Chanonry Point is a popular place to visit near Inverness for both locals and tourists as it is known as the best place in the area to spot marine life such as dolphins, porpoise and seals. If you are heading north on a north coast 500 road trip, we would highly recommend making Chanonry Point one of the places you visit before leaving Inverness, you won’t regret it. 

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Chanonry Point is a great place to visit for both children and adults. In this guide to Chanonry Point, we will explore the following points in more detail. 

  • What is Chanonry Point?
  • Where is Chanonry Point?
  • How to get to Chanonry Point?
  • Why Should I go to Chanonry Point?
  • When Should I go to Chanonry Point?
  • Preparing for your trip to the NC500
chanonry point lighthouse

What is Chanonry Point?

Chanonry Point is a popular tourist spot outside of Inverness. It is a common stop off point for many on the North Coast 500 itinerary where you can catch a glimpse of some marine life.

Dolphins, seals and porpoise are usually spotted in the area as they feed in the channel. There are wooden benches around the stoney beach to view from. Dolphins are spotted in the sea around many parts of Scotland, however this is the best place to see them close up. The chances of you seeing dolphins from Chanonry Point are so high that it is even listed as one of the best viewpoints in Scotland to see them.

chanonry point dolphins

Where is Chanonry Point?

Chanonry Point is located in between Fortrose and Rosemarkie on the Black Isle. It is a small peninsula with views across the Moray Firth to Fort George. You can expect to see many other tourists and locals there to spot some dolphins so it is unlikely that you will miss them if you check to see where everyone is pointing their cameras.

chanonry point

How to get to Chanonry Point?

If you are driving, head through the small town of Fortrose and turn right at the police station. You will then drive down a narrow road with minimal passing places, through the Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Course. At the end of the road, you will see the old lighthouse and the car park is on the right.

If you are travelling by public transport, bus 26A or 26C that is operated by Stagecoach Highlands, leaves from Inverness taking around 36 minutes to travel to Fortrose. Disembark outside the Church of Scotland and walk pas the police station turning right onto Ness Road. You will then want to take the first right onto Dean’s Road and after the school playing field on your left, walk down the Ness Gap. This leads you towards Fortrose Bay Campsite and then onto a footpath to Chanonry Point. The alternative route would be to walk along Rosemarkie Beach.

chanonry point car park
chanonry point lighthouse

Why Should I go to Chanonry Point?

Chanonry Point is a highlight on the NC500 road trip and it is right at the start! When we visited Chanonry Point we saw seals as well as dolphins and porpoise. It is a beautiful spot to park up and enjoy looking across the Moray Firth and watching the dolphins frolic around.

It is also interesting to listen to the locals discussing the marine life as they obviously visit regularly and know a lot about the animals. We were told there is one dolphin who was stranded on a beach a number of years ago and nearly lost her life. Due to sunburn, her skin characteristics are not a shade of pink so she is really easy to spot now when she swims by with her new baby.

chanonry point dolphin

When Should I go to Chanonry Point

The best time to visit Chanonry Point is around 1 hour after low tide. This is when they chase the fish in. We would also suggest going early in the morning for a number of reasons. 

Whenever we want to see dolphins, we head there early and we have always managed to see them. Whether that is pure coincidence or not I’m not sure but it has worked for us.

There is also a pay and display parking metre in place in the car park. £2 for 2 hours and £4 for 4 hours. The parking charges start from 9am, meaning if you arrive early you also won’t need to pay and display. 

The car park at Chanonary Point is very small and this can become gridlocked during the day, save yourself the headache and don’t get caught up in the busy periods where parking can be impossible. If you do plan to visit during the day, we would advise parking in Fortrose and walking down to avoid the busy single track road down to the small car park. 

There are signs in the car park stating that no overnight parking is allowed. 

chanonry point beach
chanonry point seating area

Before You Leave on the North Coast 500

Before you head off on your trip around the NC500, there are certain things you will need to get organised to ensure a smooth trip. These include how to get around the route, including being aware of single track roads, etc., what to pack for Scotland, where to stay along the route and what travel insurance to book.

Read more planning tips for the North Coast 500 in our full guide.

 

How Do I Get Around the NC500?

Given the remote location of the NC500 and the majority of the sights along the route, the best way to get around this road trip is by driving. There are of course other methods that are still popular, such as cycling and hiking, however, if you have a short amount of time on the route, neither of these are very suitable.

