The Black Isle is renowned for its scenic beauty and mild dry climate where pretty villages and lovely safe beaches wait to be discovered.
This area of the scottish highlands is a haven for wild life, birds, wild flowers and sea life, including Britain's largest school of wild dolphins, which can often be seen from the door of your holiday cottage.
Included in the many leisure activities are walking, cycling, pony trekking, bird watching and a superb 18 hole golf course. There is so much to do in the area without travelling far at all but here are some of the tried and tested activities and places to visit
There are around 150 Bottlenose Dolphins living in the Moray Firth, and these can often be seen from Chanonry Point by Rosemarkie (as seen on the BBC program Coast)
A good time to spot the dolphins from Chanonry Point is after the turn of the tide, so about an hour after low tide. We supply you with tide timetables in your cottage but just ask if you are not sure.However, they are wild animals and can be seen at any time! Just keep a look out from your cottage and whilst walking along the beach
Alternatively, boat trips can be arranged with Ecoventures in Cromarty (6 miles) or Avoch Dolphin Trips, - besides the dolphins, there are large seabird colonies, seals, occasional whales and spectacular scenery!
Beautiful Rosemarkie beach has something for everyone, sand and rockpools for the kids, coastal walks and secluded spots. A dip in the Moray Firth is for the brave, the kids never seem to mind though. Walk there from Hillockhead (tidal) or drive down to the sea front in 2 minutes.
For keen cyclists there are cycle paths around the Black Isle and for the more adventurous riders the Forestry Commission has just completed The Red Rock Trails, a range of top quality mountain bike trails just behind Hillockhead.
To get a great bike delievered to your door (even an electric one!) Visit Black Isle Bikes
For a less strenuous activity why not pamper yourself with a therapeutic massage given either in Fortrose or in the comfort of your own cottage, choose from a variety of therapies.
Or you could book an outdoor session with our resident photographer for a fun and relaxed portrait session (individual or groups) nynkejansenphotography.co.uk
Nearby Groam House museum in Rosemarkie houses a display of 15 carved Pictish stones, some dating back to the 8th century AD, all originating in the village.
Children are welcome and activities include making rubbings of Pictish symbols, together with the opportunity to play a reconstructed Pictish harp.
A visit to Cromarty is a must, this picturesque, historical village is over 700 years old and steeped in history.
Stroll through the winding lanes and vennels of Cromarty visiting unusual gift shops and local craft and antique galleries.
There are a number of historic sites and museums in the area. Fort George, visible across the firth from Hillockhead, is the best preserved example of 18th century fortifications in Europe.
Visit the thought provoking Culloden Battlefield and experience the Jacobite rebellion through the brand new visitor centre. Visit both in one day and see both "sides of the coin" - government vs. Jacobite supporters.
You can't leave without a trip to the infamous Loch Ness, it contains more fresh water than all lakes in England and Wales combined! The scenery is stunning and there are some lovely walks on the south side of the loch. Loch Ness is only a 40 minute drive away, Nessie is waiting!
Urquart castle on the loch has a long tragic history, the best way to visit is to take a cruise down the Loch stopping off at the castle.
Slightly further a field is A great hit for kids is Landmark, a forest theme park, less then an hour drive down the A9. Very good value and fun for everyone; timber trail, rope bridges and amazing waterslides to name but a few attractions.
Continue down the road from Landmark and visit the well known Cairngorm mountains. For winter sports the Cairngorms and other ski centres such as Lecht are under an hour's journey. Also in this region is the lovely Highland Wildlife Park, well worth a visit to see polar bears, tigers, wolves and much much more.
Hillockhead is an ideal base for day trips around the Highlands. The stunning scenery of the West coast of Scotland is less than 2 hours drive away and places like Skye and Torridon, Fort William and Ben Nevis are within easy reach.