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A short walk of Fyrish Hill, near Evanton

Written by Fiona

May 29 2023

I enjoyed a short but rewarding walk of Fyrish hill, near Evanton, in Easter Ross with my daughter.

Fyrish hill walk

“It’s just around the next corner,” I tell my daughter several times as we ascend the Easter Ross hill of Cnoc Fyrish.

“No, well, it must be just over the next brow of the hill, or maybe the next one,” I suggest to her a little while later.

Although I’ve walked to the 1486ft summit before, I’m convinced the unique landmark that awaits 23-year-old Havana and I will come sooner than it does.

And it’s not as if there is nothing else to see during the 3.7-mile stroll on the signposted Jubilee Path from a car park located north of the village of Evanton.

At first, we walk on a track that undulates through a peaceful forest, where occasionally we glimpse a wider rolling landscape between tall and narrow tree trunks.

A short descent on stone steps takes us to a bridge over a gently burbling stream before a short but steeper climb on the other side.

As we continue through more trees, Havana and I chat companionably and settle into a relaxed pace. We have not seen each other for a couple of months and while we frequently talk on the phone, there is always so much more to be said when we’re together.

Higher still, the path rises above the trees and we stop to enjoy an expansive vista that looks over the town of Alness, across a vast patchwork of fields and towards the Cromarty Firth. In the distance, I point out several oil rigs that manage to look both incongruous and strikingly handsome amid the natural scenery.

The rigs are not drilling in the waters here. They are either in the process of being decommissioned or waiting to be moved to the North Sea for work again.

We continue past a small loch and find ourselves suddenly amid a wilder moorland. The ground either side of the path is covered with thick, purple-brown heather and dotted with green shrubs and smaller trees.

It’s at this point that I start to talk excitedly about the surprising sight that “really isn’t that far away”. Unwilling to reveal to Havana what it is, I simply encourage her to walk a bit faster so the the big reveal will come sooner.

And, then, finally we spot it: An impressive arched monument that dominates the hilltop. The huge structure with three central arches and four flanking towers was built in the early 1780s by the then local laird, Sir Hector Munro. 

He was commander of British Forces in India, where they defeated the Dutch at the Siege of Negapatam. He later returned home during a time of widespread Highland clearances. 

The history books tell that when he realised how many local people were unemployed and living in poverty, he paid them to build the monument.  The landmark was meant as a tribute to his victory at Negapatam and was formed as a replica of the gates of Negapatam.

Standing at the foot of one of the arches, Havana and I gaze up in wonder and discuss how exhausting it would have been to bring the stones to the summit.

We survey, too, the view below, from the North Sea, along the Cromarty Firth and towards a famous local mountain, Ben Wyvis. 

Our descent route is similar to the ascent, except for a short detour, just past the loch, where a small sign points out the alternative path.

Walking downhill is faster and easier and our non-stop conversation only abates when I stop a few times to point out wild flowers and bushes of blaeberries.

While only a short hill route, Havana and I agree the rewards of Cnoc Fyrish are so much larger. 

Fyrish walk details

Start/finish: Car park on the Novar Estate, accessed from a narrow road off  B9176, towards Boath  and north of Evanton.

Distance: 3.7 miles / 6km 

Total ascent: 984ft/ 300m 

Time: 1 hour 30 mins to 2 hours 30 minutes.

See: Strava and Walk Highlands.

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