Located at Tore, the Black Isle Berries Bunkhouse is ideally situated to explore the Highlands on foot, bike, kayak or whatever takes your fancy. In fact, there is so much to do it would be impossible to list everything here – what follows is merely a taster!
The Black Isle is a great place and there is plenty to do if you want a day off from the hill or water. Out on the tip of the peninsula is the historic town of Cromarty; it’s only 18 miles away and quite a pleasant cycle along the back roads. There you can visit, amongst other things, Hugh Miller’s Cottage and the Cromarty Courthouse Museum, go dolphin and wildlife watching and enjoy a home-made pizza at Sutor Creek Cafe. Heading back to Tore, Rosemarkie beach is a popular destination; there are caves along the coast here that can be explored. Another option is to take a gentle walk through the wooded Fairy Glen to see the waterfalls. Groam House Museum has an interesting collection of Pictish stones and the George Bain collection. Fortrose has the remains of a 14th/15th century cathedral. Chanonry Point with its Stevenson lighthouse is a great place to catch a glimpse of the Moray Firth dolphins.
There are some great opportunities close to Tore for white water kayaking, open canoeing and sea kayaking. The closest river for kayaking is the Black Water to the north of Garve (25-35 mins away); we are also within very easy travelling distance of the Averon (Alness), the Meig (Strathconon), the Findhorn (Randolph’s Leap), the Moriston (Invermoriston) and the Garry (Invergarry).
For open canoeing we have the River Conon, River Beauly, Loch Achilty and Loch Ness, all a stone’s throw away. Slightly further afield are the Findhorn and Spey rivers and Loch Maree.
Fortrose and Cromarty are popular get-in points for sea kayakers and there is always the chance that you will see our famous dolphins. Loch Ness and the east, west and north coasts are all within easy reach.
For those without their own equipment or who would like some instruction or someone to guide an expedition, we suggest that you contact Donald at Explore Highland. Explore Highland is a one-stop shop for open canoeing, river kayaking, sea kayaking and white water rafting in the Scottish Highlands and offers a wide range of activities including bespoke services for all ages and paddler abilities.
About 12 miles away we have the Red Rock trails at Learnie: 16km of trails for all skill levels, combined with some of the best views from any mountain bike trails, anywhere! There are green, blue, and black graded trails, with a bike park and a dirt jump area (both graded orange). Even the green grade single-track is not ‘billiard table’ smooth – it gives a sufficient challenge for those wanting more than just forest road-type mountain biking.
Further to the north, at Golspie, Highland Wildcat offers trails for all abilities that link directly to Golspie village and its local services. It is a purpose-built trail, with black and red routes which have been constructed on the 1400’ Ben Bhraggie. At the top of this mountain is the massive monument to the 1st Duke of Sutherland; infamous for evicting occupiers of the lands of Sutherland at the time of “The Clearances” in the mid-1800s. This monument is a landmark that marks the highest point on the trails! From this point there is the longest singletrack descent in the UK at around 7000m trail leading directly to the Rhives car park (from where it started).
To the south run with the pack at Laggan Wolftrax and enjoy nearly 35km of year-round single-track. Set in the outstanding natural highland beauty of Strathmashie Forest, Wolftrax provides a green-graded beginners’ trail, the thrills of a big-and-bermy Bike Park, a fast red-graded route packed with features and a black-graded trail that’s possibly the most technical of its type in Scotland.
In addition to the purpose-built trails, there are literally hundreds of forest and hill tracks to be explored; you just have to get out there!
The Highlands is a cornucopia for walkers of all ages and abilities and a great starting point for planning your routes is Walk Highlands. We are well placed to reach Loch Ness, Glen Affric and the Black Isle, Torridon and the Cairngorms, as well as many other areas.
Archaeology & History