Usually the reason behind my desire to tackle a particular hike comes from reading about it or seeing photos of it. In the case of Chanonry Point, I attribute that desire to a lovely, poignant piece of music on one of my Celtic music CDs at home.
Chanonry Point is at the tip of a peninsula on the Black Isle, north of Inverness. It took just over half an hour to reach Fortrose by bus (starting at the Inverness bus station), where I explored the ruins of Fortrose Cathedral before starting my walk out to the point.
The information I had regarding the walk directed the traveler to the harbor and along the coastline, but I ended up walking down a residential road that passed through a golf course instead. No complaints, really — it still made for a fairly peaceful walk.
At the very tip of Chanonry Point stands a small white and yellow lighthouse designed by Alan Stevenson, one of the Stevenson family known for many lighthouses and other civil engineering projects around Scotland — as well as for the author Robert Louis Stevenson. This wee lighthouse not only guides boats around the peninsula, it also serves as a great place for watching dolphins (not that I saw any).
Though the path around the point meandered through the top of the dunes, once I saw the long stretch of beach leading to my destination of Rosemarkie, I stayed on the sand, enjoying a slow walk amid shells, stones, seaweed, and surf. I had no thought for once of finishing a hike. I simply wanted to breathe and bask in the serenity of such a beautiful, remote place.
When I finally reached Rosemarkie, I found a cafe at the end of the beach where I could use the restroom, have a bit of cake, and pick up a map of local walking paths. This latter find was what I needed to finish my hike, as I had read about the fairy glen and wanted to walk through that.
The path took me along Markie Burn, under an old bridge and through lush, verdant woodland. The trail climbed slowly, eventually passing an old mill pond, and just when I began to entertain thoughts of turning back, I heard the unmistakeable sound of a waterfall.
After a few photographs, I decided to continue following the trail, thinking it would lead me back to Fortrose. Instead, the narrow scramble up the side of the waterfall led me to yet another waterfall and fairy pool — and a dead end. So I ended up returning to Rosemarkie after all and waited there for the bus back to Inverness.
Another wonderful Scottish hiking goal checked off!