Dingwall is a small market town, but was the capital of Scotland to the Vikings. The countryside on either side contrasts starkly. To the east is the Black Isle, one of the richest agricultural areas in Scotland, with many attractions for visitors. Cromarty, at its eastern edge, is a wonderful mix of old buildings, one of the most interesting villages in Scotland. This whole area is great for wildlife lovers, with the best dolphin-watching areas in the UK as well as frequently seen and magnificent Red Kites.
West of Dingwall the landscape is much more rugged, with fine woodland walks alongside the Blackwater river, with Rogie Falls only one example of the wondeful cascades in this area. Higher up the valley becomes hemmed in by ever higher mountains, with Ben Wyvis a true giant with magnificent views.
|Rogie Falls circuit, near Contin||1.5km||1 hour|
|Fairy Glen, Rosemarkie||3km||1 hour|
|Silverbridge riverside circuit, near Garve||3.5km||1 - 1.5 hours|
|Cnoc Croit na Maoile (Ord Hill), Muir of Ord||4km||1.5 - 2 hours|
|Eathie coast, near Rosemarkie||4.5km||1 - 2 hours|
|Contin Forest & View Rock circuit, near Contin||4.5km||1 - 1.5 hours|
|Ord Hill, near North Kessock||4.5km||1 hour|
|Ormond Castle, Avoch||4.75km||1 - 1.5 hours|
|Tulloch Castle from Dingwall||5.5km||1.5 - 2 hours|
|Rogie and Contin forests circuit, near Contin||5.75km||1.5 - 2 hours|
|Macdonald Monument and the Firth, Dingwall||6km||2 hours|
|Cromarty explorer||6.5km||1.5 - 2 hours|
|Loch Kinellan and Strathpeffer circuit||6km||2 - 2.5 hours|
|Knockfarrel and Cnoc Mòr, Strathpeffer||7km||2 hours|
|Cromarty coastal circuit and McFarquhar's Bed||8km||2.5 - 3.5 hours|
|Chanonry Point and Swallows Den, Fortrose||8km||3 - 4 hours|
|North Kessock and Kilmuir circuit||9km||3.5 - 4.5 hours|
|Rosemarkie beach and Hillockhead circuit||9.25km||2.5 - 3.5 hours|
|Knockfarrel and the Peffery Way, Dingwall||11km||2.5 - 3.5 hours|
|Dunglass Island and the Conon, Maryburgh||12km||3 - 3.5 hours|
|Little Wyvis, near Garve||10km||3 - 4 hours|
|Ben Wyvis, near Garve||14km||4.5 - 5.5 hours|
|Rosemarkie to Cromarty||15km||5 - 5.5 hours|
|John o' Groats Trail||235.5km||14 Stages|
Karen Thorburn writes about the Black Isle and her decision to make the big move north.
"I walked through Edinburgh’s West End after yet another late night in the office. First one in and last one out again. On crossing Shandwick Place, I kept my head down and avoided eye contact with other pedestrians but allowed myself sideways glances into bustling restaurants, brightly lit with festive decorations and bursting with office workers enjoying Christmas parties..."