Duration: 3 hours.
This is a justifiably popular walk in the Easter Ross area. A fairly straightforward, but relentless, climb through pine forest is rewarded by increasingly splendid views of the Cromarty Firth, Black Isle, and Sutors of Cromarty as you approach the summit area. On a good day you can also see hilltops on the southern side of the Moray Firth. The last section of the climb provides a stunning finale, as the stirring and evocative Fyrish Monument gradually comes into view. It is a huge stone structure with three central arches and four flanking towers. It was commissioned in 1783 by the local landowner, Sir Hector Munro. As commander of the British Army in India his forces had defeated the Dutch at the Battle of Negapatam. On his return to Scotland, the sweeping changes in land use involving the forced removal of local people from their homesteads, known as the “Highland Clearances”, was underway. Displaced people were starving and homeless. In order to obtain food and shelter, various “job creation” schemes were devised on the principle that only the “deserving” poor should be helped. A willingness to work in return for assistance was deemed necessary in order to maintain the moral standards of the day and discourage “laziness”. The construction of the Fyrish Monument was one of the tasks devised to this end. This rich man’s “folly” is intended to represent the gates of the city wall at Negapatam and, despite any reservations we might have, nowadays, about the means and motive for the construction, there is no doubt that it is a hugely impressive and unforgettable sight. During the ascent, we pass a pretty little loch, perfect for a picnic on a fine day. On the summit of Fyrish Hill, just beyond the Monument, there is a fine view of the landscape and hills to the north. To the north-west, the mountainous mass of Ben Wyvis (1046 m) dominates. Directly ahead of you, above the patchwork of fields in the valley below is Cnoc Ceislein (523 m).
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