As for public transport, the use around the NC500 is understandably difficult due to how remote each location is, however, with the increasing problem of congestion along the route, this is a good option to research if you have time. If it is something that interests you, you can read a public formed itinerary of how to get around the NC500 by public transport over here.

If you are looking to rent a cosy, reliable and luxurious campervan for your trip along the NC500, we highly recommend hiring through Bunk Campers. We toured with these guys around the up-and-coming Heart 200 road trip in Scotland’s central highlands and could not believe the comfort and customer service we experienced with their vans.

Browse the full range of vehicles on offer at Bunk Campers over here.

Passing Place by the Bealach na Ba Pass.

What Should I Pack for the NC500?

When it comes to packing for a trip along the NC500 there is one item of clothing that you are going to need all year round: a waterproof. It rains in Scotland on average 250 days a year, meaning that during your 7-day NC500 road trip you will probably experience at least a drizzle of rain. Due to this, the number one item on any Scotland packing list is a good waterproof jacket.

 

As for the rest of the year, the temperature in Scotland and the central heartlands is reasonably mild for most of the year. During the winter months, you will most likely experience snow, however, temperatures usually sit around freezing, so it is not too cold. For your reference, the average temperatures in Scotland are listed below during each season.

Spring (March, April, May) – 5-10 degrees C

Summer (June, July, August) – 15 degrees C

Autumn (September, October, November) – 5-10 degrees C

Winter (December, January, February) – 0-5 degrees C

 

As you can see, the weather never really gets above the teens, with anything over 25 degrees C considered a heatwave. The best way to pack for your trip to the highlands is with layers that can be added and removed as you need them. You will definitely need a hat and gloves during the colder months and will most likely need sunscreen to protect you on the long days in the open.

For our full list of items that we pack no matter where we go in the world, check out our full packing guides over here.

 

Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see around Scotland, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.

You can read what else we keep in our camera bag over here.

 

Photography Equipment

Main Photography Camera – Sony A7iii Mirrorless Camera

Main Lens – Sony FE 16-35 mm f/2.8 GM 

Zoom Lens – Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8

Camera Stand – Neewer Portable 177cm

Vlogging Camera – Sony HX90v

Action Camera – GoPro Hero 8 Black

Drone Camera – DJI Mavic Pro 2

Camera Bag – Lowepro Flipside 300 AW

 

Where Should I Stay on the NC500?

The remoteness in the highlands of Scotland will leave you with little choice of accommodation in each location along the NC500, however, there are still enough options to choose from to ensure a comfortable trip. These are mostly in the shape of B&Bs, Airbnbs, converted cottages and other quirky accommodations.

Depending on how adventurous you are, there may be more accommodation choices than just the above, often with an even better view. Caravan and camping sites are abundant along the NC500, drawing camping enthusiasts from all over the world. For some of the most spectacular bedside scenery along the North Coast 500, we recommend packing a tent and getting in touch with nature for the week.

As we travelled along the North Coast 500, camped in our trusty Vango tent on a mixture of campsites and wild sites. Wild camping is a fantastic way to enjoy the beauty of the highlands, however, it must be done respectfully. Read our full guide to Wild Camping if you wish to give it a go so you know everything you need to for a comfortable and sustainable trip.

camping in scotland

What is the Best Travel Insurance?

No matter what type of adventure you are heading on, whether it is a mountain adventure or a relaxing beach destination, one thing we all need to be aware of is that accidents can happen. The last thing you want is for an unexpected medical emergency to ruin your trip of a lifetime. Luckily, that is what travel insurance is for.

Whenever we travel abroad, we get covered with World Nomad’s Travel Insurance, a reliable, friendly and extremely affordable method of covering yourself on any adventure. With years of experience working for backpackers around the globe, the service they provide is perfect for whatever type of trip you have planned.

Get covered for your next trip and get a quote from World Nomad’s right here.

So there you have it, a full guide to visiting Chanonry Point. If you have visited the NC500 recently, let us know what you thought of the sights listed above, or if you have any suggestions let us know in the comments below.

As always, sharing is caring so make sure to share this photo guide with your family and friends and inspire them to head off on their own North Coast 500 adventure. If you are planning the trip for yourself, make sure you have a look at the rest of our Scotland content for more inspiration to our beautiful home country.

When you set off on your own adventure, be sure to tag us in your photos on Instagram and we will share them with the rest of our community. In the meantime, why not follow us over there to see what we are currently up to and keep up with us on our Instagram Stories.

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