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Moray Firth Bottlenose Dolphins at Chanonry Point
Moray Firth Bottlenose Dolphins at Chanonry Point
Image Courtesy Jürgen Rösemeier

Chanonry Point lies at the end of Chanonry Ness, a spit of land extending over a mile south east into the Moray Firth from Fortrose and Rosemarkie. The ness projects so far that Chanonry Point actually lies south west of Fort George, on the "south" shore of the Moray Firth.

Chanonry Point Camp Site
Chanonry Point Camp Site
Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Club
Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Club
Dolphins at Chanonry Point
Dolphins at Chanonry Point
Image Courtesy Jürgen Rösemeier

Chanonry Point is a popular place, where parking can be at a premium at times. People come here to enjoy the superb coastal scenery and the views across the Moray Firth to the vast and grimly functional bastion of Fort George. And Chanonry Point is particularly popular as one of the best onshore locations in Scotland - or perhaps anywhere - from which to view dolphins. The Moray Firth is home to around 130 dolphins, which can often be seen at very close quarters here as they fish and play in the turbulent waters off the point. The viewing area is wheelchair accessible.

Chanonry Point Lighthouse
Chanonry Point Lighthouse
Brahan Seer Memorial
Brahan Seer Memorial
Dolphin Watching
Dolphin Watching

The landward end of Chanonry Ness houses the two caravan and camping sites in the area, while as the point narrows it is largely given over to the Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Club, founded in 1888. Signs remind you to keep an eye out for stray golf balls while driving along the road leading to the point.

The crossing between the spit, occupied since 1748 by Fort George and Chanonry Point, is the shortest crossing of the Moray Firth east of Inverness and has furnished a ferryman with a living for many centuries: a passenger ferry continued to operate here as late as 1953.

The ferry pier at Chanonry Point dates back to the mid 1700s, when the nearby Ferry House was also built, probably initially as an inn providing shelter and sustenance for those waiting for or recovering from the crossing. The lighthouse, first lit in 1846, was designed by Alan Stevenson and comes with the Egyptian styled keepers cottages the Stevenson's preferred for a while.

In about 1675 the point was where Kenneth Mackenzie or Coinneach Odhar, better known as the Brahan Seer is said to have met his end. The Brahan Seer is often though of as a Highland Nostradamus. When asked by Isabella, 3rd Countess of Seaforth, why her husband was late returning home he first prevaricated, but when pressed simply told her that her husband was dallying in Paris with a lady who was more attractive than the Countess herself.

Coinneach Odhar's reward was to be hauled off to Chanonry Point where he was burned to death in a barrel of tar. He overlooked the golden rule of seers, or consultants of any sort: first find out what the client wants to hear. His passing is marked by a stone memorial. In an alternative version of the story of Coinneach Odhar, he may have actually been burned here nearly a century earlier for participating in a murder in 1577.

Chanonry Point from Fort George
Chanonry Point from Fort George
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