-18:00. Alternate buses daily continue to Rosemarkie and Cromarty.
It's a 30 min walk between Fortrose, Rosemarkie and Chanonry Point.
- 1 Chanonry Point, end of Ness Rd, Fortrose IV10 8SD. Pretty spot at the end of the Chanonry Ness. There's a working lighthouse, picnic area and views across the Moray Firth. It's also a popular spot for wildlife viewing and is considered one of the best places in the UK to view bottlenose dolphins. Free.
- 2 Fortrose Cathedral, Cathedral Square (seaward side of High St between Academy St and Union St). First built around 1250 AD, the cathedral was the center of medieval Fortrose. Not all of the building remains now, but it still retains a measure of its impressive stature.
- 3 Groam House Museum, High St, Rosemarkie IV10 8UF, ☎ . Local museum focusing on the Pictish and Celtic history and artifacts of the area. Has both exhibits and multimedia presentations.
- 1 Dolphin Trips Avoch, Harbour Office Pierhead, Avoch IV9 8PT, ☎ . Small operator offering wildlife viewing trips on the Moray Firth, including otters, seals, porpoises and the main attraction — the bottlenose dolphins. Reviewers indicate the skipper is very knowledgeable and the small boat makes for good viewing. Trips are one hour and sailing times vary depending on weather, tides and demand. £16, child 3-12 £10.
- 2 Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Club, Ness Rd E, Fortrose IV10 8SE, ☎ . Founded in 1793, this links-style course is reputed to be the fifteenth oldest recorded golf club in the world. Its fast greens, tight fairways and strategically placed bunkers make for a challenging round, while its location on Chanonry Ness with the lighthouse and passing dolphins provide a nice setting. £55 mid Mar-Oct, £30 Nov-early Mar; weekdays £5 cheaper.
- 3 Rosemarkie Beach, Marine Terrace, Rosemarkie (limited parking is available at Mill St & Marine Terrace). Sandy beach that is popular with walkers and has views across to Fort George. The beach runs for a couple of miles to Chanonry Point.
- Fairy Glen is an RSPB reserve along the stream that flows out at Rosemarkie. Stroll the half-mile to the falls.
- 4 The Cromarty Brewing Company, Davidston, Cromarty, IV11 8XD, ☎ . A family run brewery. Offers tours.
There's a Co-op in Fortrose and a Spar in Rosemarkie.
- 1 Crofters Bistro (Crofters), 11 Marine Terrace, Rosemarkie IV10 8UL (corner of Hawkhill Rd & Marine Terrace), ☎ . W-F noon-2:30PM 5PM-8PM, Sa-Su 9:30AM-3PM 5PM-8:30PM. Bistro close to the beach with a varied menu that includes meat, fish, a couple of curries, tapas and vegetarian options. There's also a sandwich menu if you're looking for a lighter meal. Eat inside or enjoy the view from the outdoor BBQ garden. The drink selection includes Scottish aged whiskies and local beer from Cromarty Brewing. Breakfast £4-6, dinner mains £13-17.
- 2 The Eilean Dubh, 18 High St, Fortrose IV10 8SX (corner of High & Academy St), ☎ . M-W 11AM-8PM, F-Sa 11AM-9PM, Su noon-5PM. Menu with locally-sourced meat and fish dishes, as well as some pasta and vegetarian choices. Breakfast £3-8, dinner mains £14-23.
- 3 Rosemarkie Beach Cafe, on the beach north of Mill St & Marine Terrace, Rosemarkie. Apr-Oct 10:30AM-3:30PM daily, Nov-Mar 10:30AM-3:30PM Sa & Su only. Community-run cafe on Rosemarkie Beach. Coffee, soup, burgers, home-baked goods and Italian ice cream. There's also a children's play area and tennis courts nearby.
- Union Tavern 29 High St Fortrose is open daily 10:00-23:00.
- 1 The Anderson Hotel, Union St Fortrose IV10 8TD (corner with High St), ☎ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Nine room hotel above a restaurant and bar. The building was predominantly built in the mid-1800s and retains much of its character. The single and double rooms include ensuite bathrooms and TVs, and have some antique decor. B&B double from £50.
- 2 Fortrose Bay Campsite, Wester Greengates, Fortrose IV10 8RX, ☎ , ✉ email@example.com. Campground next to a pebble beach on the western side of Chanonry Ness that accommodates tenters and camper vans. Electrical hookups are available and there are showers, two toilet blocks and a kitchen and laundry area. Reviewers indicate the views are excellent, the new shower block is clean and has ample space, but the wind off the water can be strong at times. Open April through the end of October. £18-37.50 depending location of tent and size of pitch (seafront costs more than the back). Prices £5 cheaper outside of July and Aug. Wifi is £2.50/day.
- Dingwall is close to a nature reserve with red kites. The Glen Ord Distillery is in nearby Muir of Ord. Dingwall has trains between Inverness, Thurso and Kyle of Lochalsh.
- Strathpeffer is a spa village with hiking and mountain biking trails.
- Gairloch is a seaside resort on the west coast with beaches, plenty of fine scenery and close to the Inverewe Gardens.