Day 26 – Invergordon to Elgin

A day full of contrasts as we drove south from Invergordon to Elgin, again a beautiful coastline, but dotted with off-shore oil & gas rigs.  We would have loved to have seen the coastline prior to the North Sea oil & gas finds, but appreciate it also greatly supports the locally economy (clearly evident).


Photo of the day

Coastal Road Trip, Boath Doocot, Fields, Birds
The local birdlife taking advantage of the freshly mown fields near Boath Doocot.



Coastal Road Trip, Cromarty Firth, Invergordon, Oil Rig
A typical sight along this coastline, oil and gas rigs, set against the rolling Scottish coastline and countryside.


Storehouse of Foulis

Coastal Road Trip, The Storehouse of Foulis, Cromarty Firth, Sundial
Synchronising watches old school style at the busy Storehouse of Foulis.  A local museum, shop and restaurant (busy for breakfast).



Coastal Road Trip, Cromarty, Lighthouse
The Cromarty Lighthouse, no longer working, and now used by the University of Aberdean as a field station for the University’s School of Biological Science.
Coastal Road Trip, Cromarty, Butterfly
And as we walked around the quaint little streets of Cromarty, we came across this bush full of life with tens of butterflies…
Coastal Road Trip, Cromarty, Bee
…and busy bees.
Coastal Road Trip, Cromarty, Hugh Miller's Cottage, National Trust for Scotland
Hugh Miller’s Cottage, the birthplace of the Scott famous for his early geology, writing and social justice.  The cottage, museum and garden is maintained by the National Trust for Scotland.  It was very quiet, we seemed to be the only visitors this morning.
Coastal Road Trip, Cromarty, Street, Shop
Pottering around the Cromarty streets.
Coastal Road Trip, Cromarty, Oil Rigs
The view over Cromarty Firth, again such a contrast from the idyllic Cromarty.
Coastal Road Trip, Cromarty, The Egg Box, Jarno
How cool is this?!  Never seen one of these before, an egg vending machine on road side.  Looked a bit like Febo – the Dutch will understand ;-).
Coastal Road Trip, Cromarty, The Egg Box, Vending Machine
Pop your money in, and pick-up some fresh eggs.


Chanonry Point

Coastal Road Trip, Chanonry Point
Heading over to the Moray Firth, and crossing yet another golf course, we arrived at Chanonry Point.  Seemed to be super busy for a lighthouse.  Then we realised that everyone was waiting to spot Bottlenose Dolphins,  and sure enough they turned-up, check-out the video at the bottom of the blog.  One of the best viewing places in the world!



Coastal Road Trip, Fortrose, Cathedral
The remains of Fortrose Cathedral, at its peak, twenty-one Canons and five vicars served here.
Coastal Road Trip, Fortrose, Cathedral
The chapter house at Fortrose Cathedral, the only section that was still in one piece.



Coastal Road Trip, Inverness
Inverness was a bit of a surprise to us, on the map it looks so remote, but when we arrived we could have been in any decent sized bustling British market town.  Julian got a haircut, then we had a quick look at the castle.  We stocked up on socks (35 days on the road requires a lot of socks!) and sunglasses for Julian, replacing a pair lost somewhere in the highlands (yay – no more squinting in selfies).  We contemplated heading inland to go Loch Ness Monster spotting, but then decided to not get distracted and keep to the coastline…


Fort George

Coastal Road Trip, Fort George & The Highlanders' Museum, Bridge
A drawbridge at the huge Fort George.  Unfortunately we arrived just before closing, and as it is still a working army base they were strict on closing times, so we made do with our own tour around the perimeter grounds.
Coastal Road Trip, Fort George & The Highlanders' Museum, Walls
So many walls!
Coastal Road Trip, Fort George & The Highlanders' Museum, Chanonry Point, Lighthouse
Looking back over the Morray Firth to the crowds gathered at Chanory Point, on the lookout for Bottlenose Dolphins.


Boath Doocot

Coastal Road Trip, Boath Doocot
To be honest, not the most interesting thing, but along our route to Elgin so we made a quick stop.   A dove house atop a 12th century castle (now just a mound).
Coastal Road Trip, Boath Doocot, Fields, Birds
But great views over the fields south of Nairn.


Daily video


Day 25 – Lybster to Invergordon

Today we will drive 107 miles on our journey along the North Sea down to the Dornoch and Cromarty Firths.  Probably one of our shorter journeys, but still we have a lot to see, so let’s hit the road!


Photo of the day

Coastal Road Trip, Dunrobin Castle, Dalmation, Waiting, Sitting in Car
A patient chauffeur, waiting at Dunrobin Castle.


Lybster Harbour

Coastal Road Trip, Lybster, Harbour, Lighthouse
The sun rising in the sky over the cosy Lybster Harbour.


Dunbeath Bay

Coastal Road Trip, Latheron, Views South, Dunbeath Bay
Views south from Latheron along the rugged coast to Dunbeath Bay.


Laidhay Croft Museum

Coastal Road Trip, Laidhay croft museum, Jarno
We stopped by the Laidhay Croft Museum (keys from the coffee shop next door).  Absolutely packed with antiques and household goods from the crofting era.



Coastal Road Trip, Badbea Clearance Village
All that remains from this tiny clearance village at Badbea.
Coastal Road Trip, Badbea Clearance Village, View to North Sea
The unspoiled views over the cliffs out to the North Sea.  Fine on a calm day like today, but must have been rough living at the top of these cliffs on a stormy day.



Coastal Road Trip, Helmsdale, Church Tower
The church tower peeping through the tree tops in Helmsdale.



Coastal Road Trip, Brora, Golf Club, Golf Course
The Scottish coast was littered with Golf courses, all with stunning views.


Carn Liath


Coastal Road Trip, Carn Liath, Iron Age Broch, Settlement, A9
An amazingly well preserved Iron Age broch at Carn Liath (a round house), just a couple of minutes north of Dunrobin Castle.


Dunrobin Castle

Coastal Road Trip, Dunrobin Castle
The extravagant Dunrobin Castle, the family seat of the Earl of Sutherland and the Clan Sutherland.
Coastal Road Trip, Dunrobin Castle, Garden
The impressive French influenced gardens viewed from the castle.
Coastal Road Trip, Dunrobin Castle, Falconry Display
We stopped by a fun falconry display in the garden.
Coastal Road Trip, Dunrobin Castle, Dalmation, Waiting, Sitting in Car
Patiently waiting for Cruella De Vil in the castle car park.



Coastal Road Trip, Dornoch, Beach, 2 minute beach clean, Jarno
What a great idea at Dornoch Beach, encouraging visitors to a 2 minute beach litter clean.  Dornoch itself was a beautiful village.   Clearly the locals were looking after the area.


Tarbat Ness

Coastal Road Trip, Tarbat Ness
After all the yellow and white lighthouses we’d seen along our coastal road trip, it was refreshing to find a lovely red and white stripey one at Tarbat Ness! 😉



Coastal Road Trip, Balintore, Mermaid of the North, Seaboard Villages
Driving along the coast of the Seaboard villages we arrived at the Mermaid of the North atop ‘Clach Dubh’ (black rock) at Balintore.



Coastal Road Trip, Arabella, Eastern Ross-shire, Wind Turbine, Sun, Clouds, Fields
On our way to Invergordon for the evening, hazy evening views across the countryside near Arabella.  Wind turbines became a really familiar sight whether on land or off shore along our journey.


Daily video