NEW : See my campaign to establish a National Coastal Path here
The route for this walk leads from the small village of Rockfield, past the now restored Ballone castle, and along to the most easterly point of Easter Ross which stops at the impressive Tarbat Ness lighthouse. The route then follows the road back westerwards towards Portmahomack. From Portmahomack you can follow the beach along to Inver, and then the route takes the road into Tain. Unfortunately the expanse of whitesands is not possible to cross as it is a military firing range.
This was a long but fairly enjoyable walk, with a fair bit of road walking at the end into Tain, although the road itself isnt too busy traffic-wise which always makes life easier. The first thing you notice as you leave Rockfield is the restored castle of Ballone, which uncannily looks like an oil painting of a castle when viewed from a distance. There is a path which eventually peters out and then it becomes difficult to find a way to continue. I eventually scrambled up at the point where it shows Brindlemoor on the map and made my way to Tarbat Ness Lighthouse, which is one of the tallest in the UK and is painted red and white in a candy stripe fashion. Walking back along the access road to Portmahomack you head west again. Portmahomack is a lovely little town with a hotel and an upmarket (and expensive) restaurant. The menu looked very inviting although some of the descriptions of the items on it were a bit over the top. Leaving Portmahomack the route takes you to the eastern edge of whiteness sands which is a military firing range unfortunately. It seems that the army have cornered all the best bits of Scotland to blow things up on. It was the same at Fort George, and then further back at Carnoustie and also at Barry Links just outside Dundee. Why cant the army choose somewhere less picturesque to play with their toys? It is guaranteed that if the area is plastered with big red “Danger Area” warning signs, then it will be in a place of natural beauty. I enjoyed walking along the beach though and cutting in through the small village of Inver. The road to Tain was a bit of a drag, probably because this walk a fairly long walk and there wasnt much of note on the road. However I was glad to eventually reach Tain, as 18 miles is more than I usually do.
Distance Covered: Walking: 18 miles