Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Image above shows Clan Munro members at the Fyrish Monument, 1500 feet up.

Today,we again benefited from blue skies and brilliant sunshine.

Dolphins at Chanonry Point, Black Isle.

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We commenced the day with a tour of the Black Isle, north of Inverness. This name is a misnomer because the ‘Ilse’ is, in fact,  a peninsula bordered by the Cromarty Firth and Moray Firth. Our first stop was Chanonry Point near Fortrose. Here there is a lighthouse and stunning coastal views but, most importantly, this is where dolphins congregate to feed. Today our luck was in and we are able to view the animals in position just offshore.

Dolphin watchers at Chanonry Point, Cromarty Firth.

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Next, we continued north to the picturesque village of Cromarty, a village which sits on the edge of a deep water harbour with views oil drilling platforms. We had refreshments here and then a pleasant walk around the village.

Intrepid swimmer in cold waters of Cromarty Harbour, Scotland

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Street Scene in Cromarty, Scotland

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Next, back along the southern shore of the Black Isle and then a stop at the Storehouse at Foulis Ferry which is home to the Clan Munro Museum combined with a grocery store and restaurant. We had lunch here.

Next, to nearby Foulis Castle to connect with the Clan Munro Gathering 2014.

Foulis Castle, Scotland

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Tour Group at Foulis Castle, Scotland

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At Foulis our small group split into two with half electing to join the hike up Fyrish (1500 feet) with the others opting for the Clan Munro themed coach tour of the local area. Objective of the Fyrish climb was to reach the monument atop the mountain. This commemorates an early British Imperial adventure from 1781 when a senior Clan Munro member won an important military victory at the Battle of Negapatam, India in 1781 and generated substantial personal financial benefit for himself.

Fyrish Monument looking east.

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Cromarty Firth from Fyrish

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These events concluded about 5.00 pm whereafter we availed of a pub meal in Evanton and then returned to our lodgings. Tomorrow we return to Foulis Castle for more Clan Munro events.

 

 

 

This morning, we departed our lodgings in Birnam and drove north up the A9 to Dalwhinnie where we turned off to join the A889 through Badenoch and the Cairngorms National Park, stopping for refreshment and shopping at ‘ Yummy Things’.

Yummy Things

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Badenoch

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Next, we continued west, past Loch Laggan and through Glen Spean to Spean Bridge. Here we stopped to visit the memorial to Britain’s forces, the Commandos, a site which also offered good views of Ben Nevis and other mountains in the Nevis Range.

Nevis Range

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Next. we continued up the Great Glen, past Loch Lochy, Loch Oich to Fort Augustus on the southern tip of Loch Ness where ew stopped for lunch where we were able to erat outside, right on the bank of the Loch.

Loch Ness from Fort Augustus

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Caledionian Canal at Fort Augustus

Caledonian Canal

Buying Raspberries at Fort Augustus

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Next, we continued north up to Castle Urquhart, a historic site which offers good views of Loch Ness.

Piper at Castle Urquhart

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Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness

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Next, we continued north, through Inverness, across the Moray Forth then the Cromarty Firth to our destination of Evanton, a village on the western  bank of the Cromarty Firth. After checking in to our lodgings and dining at the local pub we embarked on an evening drive along Glen Glass, a narrow road which nevertheless afforded good scenic views.

Cromarty Firth from Glen Glass

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Cromarty Firth from Kiltearn

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Tomorrow, guests attend the Clan Munro Gathering.

Today, we benefited from dry weather, starting as overcast with mist but progressively evolving into heat and sunshine.  We departed our Birnam base along a country road to Amulree where we turned off along a single track. mountain road which took us to Kenmore on Loch Tay. En-route we stopped for photos and encountered numerous, newly shorn sheep. There was even a hint of residual snow on one mountain top.

Backroads

As we approached Kenmore we stopped to photograph Taymouth Castle and the (re-created Iron-Age) Crannog then went down into the village where we stopped for a short break at the Kenmore Hotel which sits where the River Tay starts its long journey from Loch Tay.

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Taymouth Castle


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Next, along the northern bank of Loch Tay where we briefly witnessed an endangered red squirrel crossing the road. After about 15 minutes we reached Fortingall with its famous 5000 ( approx.) year old yew tree, possibly the oldest living organism in Europe.

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Next, we tracked the River Lyon into Glen Lyon and then on, via another single track high elevation road, to Killin at the southern end of Loch Tay. This road provided more scenic photo opps with sheep and mountain streams. We also stopped at Lochan-na-Lairig, a mad made reservoir.

Photo Stop on way to Killin

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At Killin we stopped for lunch at a pub overlooking the scenic Falls of Dochart, a lateral waterfall.

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After lunch we drove back to Kenmore along the northern bank of Loch Tay and then on to Croft  Moraig ( Mary’s Farm) to visit one of the best examples of a prehistoric stone circle on mainland Scotland.

Croft Moraig

Next to nearby Aberfeldy where guests toured the whisky distillery which is branded as Dewar’s World of Whisky.

 

Next, we paid a brief visit to Birnam and Dunkeld Golf Club and then a brief spot of bird watching at Loch of the Lowes wildlife centre which is famous for its Ospreys.

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Tomorrow, we head north via Loch Ness.