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Local Attractions and activities

This page lists some local attractions in the vicinity of Ardross, that you might like to visit while you are staying here or if you are otherwise visiting the area. Also listed are some outdoor pursuits and activities and where to find them.

Ardross actually offers an ideal base from which to explore the whole of the Northern Highlands of Scotland. Few roads cross the mountains here. But careful examination of a road map shows that there are many minor roads that lead from the main roads on the east, deep into the heart of much of the mountainous countryside. This gives easy access, whether you are intending to embark upon a serious days walking, or just want a leisurely drive through glorious scenery. It is this network of minor roads that makes the Eastern side of the Northern Highlands the ideal base for exploring the whole area. Within a relatively short drive you have a choice of many entry points to explore the mountains.

Places you could explore while you are here include the following : The Great Glen and Loch Ness, Glen Affric, Glen Cannich, Glen Strathfarrar (private road open to a limited number of private cars at certain times), Strathconnon, Glen Glass and the Black Rock Gorge, Strath Rusdale, Strath Carron, the Kyle of Sutherland, Strath Oykel and Glen Cassley.

Although we are notionally on the East side of the Northern Highlands, it is only about 50 miles from coast to coast here, so the west coast and the Isle of Skye are within day trip distance of here to add to the possibilities.

There is a lot more here than just walking and glorious scenery, and the following describe just some of the local attractions:

Glen Ord Distillery The home of the Glen Ord single malt whiskies. Located in the town of Muir of Ord about 17 miles south west of Ardross. The Glen Ord Distillery Visitor Centre is open all year and welcomes individuals and groups for a tour and sampling, and their whiskies are available for purchase. Contact the distillery on 01463 872004

Glenmorangie Distillery The home of the many Glenmorangie single malt whiskies. Located on the shores of the Dornoch firth near Tain, about 12 miles north east of Ardross. The distillery is open for visits and tours from Monday to Friday all year, and Saturdays and Sundays from June to August. A shop at the distillery sells their whiskies. Contact the distillery on 01862 892477 or visit their own website at Glenmorangie.com

Dalmore Distillery The home of the Dalmore single malt whisky. Located on on the shore of the Cromarty firth in Alness about 3 miles south east of Ardross. Tours of the distillery are available by appointment only. Contact the distillery on 01349 882362 or visit their website at Dalmoredistillery.co.uk

Black Isle Brewery A small brewery producing a range or organic beers, located at Munlochy on the Black Isle, about 15 miles south of Ardross. The brewery is open for tours and there is a shop where you may purchase their beers. Contact them on 01463 811871 or visit their website at BlackIsleBrewery.com

Dolphin Ecosse Dolphin & Nature trips and Boat Charter on the Moray Firth. Based at Cromarty on the tip of the Black Isle, about 20 miles south east of Ardross. The Morray Firth is home to a population of Bottlenose dolphins and other wildlife, and Dolphin Ecosse will take you on a boat trip to view them in their natural environment. Contact them on 01381 600800 or visit their website at dolphinecosse.co.uk

Tim Dearman Coaches, west coast coach trip. Our local coach operator in Ardross is Tim Dearman Coaches. As well as providing private hire services they run a daily coach service from Inverness, up the west coast of Scotland to Durness and Smoo Cave, returning in the afternoon. This gives many possible places to stop and spend some time before returning, or take the journey all the way to see some of the best costal scenery that Scotland has to offer. Officially the coach starts from Inverness bus station. However, given that they are based here in Ardross, there is a possibility that passengers staying in Ardross may be able to board the coach at Ardross. Contact them on 01349 883585 or view their timetable on their website at TimDearmanCoaches.co.uk

Black Isle Wildlife and Country Park At North Kessock on the Black Isle about 18 miles south east of Ardross. If you are interested in animals and birds or just countryside, you will enjoy a visit to this quiet corner of the Black Isle, an ideal place for all the family. Come and feed the friendly ducks, geese and swans on the many ponds. Make contact with our friendly goats and stroke the cuddly rabbits. See the pot-bellied pigs, rare sheep and cattle. A tearoom and gift shop are available or you can enjoy a picnic in the play area set aside for children. Visit their website at www.invernessonline.com/wildlife/ or telephone 01463 731656

Highland Wild Rides is a small family run outdoor centre focusing on animal activities. We are based in the Kyle of Sutherland, just beyond Bonar Bridge - this is the edge of Wild Country! The scenery is stunning, the wildlife abundant and the peace and quiet is wonderful - especially if you are up on the hill trails either on horseback or riding a dog sled. Visit their website at Highland Wild Rides or telephone 01863 766771

