Visit the Black Isle and Cromarty
The Black Isle is not an island but is, in fact, a peninsula, in the Scottish Highlands.
It is about 23 miles long by about 9 miles wide at its broadest point and is more or less oval in shape. Situated just to the north of Inverness with Dingwall to the west, it can be reached via the A9 from the south or north, or the A832 from the west.
It is attached to the mainland at the heads of the Cromarty and Beauly Firths, and the description 'Black' is no more correct than 'Isle'. The exact origin of its name is unknown, though there are at least six possible explanations of why it became the "Black" Isle, ranging from the most intriguing, through its association with witchcraft and the black arts in mediaeval times, to the more prosaic, that the soil here is very black, or that it has so many trees that it looks black when viewed from surrounding areas in Winter.
Cromarty, poised on the tip of the Black Isle at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth is the Highlands' best preserved historic town. But Cromarty is more than just an 18th century town in stasis. For modern travellers and holidaymakers it can provide a wealth of attractions: sandy beaches, unusual architecture, Bottlenose Dolphins, eating places, a multi-award winning museum, beautiful countryside, wildlife, and bird reserves of international importance, to name but a few.
The Black Isle Brewery started in 1998 and now makes top quality beers that stand among the best in the country, using organically produced barley and hops. The labelling and packaging is deliberately contemporary and styled to, in some small way, help dispel the sometime commonly held notion that 'organics' is all about slightly cranky, no-knickered, tepee dwellers living off brown rice and lentils.
Sales have grown 50% each year and it now sells the length of the country either directly or through wholesalers. The Brewery has a share in Hootananny, a new Scottish Ceilidh Bar in Inverness with live traditional music every night of the week. There is also a brewery shop that it plans to develop over the next few years.
To find it - From Inverness take the A9 north over the Kessock Bridge. Take the third turning on the right, signposted for Allangrange and The Brewery. Then 70 metres to a T Junction where you turn left. Then after 150 metres turn right. Follow this road for approximately 1.5 km and turn right where you see the brewery sign.
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