It is said that there is no place like home!….a sentiment that I agree with. No matter how far and how frequently we travel it is nice to arrive back home and being away for extended periods of time can make one ‘homesick’.
We are though left with memories of experiences and places from our travels…some of those places becoming very special places in our memory box, so special that you become ‘metaphorically homesick’ for particular places. For me that location is the very North of Scotland.
The attraction is substantially the draw of the mountains but in truth it is much more….the people, the history, the culture and music and also the coastline. It is a coast that is both rugged with dramatic rock formations and cliffs that have to be seen to be believed – but also it is mellow with soft sweeping sandy beaches, on the west coast fine pale sands on the east far richer in colour.
My own travels this last year have been severely restricted so memories have been playing scenes and evoking places that I have enjoyed. Many of these memories have been refreshed by reading and enjoying the posts of fellow bloggers. Most stimulating have been the post from Scott Marshall (http://wp.me/1ya3j), the Highlands feature strongly but a great many of his images are of the Moray Firth coastline. Adding fuel to these memories is the unlikely source, the latest Ian Rankin Detective thriller in the Rebus series and his vivid descriptions of the Moray Firth coast along the Back Isle.
This indeed is one of my Scottish Rose’s….Rosemarkie Bay. A long sweeping bay, backed by sand dunes and sheltering a lovely village that shares the same name. Turn about and the bay sweeps away to Chanonry Point and Lighthouse….
The Moray Firth is at its narrowest at Chanonry Point, it is where the incoming waters from the North Sea meet the fresh waters flowing from the highlands and this makes it very special for Dolphins….in fact Chanonry Point is a ‘Hot Spot’ for Dolphin watching. It is so popular that I have yet to visit without feeling I am in a crowd, a crowd all equipped with scopes, binoculars and cameras with huge lenses. Serious Wildlife lovers and photographers are here in droves and no doubt getting far better shots of Dolphins than my humble effort…but it is my very own memory….
In the shadow of the lighthouse is something very different, a memorial stone. It marks the very spot that witnessed the death by burning in a barrel of Tar of a certain Coinneach Odhar perhaps better know as the Brahan Seer. A Seer is the Scottish name for someone who can see events in the future….a prophet! Many of his predictions came to pass, but as I understand the story he predicted the fall of the Seaforth Estate at Brahan, and this was at the time a prediction too far! However many years after his death his predictions for the downfall of the estate came true..
Apart from a wonderful coastline and rolling hills and hidden valleys the Black Isle is steeped in history. Should you visit Rosemarkie and Chanonry Point will will need to pass though the town of Fortrose, but pause awhile as here you will find the imposing ruins of Fortrose Cathedral…..
Built in the 13th century, it started life as a much simpler building but as its importance to the area grew so did the building which was greatly enlarged and enhanced in the 15th century.
The name of the Black Isle is a misnomer as it is really a peninsular with the Moray Firth to the south and The Cromarty Firth to the north. It is at the very tip of the Black Isle where the two Firths meet and are swallowed by the North Sea that you find what was once a busy fishing harbour and the village of Cromarty. To many in the U.K. who have listened to the ‘Shipping Forecast’ the very name Cromarty is synonymous with stormy weather for sailors….but it can also put on its Sunday best and present a more peaceful scene…
I have enjoyed prodding my memory bank into action, great memories of a special place which I hope you have enjoyed sharing with me. I will be back to Scotland this year, possibly the Black Isle but most certainly some where North of the Great Glen. May be you might make the trip too, I am sure that will not disappoint you.
© David Oakes 2013