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Muir of Ord & The Black Isle

Explore the Heart of the Highlands

At the Crossroads

Delights Awaiting Discovery

The Estate of Ord is the perfect base for exploring all the wonders of the Highlands and North Coast of Scotland, sited as it is at a cross roads with routes leading off in all directions.

Just a step away lies Muir of Ord (Am Blair Dubh in Gaelic, meaning a “dark, clear, level place”), a village renowned for its huge agricultural show, held every August.

Established in the 19th century as a bustling market for Highland cattle, Muir of Ord now stands as the proud home of the Glen Ord Distillery, which was originally part of the estate and today is the only remaining single malt Scotch whisky distillery on the Black Isle. Take a tour and enjoy a tasting before a round of golf at the 18-hole heathland course at the award-winning Muir of Ord Golf Club, designed by the legendary James Braid.

Just a short drive away, or 20 minutes by train from Muir of Ord station, is the city of Inverness, capital of the Highlands, where you can enjoy shopping at the Victorian Market, visit the museum and historic castle, and take a boat trip into Loch Ness, watching out for the elusive Nessie (the legendary Loch Ness Monster).

The Estate of Ord also makes the perfect start or end point for anyone set on completing one of the world’s most iconic coastal touring routes, the NC500 – a truly awesome experience that has been described as the best road trip on the planet.

The Colourful Black Isle

From the Estate of Ord it is but a hop and a skip to enter the magical peninsula known as the Black Isle, surrounded on three sides by water – the Cromarty Firth to the north, the Beauly Firth to the south and Moray Firth to the east.

Discover standing stones, charming 17th century seaside villages, and a host of nature and wildlife, including dolphins frolicking off of Chanonry Point. In fact, the Black Isle is full of excitement, adventure and local colour.

Here are some of the not-to-be-missed attractions on the Black Isle:

Rosemarkie

Rosemarkie – a tiny, pretty and very ancient seaside village with an interesting local museum (Groam House Museum) and lovely sandy beach. Other villages in the area worth visiting are Fortrose and Avoch.

Fairy Glen

Fairy Glen is an enchanting nature reserve just a short walk from Rosemarkie village, with a pair of waterfalls in a steep-sided glen with broadleaf woodland.

Cromarty

Cromarty is the cutest little town you’ll ever see with its narrow winding streets and fishermen’s cottages, tucked away at the tip of the Black Isle. Explore interesting speciality museums, an art gallery, brewery, the car ferry to Nigg and beautiful beaches.

Beauly

Beauly – admired by Mary Queen of Scots when she visited in 1564 – is another local village worth a look – especially the remains of the stunning Beauly Priory (a location mentioned in the popular Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon). There’s also some great salmon fishing to be had in the River Beauly.

This is just a taste of what’s on offer – when you visit the Estate of Ord your hosts will happily point you in the direction of all the special spots that abound around these parts.

On Two Wheels or Two Feet

The Ross and Cromarty region of the Scottish Highlands is blessed with an almost endless choice of hiking and cycling routes, taking in quiet country roads, forest tracks and countryside.

Bring your bike and backpack and experience spectacular views off of the beaten track. The Walkhighlands website has some good information for some walks locally and around the Black Isle. When it comes to cycling there are no less than 22 cycle routes to explore through Muir of Ord alone, according to Bikemap.

If you’re interested in Scottish history, including clans and tartans, you’ll be delighted to discover that the nearby village of Beauly is the epicentre of the 700-year-old Clan Fraser of Lovat, with the historic clan seat of Beaufort Castle just three miles south of the village (not open to the public because it is a private residence).

Current Clan Fraser of Lovat chief, Simon, the 18th Lord Lovat, lives in Beauly, looking after what is left of the Fraser lands, so you may just spot him and his lady wife when you’re visiting the village.

The other notable clan in this part of the world is Clan Mackenzie, whose current chief, John Ruaridh Grant Mackenzie, the 5th Earl of Cromartie, lives with his family in Castle Leod, mere miles from us near the picturesque Victorian spa village of Strathpeffer in Easter Ross. You can visit this romantic castle on various open days and on private tours.

There is certainly no shortage of fascinating places, history and mystery to discover in and around the Estate of Ord so why not come and be charmed by it all?

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