Day 7, Tain to Rosemarkie, 34.15 kms.
Day 8, Rosemarkie to Inverness, 29.3 kms
Day 9, 10, 11 are in Inverness - waiting for a parcel of winter gear to be delivered from home, and so the only walking has been sightseeing around Inverness.
At last I have finished with the A9! What a relief this is. The last couple of days into Inverness I managed to mostly avoid it. From Tain I walked along it for a few miles before heading off and detouring down the Black Isle, only having to return to it again to cross the Kessock Bridge into Inverness.
There has been a mixture of pleasant walking, though a couple of very long days, along quiet back roads, and resting here in Inverness ready to tackle the next leg.
Travelling from Dornoch to Tain the A9 crosses the Dornoch Firth on a comparatively new bridge. The wind was strong as it whistled up the Firth, but the views were great.
In Tain the primary school is perched on a hill overlooking the Firth. The Firth is quite tidal and so the view would be constantly changing. I would imagine it would be quite a distraction if one's desk were near the window!
Tain had many pot plants lining the street. This memorial is on the edge of a rose garden, designed and planted by members of the community. I had been told that Tain was not a tourist town, but I found it rather interesting, and its residents particularly friendly.
Tain was a centre for pilgrimage back in King James day (further Duthac). This memorial gate says "The Pilgrimage", and was funded by donations in the late 1800's in memory of William Ross, a banker in the town, "as a testimony of his personal worth and useful public life"!
The view from the B & B in Tain towards the Dornoch Firth.
After Tain I travelled down to a place called Nigg. I didn't realise it, but there is a lot of oil industry here. As I walked towards Nigg I could see the oil riggs in the distance looking like they were some alien space ship just landed in the field. The nearer I got the further they seemed to be, perched on their great legs out in Cromarty Firth. I had to walk around the massive oil storage tanks and power facility before reaching the ferry, which I was very glad to see!
The wind had risen as the morning wore on, and when the ferry arrived from the other side Davey, the ferryman, checked as to whether I was only wanting a single or return ticket. On hearing "single" he ushered me on board. His reasoning was that with the wind rising like it was there was every chance that the ferry would shut down and had I wanted to return I wouldn't have been able!
The beach where the ferry comes in, looking towards the headland that makes this firth a wonderful sheltered harbour.
The village of Cromarty, viewed from the ferry.
This tiny little two car ferry is one of the smallest in operation in the UK. It has a revolving circle on the deck so that cars can be turned around and thus be able to drive off, rather than having to reverse.
The oil rigs in the Cromarty Firth.
At Davey's suggestion I went to the Cromarty Museum, one of the best local museums I have seen, and free. This building used to be the court house many years ago and in the court room there are a number of mannequins, very realistically made up, and a sound a light show depicting an actual trial - a drunk and disorderly!
Cromarty is tucked in out of site below the trees, and Nigg is on the other side of the Firth. This is known as the Black Isle for a couple of reasons - because of the very black soil, and possibly because in winter the hills on all sides across the firths are covered with snow and this small peninsula is not - hence black (no snow) and white (with snow)
Travelling down the Black Isle, looking towards Cromarty Firth on my right .........
......... and Moray Firth on my left,
..... and after a VERY long 34 km day, walking into the village of Rosemarkie.
I had been given directions for a variety of different paths to get to Inverness, primarily quiet single lane roads, but also an old train track, now a walking track. The day, though long should have been quite easy, but I found myself having to go from one WiFi point to the next while I tried to sort out why my parcel had not yet arrived in Inverness. One of the reasons was that they were trying to give me someone else's parcel, and when I checked the weight of it (17kgs) I then realised we weren't on the same page. Eventually got my three kgs of second hand winter clothes cleared through customs without having to pay VAT! I am still waiting for it to be delivered however!
The path, an old rail track, between Fortrose and Avoch (pronounced Ork)
Munlochy Bay, not far from Inverness.
This pub at Munlochy was one of my WiFi stops on the way to Inverness.
The Kessoch Bridge, leading into Inverness.
Inverness is a lovely city. It has an annual rainfall of 25 inches per year. I am headed to Fort William which has a average annual rainfall of 80 inches which at a rough guess means I'm headed for rain!
Inverness has a castle, though it is not open to the tourist public - its a magistrates court
On the way through the city on Saturday I dodged a "Yes" rally. The referendum has finished but it appears the battle continues.
This clock tower is very near a castle built by Cromwell, which was promptly demolished after Cromwell's demise.
Flora MacDonald shields her eyes as she looks out to where Culloden is. It is said that she rescued Bonnie Prince Charlie from the battlefield and helped him to safety.