The village of Strathpeffer must be almost unbeatable as a base for your Scottish Highland holiday. It still has most of its Victorian architecture and character – this is certainly what makes it such an attractive holiday destination. Strategically situated in Easter Ross and near to Inverness, there are many destinations within your reach and the bustling town of Dingwall has a large supermarket as well as many other high street shops and takeaways.
The forest road is closed to traffic and makes an ideal forest walk, guaranteeing you a tranquil forestry setting to relax and enjoy your holiday!
Away from the Lodges
The village is within easy reach of Inverness (30 minutes by car) and many local scenic attractions. John O’Groats on the northern most edge of Scotland, Gairloch on the West Coast and Aviemore to the south are within day trip distances.
Black Isle Brewery
A long way from the standard industrial estate setting Black Isle Brewing Co. is nestled in the beautiful surroundings of the Scottish Highlands. They are a small, independent brewery, committed to the production of innovative and ground-breaking beer using organic ingredients. They link the traditions of the surrounding area with the future of the industry. Tours are available of its highland brewery which produces a range of organic beers, all of which are available to purchase on site.
Glen Ord Distillery
A visit to Glen Ord, on the edge of the Black Isle in the Highlands west of Inverness, is a delight to both the eye and the palate. Watch the distillers at work creating a magicial malt whisky which is sweet, malty and dry on the palate. Upon tasting the “perilously drinkable” dram, tradition has it you’ll find it hard to resist a repeat experience. Glen Ord Distillery offers tours of its whisky distillery – surely a must for any first time visitor to the Scottish Highlands and maybe a visit to the shop for returnees!
Dolphin Bay, on the A19 just to the north of Inverness, has a dolphin information centre with views across the Morray Firth.
Further into the Black Isle is Chanonry Point, sign posted from Fortrose; it is an excellent wind swept peninsular where dolphins and seals can be seen regularly.
Chanonry Point lies at the end of Chanonry Ness, a spit of land extending into the Morray Firth. Chanonry Point is an ideal location to enjoy superb costal scenery. With views across the Morray Firth and the bastion of Fort George.
The lighthouse on the Point was first used in 1846 and was designed by Alan Stevenson. There is an Egyptian style keepers cottage in keeping with Alan Stevenson’s other lighthouses from this time.
Chanonry Point also has a memorial to the Brahan Seer who was reportedly burnt to death in a barrel of tar, for insulting the wife of Kenneth Mackenzie! However, there is an alternative story that he may have been burned nearly a century earlier for participating in a murder in 1577.
The peninsula of Chanonry Point is a great point for watching the wildlife. Dolphins tend to play close to the shore, so you have a good chance of seeing them from the beach.
ISLE OF SKYE & THE WEST COAST
A long (3 hours) but stunningly beautiful train journey can be made from Dingwall to Kyle of Lochalsh and from there a bus ride across the bridge to Skye.
The train journey alone makes this a worthwhile excursion.
Gairloch and Ullapool are also good day trips and attractive places to visit.
Walks & Outdoor Activities
Knockfarrel (the hill straight on up through Blackmuir Wood and then a right and a left at the far end of the wood), at the top of Knockfarrel lies the remains of a vitrified Iron Age hill fort, this is one that has been burnt to the ground by intense heat – usually by an enemy rather than any accidental fire. From Knockfarrel you can look down to Loch Ussie (Ussaidh – the traditional Gaelic spelling) to the south, Strathpeffer to the west and Ben Wyvis to the north; and perhaps up to kestrels circling above you and hunting in the fields.
To get to Rogie Falls Drive through Conin, the car park is on the right hand side. Alternatively, walk its not far. The water falls are beautiful in their own right but there is also a salmon ladder where you can see the salmon coming up the river to spawn at certain times of the year.
Ben Wyvis (the mountain that the lodges take there name from) is a stiff day’s walking for the experienced hill walker but not unattainable. Seek advice and a route plan from Square Wheels in Strathpeffer.
The Touchstone Maze and forest walks are signposted from the forest gate just outside the car park at Ben Wyvis Lodges. The maze is made from standing stones representing almost every geological rock found in Scotland and it is said that you can tell the time of year from the shadows of the moon and the sun cast by the marker stone! All is explained by an information board at the site.
Scotland is simply superb for mountain biking and cycling with world-class trails, stunning scenery and great places to explore. There is a surprisingly varied range of opportunities offering something for everyone, from extreme mountain biking to easy cycling routes that the whole family can enjoy.
Discover an ever-growing network of fun and challenging mountain bike trails for all skill levels, from the fantastic 7stanes of southern Scotland to new trail centres in the Scottish Highlands. The Scottish National Cycle Network offers myriad routes across and around the country, from day tours to long-distance, coast-to-coast epics.
Strathpefffer is known as a centre for cycling in the Highlands. From the 24 hour Strathpeffer endurance event to family cycling holidays, the village is the hub of cycling in the area.
Pop into Square Wheels bike shop in Strathpeffer, pick up a trail map (you’ll need one if only to find the start of the trail), have a chat and then head into the woods to explore. Although the way-marked riding is more suited to intermediate riders and above, there are plenty of trails for all abilities and ages.
The main way-marked 16 km red grade trail is a great ride. With its roots, rocky slabs, plenty of tight singletrack and steep ups and downs, it’ll put a big grin on your face. It’s best in the dry or when frozen but still fun in the slop.
Square Wheels The Square Strathpeffer IV14 9DW
Telephone: 01997 421 000