We say goodbye to Loch Ness in the sunshine and begin our North Coast 500 journey, so called because it’s a 500 mile circular journey, starting at Inverness, up the Eastern coast to John O’Groats, along the top of mainland Scotland to Durness and then southwards on the western coast as far as Lochcarron. The route actually then continues back to Inverness but we won’t be doing that bit. Weather permitting we are considering a trip to the Orkney Islands too!
Our first stop today is Chanonry point, one of the best spots in the UK to see the bottlenose dolphin from land. This is on the Black Isle, just past Inverness. Shout out to our mate Lewis McDonald, as his family has roots here.
We park up at the local leisure centre in Fortrose and enjoy a 30 min walk along the edge of the local golf course, alongside the Moray Firth. Sun is shining again and it’s warm enough for only 2 layers! Arrive at the point and luckily it’s not too busy. Wander along the beach whilst we wait for a rising tide, the best time to see them we’re told. Enjoy our first ice-cream of the holidays in the sunshine. As the tide rises the wind gets up quickly and it’s suddenly a lot colder so an extra layer goes on, hats too! By now it’s about an hour and half later and we are thinking of moving on when someone spots a dolphin in the distance. Luckily it moves quite near to us so we catch sight of it 3 or 4 times. Most exciting and it makes our visit.
Wander back to the van and travel for about 10 mins to find a roadside parking spot next to the Moray Firth where we enjoy a late lunch.
Next destination is Brora. We travel over two amazing road bridges, crossing the Cromarty and Dornoch Firths’.
We decide on a last minute diversion to the Falls of Shin near Lairg. It’s supposed to be a great spot to see salmon leap upstream, but not today.
Arrive at our campsite near Brora. Enjoy a g&t whilst watching Tony cook spag bol.
Take a quick stroll to the beach, 5 mins from the campsite. It’s empty and beautifully sandy with loads of surf but soooo cold we only last 5 minutes. Back to the van for a cosy night in with the telly.