Coastal Walk: Fort George to Fisherton (and back)
Date: Sunday 7th February 2016
Company: Just myself
Distance: 17.5km, Ascent: 100m
Sunday morning in Kintail was once again wet
. I decided to head for home hoping that the weather would improve en-route to allow for
either a hill ascent or a coastal walk. The weather did look better to the East of Loch Ness. By the time I reached Inverness, I decided to undertake a coastal walk.
Having previously walked the full length of coast from Aberdeen to Culbin, I now needed to walk a section somewhere between Culbin and Inverness. I opted to drive to, and start from, Fort George which is one of the most outstanding fortifications in Europe. It was built in the wake of the Battle of Culloden (1746) as a base for King George II’s army. It took 21 years to complete, by which time the Jacobite threat had been largely extinguished.
On arrival at Fort George, I parked in the visitor's car park.
From the car park, I decided to walk round the outer wall of Fort George prior to turning round and heading along the coast towards Ardersier.
At the prow of Fort George, I saw a large flock of Oystercatcher. This section of coast is reknowned for spotting dolphins especially across the Moray Firth at Chanonry Point, circa 1km away. Unfortunately, I saw no dolphins on this visit.
Chanonry Point from Fort George:
Kessock Bridge and Chanonry Point (zoom):
Prior to walking the coastal track from Fort George to Ardersier, I popped
inside the outer wall of Fort George for a look around. I last visited Fort
George in 1997 and recall doing the army assault course and having an excellent meal there afterwards. This was part of an Executive Stretch weekend which also involved
building a raft, building a pontoon bridge, climbing a large tree while
roped together, dealing with a staged car accident, etc. oh yes and sleeping out under a tarp in a thunderstorm
with army rations for breakfast.
Myself inside Fort George almost 20 years ago:
Main Entrance to Fort George:
After having a good look around, I exited Fort George and began the walk towards Ardersier.
Looking towards Ardersier from Fort George:
During the walk from Fort George to Ardersier, I passed numerous dog walkers. I also met a girl that I had rock climbed with back in 2007. Small world.
Walking the coastal path from Fort George to Ardersier:
On reaching Ardersier, I stuck to the shore as much as possible only leaving it briefly to photograph a dolphin sculpture.
Dolphins in Ardersier:
Snowy mountains across the Moray Firth:
On reaching the far end of Ardersier, I had to reverse back a short section and walk along the road before entering a field to get back down to the shore.
Sign at Ardersier Bay:
As I was now walking along farmland, I expected to have to climb numerous fences or clamber over numerous gates. I had to do neither as the long grassy field continues unineterrupted for several kilometres.
Coast beyond Ardersier:
Looking across the Moray Firth:
Looking back to Fort George (zoom):
During the walk from Ardersier to Fisherton, I passed numerous birds including a flock of at least 50 curlew.
Grassy walk from Ardersier towards Easterton:
Looking back to Fort George (zoom):
Following the shoreline:
It would be difficult to exit this stretch of coast other than at Ardersier and at Fisherton as there is lots of gorse, a steep bank and a barbed-wire fence at the top.
A short distance beyond the houses at Easterton, I turned back on reaching a large post. My next section of coast will therefore be from Alturlie Point to this post.
After walking back a few hundred metres, I followed a grassy ramp leading up to a farm with a couple of very large containers. I have no idea as to the purpose of these containers but they are massive. I could see them from Fort George, circa 7km away.
Large containers at Easterton:
I then walked back along the B9039 as far as Ardersier before walking back along the coastal path from Ardersier to Fort George. The camera stayed in its bag for much of the way back as it started raining heavily.
I am now looking forward to returning to this section of coast to walk east of Fort George and west of Fisherton.