The Black Isle – Avoch, Fortrose & Rosemarkie

Between Inverness and Dingwall is the Black Isle.  It’s not really an island per say, but rather a peninsula and therefore the name is somewhat misleading, but nonetheless, it is a beautiful place to visit with its seaport villages along the Moray Firth.

map of black isle

Pat and I spent a very nice afternoon visiting three of these villages with some important sites.

First stop, Avoch (pronounced “Och”).  We were driving along the country road and as we approached this quaint village, my ancestral angel tapped me on the shoulder and said “Pssst… I think you might want to stop at the Parish church here.  Your great, great grandparents, Thomas and Christina Frew, the ones buried in St Clements’ churchyard in Dingwall, were married at this church!”IMG_5203 (Edited)IMG_5202 (Edited)

Unfortunately, the church was locked and we couldn’t go in but we were able to wander about the gravestones and look at the church from the outside.

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They had some lovely headstones, none of them relatives, but I always enjoy seeing a beautiful Celtic Cross stone such as this fine example.IMG_5209 (Edited)

The next town we came to was Fortrose and we visited a very ancient Cathedral (pronounced “For-trose”; not Fort Rose) dating back to medieval times in the 13th century. Fortrose Cathedral was the episcopal seat (cathedra) of the medieval Scottish diocese of Ross.IMG_5221 (Edited)

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Let’s go inside the gate and check this one out!IMG_5217 (Edited)

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Now these are some really old gravestones!

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Heading around the backside of the cathedral..
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Just outside the gate was the Catholic church and a war memorial, containing the names of the local boys who fell.

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and ya gotta just love the telephone booths!

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I love the old architecture and it’s intricate and interesting adornments such as this building, “The Anderson.”

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IMG_5271 (Edited)IMG_5272 (Edited)I liked this little marker on the wall outside the bakery where you could “park” the dog by lashing the leash to the ring while you went inside to make your purchases.  (In the UK, what Americans would call “parking lots” they call them “car parks”; hence the “dog park” or “dog parking lot”)IMG_5270

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We stopped at  this little cafe to have a bite to eat and it was absolutely delightful!  Check them out at Fortrose Cafe.

While we were waiting for our food, our waiter was very observant. He noticed we had been talking about the history of the town, so he brought over a book about all the old shops in the town for us to look through and enjoy.  I even found the building in the book which this cafe sits.  It was the oldest shop in town!

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Inside it was very cozy and a lot of “locals” were there which is a good sign!

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I had “tattie and leek” soup (potato leek) with brown bread and fresh croutons.  Pat enjoyed a chicken sandwich with bacon and tomato and a nice salad.

After that nice meal we drove on to Rosemarkie and out to the end of the spit to Chanonry Point – a world famous location to watch the world’s largest bottlenose Dolphins and seals frolic and fish in the Inverness Firth.  (Unfortunately we did not spot any; perhaps the tides weren’t right.  A very scenic area just the same.)

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Author: Claudia Frew

Adventuresome, independent, and fun-loving 68-year young American great-grandmother who loves to travel; often going solo!

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