This was a trip I must have booked some time ago. I'm fairly certain as the 4 nights I had booked, including a hardstanding and electricity, was less than £70 which is becoming quite rare these days. I've notice the C&MC prices really rising this year, with some sites close to £30 per night.

The drive up from home was more or less uneventful. I don't think I was held up at all. The journey took around 3.5hrs.

I would normally stop at the forest just outside Huntly, but it had been raining recently and the carpark there becomes very muddy, so I continued into Keith and on the way out of the village, I stopped at a layby which conveniently led into 'Cottage Wood'. I'd passed this before without realising that it offered a good dog walk.

Arrived at the site around 1330. I've been here many times in the past with campervans and caravans, and I've had all sorts of pitches. In 2021, the grass pitches had been reduced to dirt due to the huge influx after the lockdowns, but it has definetely recovered and the grass looked very lush indeed.

The site is also generally quiet in the late mornings, and busy at night. This is due to Dingwall being on the NC500 route around the north of Scotland.

Next to the site, there is an excellent walk along the old canal to the Cromarty Firth. Designed by Thomas Telford, it was a commercial flop. Only 1.1miles long, it lost business with the coming of the nearby railway, and it suffered from silting due to the tidal Firth. Telford's solution was to build a lock at the sea end of the canal, but this was rejected and the canal fell into disuse.

At low tide, the silting is obvious. It leaves a thick, gloopy mud along the banks.

The canal to the left, and the Firth of Cromarty on the right. The central bank is an excellent walk into town.

A Heron in the canal, just outside the Town Centre.

I thought 'Wimpy' went out of business decades ago, but obviously not in Dingwall!

Quite a pleasant main street for a walk in the evening. The weather was settled, so perfect for taking out the drone when we got back at the van.

The caravan site and it's proximity to Victoria Park, the home of Ross County FC.

The site and the canal.

The site, the canal, and the Cromarty Firth.

Looking down on the RCFC Pitch. I think the groundsman needs to work on the centre circle!

A walk along the canal to what used to be the harbour, next morning, illustrates the scale of silting.

Certainly a very muddy place now. I wouldn't imagine a boat of any size could use this harbour these days.

What I enjoy about Dingwall is it's location for exploring the area. I took a short drive and had an excellent wander up to the old Pictish Hill Fort at Knock Farrel.

Fantastic views from the summit area.

Loch Ussie in the distance.

And I could also make out the 'new' Whisky Distillery, called 'Glen Wyvis'.

And a zoomed picture of Castle Leod, just east of Strathpeffer.

The Castle is the seat of Clan MacKenzie.

The walk up the hill fort was great, but it was still early, so we continued along the road to Contin with it's huge forest.

I chose a short, leisurely walk as I didn't want to exhaust the dogs. I've walked the long walks here and they are hilly and lengthy.

The forest is great for a walk, and has some pretty skilled carvings dotted around.

Later that day, we took the short drive into Maryburgh and done a walk which was signposted 'Tallysow Circular'.

It was a fine walk through 'Broad Wood' next to the village.

And led onto the Brahan Estate for the return leg.

Next day, again staying fairly local, I took the short drive to near Aultgowrie to walk to the Falls of Orrin.

The path took us through a very old wood, leading us to the River Orrin and it's fine waterfalls.

Unfortunately, I only took drone footage, so what I captured will be published soon as a video!

In the afternoon, we travelled a few miles north towards Evanton, to walk a really nice route around Kiltearn. I'd walked this last year and throughly enjoyed it. It's coastal moor and scrub, and is fantastic Spaniel territory!

The network of paths in the area.

The roofless ruins of the impressive Kiltearn Church.

In the distance, I could pick out the wierd and pointlessly cruel monument on the top of Cnoc Fyrish, the Fyrish Monument

We continued past the ruins of an old Salmon Bothy.

And some fine specimens of trees.

On the return, these swans were, well 'swanning around', under the footbridge over the River Glass as it enters the Cromarty Firth.

On our final full day, the Wednesday, I was keen to get a look at the re-wilding project on the River Peffery. 

It's not easy to get to in terms of access, there's no clear way I could see which didn't involve crossing farmers fields. However, with the drone I managed to capture a few photos and some videos from nearby Fodderty. The re-wilding of this stretch of the river involved re-instating the natural meandering pattern of flow instead of the man made straight cut.

And in the afternoon, we headed to Invergordon.

The town itself seems to be dominated by a number of very large piers which, when I was there, was catering for two large Cruise Ships, some Oil Rig Tender Vessels and some very large production ships.

Looking across to the platforms floating in Nigg Bay, the home of the platform maintenance facility.

This has been a great trip. The weather has been better than I had expected, the forecast showing it as being generally wet. In fact, it has in the main dry and exceptionally mild. Apart from some thundery showers on our last day, the dogs and I have remained dry!

I had a good mix of old favourite and new-to-me walks. A great little tour of the area around Dingwall.


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