Black Isle Riding Centre North Kessock on the Black Isle about 18 miles south east of Ardross. Safe 'off-road' treks through woodland, lessons in our 'all weather' arena, 'tots' mini rides. ABRS approved. Qualified staff. Open: All year, times by appointment. Contact them on 01463 731707

Made In Scotland Usually when you go on holiday, you want to buy something to remind yourself of your stay, or a gift for a friend or relation. Made In Scotland in Beauley, about 20 miles south west of Ardross is the perfect place for this. Here you will find the very best in Scottish gifts, crafts, jewellery, knitwear and textiles. Something for all tastes and pockets. Visit their website at MadeInScotland.uk.com or telephone them on 01463 782578

Loch Ness visitors centres. The famous Loch Ness, which is reputed to be home to the Loch Ness Monster is within easy travelling distance from Ardross. Drumnadrochit is the main settlement along the lochside on it's northern shore and is about 30 miles south west of Ardross. Here you will find everything for the dedicated monster hunter, including exhibitions and boat trips. Try the following for starters. Loch Ness Cruisers Lochness-Cruises.com tel 01456 450395. Loch Ness 2000 exhibition, History, Mystery and Loch Ness Uncovered loch-ness-scotland.com/exhibitpage tel 01456 450573

Storehouse of Foulis Storehouse of Foulis is the Highlands finest new visitor attraction. Delightfully set on the shore of the Cromarty Firth about 4 miles south of Ardross, with beautiful views out over the water, and to the mountains beyond. Centrepiece of this major new centre is the fully restored 18th century grade A listed Girnal or Rent House, the finest remaining example of what used to be a familiar type of building dotted along the coasts of Easter Ross and Sutherland. The Girnal houses a series of entertaining, informative and educational history and wildlife exhibitions. Unravel seven centuries of land and people brought to life in the Rogues Gallery Theatre. Learn about the Munro Clanlands, their people, history and heritage. Gaze into the past in the authentically recreated Rent House, with cut-away floors above enabling the whole content of activities to be seen and enjoyed, all complemented with a Son et Lumiere show. Website StorehouseofFoulis.co.uk telephone 01349 830 000

Highland Museum of Childhood Strathpeffer about 12 miles south west of Ardross. Details the history of childhood in the Highlands together with exhibitions of toys, games, photographs, books and printed ephemera, costumes and textiles. Visit their website at hmoc.freeserve.co.uk or telephone them on 01997 421031

Groam House Museum At Rosemarkie about 21 miles south east of Ardross. Pictish centre with carved stones including the magnificent Rosemarkie cross-slab; activities, videos, gift shop. Visit their website at www.cali.co.uk/HIGHEXP/Fortrose/Groam.htm or telephone 01381 620961

Dingwall Museum Town House At Dingwall about 10 miles south west of Ardross. History of the Royal Burgh of Dingwall told in pictures and text. Excellent local military history room. Reconstructed smiddy and kitchen. Special exhibitions. Splendid courtyard. Children's attractions. Seasonal entertainment. Telephone 01349 865366

Hugh Miller's Cottage At Cromarty on the tip of the Black Isle, about 20 miles south east of Ardross. It was Thomas Carlyle who called the death of Hugh Miller 'the world's great loss'. Into a life tragically cut short at the age of 54 he packed careers as a stonemason, bank accountant, geologist, church reformer, journalist and author. His remarkable history is told in this cottage where he was born. Here are Miller's personal belongings, his geological hammer, microscope, mason's mallet, and beautiful fossil collection. A video film charts the achievements of this largely self-taught 'lad o' pairts'. Telephone 01381 600245

Tain Through Time Located in Tain about 10 miles north east of Ardross. Medieval church, visitor centre telling pilgrimage story, and local museum with wide-ranging collections. All set in collegiate churchyard. Visit their website at tainmuseum.demon.co.uk telephone 01862 894089

Invergordon Golf Club Invergordon about 4 miles south west of Ardross. This 18 hole parkland course provides challenging golf for both the novice and advanced golfers. Clubhouse facilities and bar snacks are available throughout the day. Visitors always welcome. Open: May to September, 8am - 10pm. October to May, 9am - 7pm. Visit their website at InvergordonGolf.com or telephone them on 01349 852715

Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Club Located at Fortrose on the Black Isle about 20 miles south of Ardross. This James Braid designed links has been acclaimed by golf writers as "a gem of a course" and "perhaps the brightest jewel in the Highlands golfing crown". Small deceptive greens and strategically placed bunkers, as well as sea alongside eight holes and gorse waiting to devour the wayward shot inland, all add up to a greater golfing experience than many a longer course. This private club, established in 1888, gives a warm welcome to visitors in the knowledge that they will almost certainly wish to come back. A big off-course attraction are the bottle-nosed dolphins in the Firth in the view of the golfers. Contact them on 01381 620529

Bonar Bridge, Ardgay Golf Club At Ardgay, 12 miles north of Ardross. Considered by many golfers to be one of the most scenic 9 hole course in the north has been enlarged by opening of three new holes. This has added 329 yards on the medal tees. Shared fairways no longer exist and accuracy is rewarded more than distance. With the smell of pine trees and the views down to Loch Migdale the Bonar Bridge course makes a lovely contrast to Sutherland's links courses. Advance booking is not necessary, and visitors can play the course at all times. During the summer months the club has limited catering. Ladies and gents toilet and changing rooms are available to visitors throughout the season. website golfeurope.com telephone 01863 - 766750

Alness Academy Swimming Pool Alness about 3 miles south of Ardross. An attractive 25m x 9m pool offering a range of swimming opportunities. Telephone 01349 882456 (after 17.00 hrs)

Averon Leisure Centre Alness about 3 miles south of Ardross. Dry sports centre comprising sports hall, fitness room, children's soft play area. Fitness classes, sports clubs and casual use. Visit their website at AveronLeisureCentre.co.uk or telephone 01349 882 287

Walking Walking is available just about anywhere. There's everything from low level walks, to high rugged mountain peaks. Something for all abilities. This side of Scotland is less popular with walkers than the west coast, but still has a great deal to offer, with the benefit of less people to share the hills with. To anyone staying in Ardross I can give guidance on where to walk, and also offer an accompanied hill walking service. (see my other website HighlandServices.info for details)

Waterfalls There are many waterfalls and rapids in the area worth visiting. Some require a long walk, but others are easilly accessed from main roads. The nearest are: Rogie Falls On the A835, about 3m west of Strathpeffer activitypoint.co.uk and
Falls of Shin On the B837, between Bonar Bridge and Lairg. A must-see if you are visiting from June to September. At this time the salmon are returning to their spawning ground upstream and must leap the falls to do so fallsofshin.com. Further affield in Glen Affric are the Plodda Falls. Well worth the 3.5 mile drive along a Forestry track to get there with short or long forest walks. glenaffric.org/plodda.html and if visiting these, also visit Dog Falls nearby forestry.gov.uk... See also scotland-index.co.uk...

Fishing Scotland is a good place to fish. The following information about our nearest fishing has been found on where-to-fish.com/ Evanton (2 miles South west of Ardross). Brown trout fishing on R Glass and Loch Glass; bank fishing on loch. Permits from Factor, Novar Estates Office, tel: 01349 830208. Salmon, sea trout and brown trout fishing on Rivers Glass and Skiach; and brown trout fishing on Loch Glass. Sea trout fishing on shore of Cromarty Firth. Permits from A & M Alcock, Newsagent, 16 Balconie St, tel: 01349 830672. Alness. Salmon, sea trout, grilse and brown trout. Alness AC has water on R Alness, salmon, sea trout, brown trout; and on Loch Morie, brown trout and Arctic char. Good bank fishing on Loch Morie; worm or fly only. Permits from Hon Sec. Novar Estate, Evanton, also issues permits for fishing on R Alness; salmon, sea trout, grilse and brown trout.

Archaeology The Ross & Cromarty area has a lot of archaeological sites up to 6000 years old. Many are quite close to our house. For an informative website that details many such archaeological sites, look at Exploring Archaeology in Ross & Cromarty

Paragliding I have deliberately included this, at the bottom of the list. Paragliding is a hobby that requires proper training and equipment, so is not your average day out. However for those with the training, experience and equipment, Scotland offers a lot for the paraglider. There are plenty of launch sites, some quite close to Ardross, and very few people to share the skies with. For information on where to fly, start with the Scottish Mountain Paragliding Club's website at flyingscot.f9.co.uk

For even more activities and attractions in the area, try searching on one of these other sites:     activitypoint.co.uk     scotland-index.co.uk

Copyright © 2009 Dave Hewitt For website design, programming and consultancy see www.rfelectronics.co.uk/webdesign