Carbisdale Castle

Shopping in Inverness delayed us, then we couldn’t resist a nice café before making our way out of the city along the busy A9. The juggernauts thundering past were so unpleasant that we resolved to make the long detour across the Black Isle and across on the ferry from Cromarty to Nidd to avoid them. This added 20 miles to our journey but was well worth it. The forecast was for a wet day but we got a cool misty one instead. The sea views approaching the lovely old fishing port of Cromarty should have been stunning but we could barely make out the sea. During the 15 minute crossing the mist lifted and we enjoyed a brief spell of blue sky and sunshine before the mist closed in for good.

A quiet road returned us to the A9 for a five mile stretch before we could turn off on a very quiet “A” road along Dornoch Firth. We turned off for the castle, arriving just after a party of three Scottish cyclists coming towards the end of the popular Lands End to John O’Groats ride. As we were checking in, a noise outside attracted our attention so we turned round and were grateful we weren’t cycling in the heavy downpour!

Carbisdale Castle is the gem in the Scottish Youth Hostel Association‘s collection, built for the Duchess of Sutherland and beautifully restored and adorned with paintings and white marble statues. We even had a double bed… not much like a youth hostel!

[Postscript: The SYHA sold the castle in 2005]