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. 

Table of Contents

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

If you are looking for a good bag to carry your camera equipment around at Chanonry Point, we can highly recommend the Wandrd Bag PRVKE 41L. If you are looking for a smaller backpack, The Nest by Tropicfeel is one of the most comfortable bags I have ever owned and perfect for a day of dolphin spotting.

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


Your trip to Scotland will be a lot more comfortable with a midge net and midge spray. These little biting bugs can be enough to ruin a trip if you don’t have the equipment to protect yourself from them. A repelling candle can also be helpful if you are sitting oustide.

Check out the prices of them here.

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 now 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 and no parking for vehicles over 6m. 

chanonry point beach
chanonry point seating area

Destination North Coast Map

Make sure you have all the resources you need to make the most of your trip to the North Coast of Scotland. Our Destination North Coast Map is the perfect addition to any traveller’s toolkit. With detailed information on all the best spots, along the NC500, this map is your ultimate guide to exploring the rugged beauty of Scotland’s north coast.

Read more about this map here.

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 recommend hiring through Spaceships Rentals.

Browse the full range of vehicles on offer at Spaceships 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.

It is also important to stay hydrated, especially if you are out exploring in the marvellous landscape of Scotland. We use Water to Go water bottles to fill up with water from running streams when we are hiking. 

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.

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.

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?

We know travel insurance is the least enjoyable thing to purchase and look at when you’re planning a trip, however, you wouldn’t want to be without it in the event that something happened. Accidents can happen anywhere and the extortionate medical bills will ruin your trip if you are not covered.

To ensure you have a stress-free trip with no worries about potential medical bills, make sure you cover yourself when you travel. We can recommend using SafetyWing, a backpacker-friendly and cheap insurance company that provides good coverage and support. It is also nomad-friendly, unlike most other insurance companies, meaning you do not need to worry about being out of your home country for too long.

Get a quote for your travel insurance right here and get covered!

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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