The Old Schoolhouse
The Black Isle
The Black Isle, actually a peninsula between the Moray and Cromarty Firths just north of Inverness, is a truly lovely part of Scotland, with so much to commend it - smiling countryside, pretty villages, beaches, wildlife galore, (of which more anon) and an excellent situation for touring the north and north-west Highlands.
The pretty village of Rosemarkie, is on the south side of the peninsula and on the hill above the village, just a couple of minutes walk from the village centre and 5 minutes from the beach, is The Old Schoolhouse, a substantial semi-detached Victorian house, now completely and most beautifully refurbished and modernised.
The house has a quiet and secluded situation and inside is very spacious, with a large dining kitchen, sitting room with open fire, four bedrooms and two bathrooms. There are lovely views over the village to the sea from the upstairs windows and it offers superlative comfort and is ideal for larger parties or for two families wishing to holiday together.
Rosemarkie and its neighbour, Fortrose (the two more or less run into each other, are picturesque little places and have shops, galleries and good restaurants. But perhaps the jewel in their crown, if you exclude the attractive ruin of the old Cathedral in Fortrose, is the spit of land which runs out from the villages into the Moray Firth at Chanonry Point. Chanonry Point is arguably the best site in Europe for spotting dolphins, as they swim through the narrows there into the inner Sound, and the spit is also the site of an excellent and fiendishly challenging golf course, sandwiched between the gorse bushes and the sea and guaranteed to try the mettle of even the most skilful golfer.
Further back down the road towards Inverness, there is Munlochy Bay, an SSSI and famed for its wildfowl. The Black Isle Wildlife Park is also down that way, and you should not fail to keep an eye out for the red kites which have recently been reintroduced into this area. They are often to be seen near the Tore roundabout, where the A832 joins the A9. (Another local curiosity is the original Clootie Well, adapted by Ian Rankin into one of his Rebus novels. It may not be to your taste, but is well worth a look!) Finally, the charming village of Cromarty at the end of the peninsula,should not be missed.
A little further afield, there is of course bustling Inverness itself with all the facilities one could wish, and beyond it Loch Ness, Glen Affric and Glen Cannich, perfect for walking, picnics - you may even spot a golden eagle. To the northwest is the spa village of Strathpeffer, which has managed to retain much of its Victorian elegance, and beyond there you can be on Skye in just over an hour. Trips to John o'Groats and the far north are also easily achievable in a day.
Bed linen, towels, electricity and the first £20 of oil-fired central heating are all included in the rental. Pets by arrangement. Smoking is not permitted in the cottage. Wi-Fi is available, subject to provider.
Accommodation (sleeps 8):
- Dining kitchen with electric cooker, dishwasher, microwave, fridge-freezer etc.
- Sitting room with open fire, TV/DVD, CD/iPod docking station.
- Utility room with washing machine.
- Double bedroom.
- Shower room with shower, WC and wash basin.
- Double bedroom.
- Twin bedroom.
- Twin bedroom.
- Bathroom with bath, WC and wash basin.