The Black Isle

The Black Isle is neither black nor an island, but a peninsula with an 80-mile coastline in a compact area.

It is a region of rich farmland and woodland with historic towns and villages and a coastline that demands to be walked for its beauty and its wildlife.  Tourists are drawn to the Black Isle to observe bottle-nosed dolphins close up, but eventually they leave hoping to return, thanks to a sense of being part of a vibrant community with a strong culture and a fascinating history.

The Black Isle Tourism Team has identified the Black Isle as where you “Savour the Unexpected” and embrace the concept of slow tourism.  Climatically the Black Isle is softer, drier and “midge free” compared to the west coast. It is certainly somewhere you need to stay awhile to fully appreciate all that it has to offer.

To be enjoyed are some fine restaurants and cafes, specialist food shops, a historic golf course, famous geological sites, views as far as the Cairngorms, and you are never far from the sea. The Black Isle has a summer ferry link across the mouth of the Cromarty Firth from Cromarty, a small town with historical connections and fine houses reflecting its wealth as a port in the 1800s.

The Black Isle has numerous minor roads that provide a network for cyclists and there are mountain bike trails too.  The Black Isle is “bicycle sized”.  The footpath network is extensive, especially in woodlands and plantations, and in the grounds of country estates.   A popular walk is to head north of Rosemarkie on the beach, and if the tide permits you can pass the bluff at Scart Craig without getting your feet wet, while marveling at the multi-coloured rocks by the shore.

The beach at Rosemarkie is popular with young families as is the gentle countryside of the Black Isle.  Above all, the Black Isle is for people who understand, and have the time to accept, that the more you explore the richer is the experience. The Black Isle is not to be rushed.

A free tourism map packed full of useful information is available at many of the shops and eateries.

Images on this page © Julian Paren (cc-by-sa/2.0)