The Tain Peninsula
The Tain Peninsula forms the boundary of Easter Ross with two routes crossing it, the A836 heading directly north to Bonar Bridge or the more travelled A9 across the new Dornoch Bridge and all points beyond.
With Glenmorangie Distillery on its doorstep producing the best selling malt whisky in Scotland, the market town of Tain has an air of malted barley as well as noble antiquity. The Glenmorangie Distillery and Visitor Centre is open throughout the year. The name means 'Glen of Tranquility' which is particularly apt for lovers of this fine malt.
The Tain and District Museum in Castle Brae, just off the High Street, forms a good introduction to the town's past as well as being the Clan Ross Centre. The Tolbooth is the most distinctive piece of architecture, a sixteenth century tower with an equally ancient bell. Tain golf course, laid out near the Whiteness Sands and overlooking the Firth to Dornoch, has the makings of a true links course and was designed by Old Tom Morris.
The rest of the Tain Peninsula is rather bleak with the countenance of heavy oil-associated industry marring the southern shores. The community of Shandwick is known for its caves and a cross slab standing 9ft (3m) tall and occupying a field above the village. It was erected in memory of three Norse princes who were shipwrecked near here. The nearby villages are not so attractive with modern holiday bungalows as well as jets constantly roaring overhead from Lossiemouth on the opposite side of the Firth.
The erection of the relatively new Dornoch Bridge has saved much motoring time by cutting off an 18 mile (29km) trip around the Dornoch Firth via Bonar Bridge and back along the other side. Now the A9 slices across the Firth but there are good reasons, unless you are in a hurry to travel north, to continue along the old A9 towards Bonar Bridge.
There is a turning just before Bonar Bridge to Strath
Carron and Croick Church, some 10 miles (16km) up the glen. Here, in the spring of
1845, the families who had been evicted from their crofts in Glencalvie sought shelter
in makeshift lean-tos and scratched messages on the church windows that can still
be read. 'Glencalvie people was here, May 24th 1845,' reads one. Another states 'Glencalvie
people, the accursed generation' while a more sardonic message notes, 'This place
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