Explore the Wild Corners of Highlands on a Road Trip through Black Isle

things to do black isle _Fairy Glen

The Black Isle is a peninsula in the northern part of Scotland. It is famous for its natural environment, with spectacular mountains, and wilderness. Black Isle is home to some of the most beautiful hidden gems of the Highlands. For those looking for things to do on Black Isle, there are many activities they can enjoy right here at the doorstep of the NC500 route wilderness.

 

9 Unusual Things to Do in the Black Isle 

Black Isle has the most beautiful scenery and offers plenty of activities for visitors. From watching basking dolphins, exploring the wild glens to visiting some eerie places. If you are looking for something different to do in the Black Isle, here are some unusual things you can do:

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Visit Clootie Well

The Clootie Well is a natural spring located in the village of Munlochy. The water from the well has been used for centuries for healing purposes. The well attracted a social pilgrimage of locals who were hoping for a good year ahead.

The legend goes that if you tie a piece of cloth to the well, your wish will come true. People have also tied pieces of cloth with messages on them to the well. Read the article about the history of Clootie Well.

 

The Clootie Well

The Clootie Well

 

Explore Fairy Glen

This is a nice scenic walk with two attractive waterfalls on your way. This forest glen is rich in history, and in the past, there was the Fairy Glen’s annual well dressing ceremony. Here children of the village would decorate a pool next to a natural spring with flowers.

This was said to ensure that the fairies kept the water supply clean. It’s a fantastic walk to see the waterfall and the money tree where hundreds of old coins have been hammered into it as offerings.

The Fairy Glen has become associated with descriptions in  Hugh Miller’s writings who shared a local landscape and tradition in his essays. 

 

 

It is sometimes a little muddy in places and I recommend wearing suitable footwear.  That said it’s an easy walk, but please be careful not to trip on exposed tree roots, there are many.

In the section close to waterfalls the path becomes a bit steep & shallow, and there are a few steps up with handrails. The distance is around 3km / 1.75 miles which walking leisurely takes around 1 hour.

The car park is not really big, and it can be busy because the glen is popular with locals and dog walkers. You can also access the path directly from the beach, just around the corner of Beach Cafe

 

Drink in Nature

Located on 130 acres of organic farmland in a small village in Highlands, the award-winning Black Isle is a microbrewery run by passionate people with a commitment to producing beers made with 100% organic ingredients. 

Small farm alone has increased biodiversity through planting over 7000 native broadleaf trees, reinstating hedgerows, creating wetlands, and dug ponds. The brewery’s philosophy has similarly remained the same – developing high-quality beer whilst maintaining an environmental focus.

 

Taste a Whisky Glen Ord

The land surrounding Glen Ord distillery was the property of the MacKenzie family for nearly 700 years before Thomas MacKenzie decided to open his own distillery there in 1838.

Today, Glen Ord is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland and shares this fascinating history with visitors who want to taste this legendary whisky. Glen Ord continues to malt its own barley and to use the long fermentation and slow distillation methods that have been used for generations.

The Singleton, a rich, smooth-tasting, well-balanced whisky, is the only remaining single malt Scotch whisky distillery on the Black Isle. 

Directions by car: The Glen Ord Distillery is situated 15 miles west of Inverness in the village of Muir of Ord. 

Directions by bus: The Distillery can be reached by Stagecoach bus number 28.

Directions by train: Trains travel from Inverness train station to Muir of Ord train station, a 10-minute walk away from the Distillery.

 

Stay in a Shepherd’s Hut

Staying in Shepherd’s hut hand-built with dead trees from the farm where you’ll be staying sounds really special. You can enjoy Black Isle life at its best thanks to this place!.

