Home   Lifestyle   Article

Gateway to India — on top of Fyrish Hill

By John Davidson

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
The Fyrish Monument.
The Fyrish Monument.



Distance – 4.5 miles

Maps – OS Explorer 438

Start/finish – Jubilee Path car park on road to Boath, near Alness

Spectacular views from a prominent monument with an alternative return on forest tracks

THE rather bizarre monument on top of Fyrish Hill, a representation of the Gate of Negapatam in Madras, India, is worth the steep walk up to for the views alone.

It must have been a fair task for the people of Fyrish to move these massive stones up the hill to the 453m (1486ft) summit once, never mind the second time as the myth suggests.

The monument was built on the orders of Sir Hector Munro of Novar in 1782. The story goes that due to the lands being cleared for sheep, he wanted to provide employment for the local people, so ordered its construction.

To pay them twice, he apparently had the stones rolled back down the hill so they could continue in their work.

I think once would have been enough for me, as I found it hard enough work carrying my wee daughter up the sometimes steep path to the top!

The walk begins at a signposted car park on the minor road to Boath, a left turn off the B9176 Struie road if heading north.

The well-marked "Jubilee Path" leads away from the single-track road into the lovely woodland. Keep ahead at first then continue straight at a crossroads of tracks, following the obvious wooden marker poles with white arrows.

The path then drops on a series of stone steps to cross the Contullich Burn by a fantastic wooden pedestrian bridge. The noise of the tumbling water below draws your attention to this fine burn and the wonderful greenery growing in the small gorge below your feet.

Stone steps rise again the other side where you continue on the clear track, which begins to climb more steeply here. Go straight on at another crossroads further ahead.

The tracks here may be wet and boggy in places but they also have a good stone base, making many of them excellent for mountain bikers and one went hurtling past us in the opposite direction as we slowly made our way up the path.

We soon came to a lochan beside the main path with some tantalising glimpses of the views we would see better from the top, looking across the Cromarty Firth to the Black Isle and beyond.

As the path rises onto the heather-clad hillside, our eyes were drawn back to look out over the port at Invergordon and past the Sutors of Cromarty. Ahead, we could see the forecast heavy showers moving in across the firth, a dark brooding cloud sweeping its way over the Cromarty Bridge and heading in our direction.

We donned our waterproofs and got the umbrella out as it approached, then sheltered behind the huge monument for a while until the shower had passed. Behind it was a spell of sunshine that lit up the firth and the surrounding hills in spectacular fashion.

Ignoring the sign that points back the same way to the car park, we continued on the track past the monument, which turns very rocky and bumpy down the ridge of the hill to meet the edge of the forest.

Turn right at a T-junction to enter this wonderful forest. The air is so clear here that the lichen is taking over in massive clumps, the only disturbance this area gets is from the deer (which we saw) and the occasional walker, mountain biker or horse rider (which we only saw evidence of).

It’s a fantastic part of the walk and so peaceful, much better than returning by the same route if you ask me!

At the next junction, go right and continue until you meet the circuitous track around Cnoc Duchaire, where you go right just after crossing a small burn.

Ignore a grassy track off to the left further ahead, then stay on the right fork at a muddy junction. As you descend here, look out for a crossroads and turn left, now back on the Jubilee Path which you follow all the way back to the road.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More