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Visit Black Isle

wintering geese on the black isle by andrew dowsettThe Black Isle countryside is home to some iconic wildlife, red kites over field and woodland, large gatherings of geese, ducks and waders along the shorelines  and offshore , the famous Moray Firth Dolphins.  If you’re lucky you’ll see these from the shore at Avoch, Chanonry Point, Rosemarkie or Cromarty. This photo of wintering geese was taken by Andrew Dowsett and comes from a book of stunning Black Isle photographs 'Eilean Dubh' that he has published with fellow photographers James and Russell.

dolphin, cromarty firth: image courtesy aberdeen university lighthouse field stationFor an exhilarating waterborne chance to see the dolphins,you can take a boat trip out with Ecoventures from Cromarty. This trip will also give you the chance to see seabirds and Second World War fortitifications on the cliffs of the Sutors that flank the mouth of the firth. The pictures (left) were taken by Aberdeen University researchers who are based at their lighthouse field station in Cromarty

In autumn and winter Udale Bay is a magnificent spot for watching greylag and pink-footed geese and many hundreds of ducks and waders. There is a bird hide at the RSPB reserve, close to Jemimaville, which provides dolphins, cromarty firth: image courtesy aberdeen university lighthouse field stationexcellent viewing.

If you’re interested in history and architecture there are some fine buildings on the Black Isle. The burgh of Cromarty - the traditional base for Black Isle Words - has been described as having the finest collection of classical townhouses in the Highlands - a reflection of the trading prosperity of the town at that time.

east churchcromarty courthouseCromarty hosts three historic visitor attractions, all on Church Street: the Courthouse Museum, (left) with its courtroom, cells and exhibitions on the town’s history: the NTS Hugh Miller Cottage and Museum which detail the life and work of  this Victorian geologist and writer, and the recently conserved East Church  (shown right) - the former parish church, with medieval origins and classic eighteenth century architecture.

The Black Isle is a good place to take a look at church history. Several have medieval origins including the impressive ruins of the 13th century Fortrose Cathedral. Also well worth a visit is Kirkmichael Church, on the shore of U

pictish stone rosemarkie

dale Bay. Currently a ruin, the Kirkmichael Trust is seeking funds to consolidate and re-roof the church to display the collection of Medieval gravestones that lie in the kirkyard.

In the Groam House Museum, Rosemarkie there is a fine collection of  Pictish stones, all from Rosemarkie, on display. The museum also hosts the Gilbert Bain collection of his original Celtic artwork, which was donated by his family. 

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