Lying to the north of Inverness, the Black Isle has long been known for its productive agricultural land and fishing villages. Today, the Black Isle is a popular tourism beauty spot, steeped in history and tradition, with a string of lovely villages. There are lots of wonderful things to see and do in the area – some highlights of the area include the well-known Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Course, the famous dolphin watching spot at Chanonry Point, the Fairy Glen nature reserve, picturesque Rosemarkie Beach and the historic village of Cromarty.
The Black Isle is compact and distinctive being just twenty three miles long by nine miles wide at its broadest point. The origins of its name are now lost in the mists of time but there are several competing theories for the Black Isle, or an t-Eilean Dubh in Scottish Gaelic. The most likely, and prosaic, explanation is that ‘black’ refers to the rich, black coloured soil that has proven so productive for countless generations of farmers. Roughly oval in shape, the Black Isle can be reached from the main A9 road when travelling from the north or south and via the A832 from the west. Conon Bridge is the first village on the Black Isle from the north west, with Muir of Ord and Beauly delineating the remainder of the boundary.
Other major towns and villages on the Black Isle include Cromarty, Munlochy, Avoch, Rosemarkie, Fortrose, Tore, North Kessock and Culbokie. We have a wide range of self-catering from holiday cottages and apartments to log cabins, all ideal for exploring the delights of the surrounding area as well as the wider Highland region.
Because of its rich farming land the Black Isle was one of the first places subjected to the Highland Clearances and was resettled by sheep farmers. However, there is evidence of the area being occupied for thousands of years. The remains of a crannog at Redcastle and several cairns dotted across the Black Isle indicate the peninsula has been home to people as far back as 1900 BC. There is a wealth of heritage in the Black Isle, from ruined castles to monuments that have remained almost untouched for hundreds of years.
For bird and nature lovers the Black Isle has much on offer, from Red Kites aplenty to thousands of wildfowl and wading birds in Munloch Bay and Udale Bay. Come an hour or two either side of high tide to be rewarded with spectacular views of flocks of flying birds. In autumn up to 5,000 wigeons feed, while if you want to see an osprey fishing in the water, late summer is the time to come.
And a self catering holiday doesn’t mean you have to eat in every night – there are a range of great places to eat in the area.