Shephards Hut overlooks beautiful fields that are likely inhabited by lots of horses, sheep, and cows. Perfect scenery to keep you entertained! This bolthole is an eco-friendly hut that blends into its surroundings with natural materials.

it has been designed exclusively with couples in mind. It provides the ideal sanctuary to escape the stresses of your everyday life

 

Map of Black Isle attractions 

 

Admire Historical treasures

 

Fortrose Cathedral 

The oldest part of the present ruins at red stone Fortrose Cathedral date from the 1300s. The Cathedral is part of Historic Scotland and is free to visit

You should go see Groam House Museum in Rosemarkie; it’s the only museum in Scotland that houses Pictish stones. If you’re into interlaced designs and knotwork (which I know you are), then this could be the best place for you to visit! 

Beauly Priory 

In the wee town of Beauly here are the ancient ruins of Beauly Priory. These uniquely forested ruins are that of a 1230 church ad graveyard, founded by monks. It’s a short, almost-eerie walk through the abbey, and it’s completely free of charge to visit. Make this one of your first spots!

Kirkmichael Trust

Just beside the village of Balblair is the stunning conservation project of the Kirkmichael Trust, which are busy repairing the ancient and once derelict and dangerous buildings here. The museum will show you some of the most beautiful headstones in the highlands – these are all well-kept and have a unique story to tell. 

 

Wildlife Watching 

Among things to do at Black Isle is to watch the abundance of wildlife. Dolphins, porpoises, seals, herons, gannets and ospreys are a wide variety of wildlife to see in the area.

Fairy Glen has a long-established semi-natural broadleaf woodland in a steep-sided glen which supports a fine assemblage of plants and local birds.  

In Udale Bay, RSPB said from late summer to April you can see thousands of wildfowl and wading birds here. Come an hour or two on either side of high tide to be rewarded with spectacular views of flocks of flying birds. In autumn up to 5,000 wigeons feed here, while if you want to see an osprey fishing in the water, late summer is the time to come. 

It’s well worth a walk along the beach to Chanonry Point between Fortrose and Rosemarkie for the best land-based dolphin watching in the UK (on a rising tide.) The main viewing area is on a shingle, the stony beach behind the lighthouse, which can be accessed by walking along the beach (tide permitting) or along the path near the entrance to the car park.

You can save whales and dolphins by donating or adopting and helping to fight for a world where every whale and dolphin is safe and free.

 

 

Go on a boat trip around the coastline

To see the most famous residents – Bottlenose Dolphins, the best is to take a boat trip with EcoVentures. The unique thrill of sharing the scenery, wildlife, and history that make this area so very special. The company is owned and operated by local skipper Sarah, who has nearly 20 years of experience running trips in these waters. Eco Ventures is an accredited operator with the Dolphin Space Program, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the local marine environment.

 

things to do black isle

Information Board

 

What time of year should you visit the Black Isle?

You can visit Black Isle all year round. The best time to visit is during off-peak months, as NC500 is very popular during peak season. Watch out for dolphins if you’re visiting between May and September. I would recommend the shoulder months, of April, May and September, for the best experience

 

Further Tips for Driving the North Coast 500

Though many NC500 travellers spend one night in 2-3 different locations as they travel the route, many visitors opt to establish themselves in about 3 locations. This gives you time to see more without feeling like you’re moving every day.

So Black Isle is a perfect base to explore this area of Highlands and I would suggest staying for a minimum of 2 nights to really explore the region. it could be also combined as a day trip from Inverness.

When you book your accommodation based on preference points categorized by the destination, you are given enough time to explore each area. You’ll have so much free time that it will allow you to go on excursions in the area, spend more time with locals, and try out new activities.

This will also give you the chance to explore more on foot rather than just by car. This is a popular option for visitors who want to explore more hidden gems of the North Coast 500 route and want to know the Highlands better.

About me
Scotland Itinerary planning

My name is Kate and I created Scotland Itinerary Planning to give you those life-changing experiences right in the beautiful country I call home.

I’m proud to live in Edinburgh, Scotland, one of the world’s most beautiful capital cities. Living in Edinburgh has provided me a base to explore extensively around this magical little country.

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