Falconry Display at Dunrobin Castle

This morning, we departed our lodgings in Inverness and embarked on a trip to the ferry port of Scrabster in the north of Scotland as summarised below.

First to the Black Isle (not black and not an island) where we called in at Chanonry Point with object of viewing wild dolphins which are regularly spotted there. Unfortunately, the dolphins were elsewhere but we did, briefly, see an inquisitive seal.

Chanonry Point.

Next to the village of Cromarty close to which were moored numerous oil rigs which had been ‘retired’ from duty in the North Sea. Opposite Cromarty is a facility focused on construction of wind farm infrastructure.

Cromarty Harbour

View from Cromarty

At Cromarty we made a decision to short-circuit our next leg of the trip by joining a small ferry for a ten-minute crossing to Nigg from where we re-connected with our intended route north.

Cromarty-Nigg Ferry.

Next to Dunrobin Castle near Golspie where we spent nearly three hours. This building is more akin to a grand palace than a military structure. After touring the interior and gardens we joined the excellent Falconry display which lasted thirty minutes.

Falconry display

Pollination in process at Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Castle

Gardens at Dunrobin Castle.

Next, we continued north stopping to view then Badbea Clearance Village which is located on a cliffside in Caithness. This is a ‘ghost’ settlement dating from the time of the Highland Clearances, which was finally abandoned in the late 1800s. From around 1780 to 1860 large numbers of highland Scots were ejected from their tenanted farms by landowners who switched to more profitable sheep farming, many being forced to emigrate to countries such as America, Canada and Australasia.

Scottish heather in bloom at Balbea

Remains of Balbea

Artist’s impression of Balbea

Finally, we reached our destination of Scrabster where we connected with the 7.00pm ferry crossing to Stromness on Orkney, entailing a sea journey of ninety minutes.

Ferry to Orkney, MV Hamnavoe

Tonight, we overnight at Kirkwall and then spend tomorrow visiting the wide range of prehistoric sites on Orkney.