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A Friendly Welcome to Dingwall Scotland
is the County Town of Ross and Cromarty, a mere 12 miles away from the
City of Inverness. Sitting at the head of the Cromarty Firth, Dingwall
was made a Royal Burgh in 1226 and is an excellent base from which to
visit many of the interesting parts of the east coast, the Black Isle
and - to the west - the glens of the central Highlands.
Accommodation in and around Dingwall
Price Guide - per person based on sharing room: under $40 - $41 - 70 - more than $70
Things to Do
Walks Around Dingwall
Starting at the river bridge in Tulloch Street, follow the waymarkers
along the canal bank for Ferry Picnic Site and Pitglassie. Beyond the
railway crossing, tree-lined paths run along both sides of the Canal to
the Ferry Picnic Site.
This can be a good place for spotting wintering wild fowl such as greylag geese, widgeon and goldeneye. The path allows you to turn away from the estuary and head towards Pitglassie Farm. See map below - the route is marked in green.
This route climbs via Craig Wood to visit Tulloch Castle, overlooking
the Town, and returns via Tulloch Wood. It is about 3 1/2 miles long and
takes about 2 hours
Running up the Dingwall side of a deep gully, you eventually get great views over the Town and the Cromarty Firth towards the Black Isle. At the top of Craig Wood, the route crosses the road to Evanton (beware of traffic!) and then heads left for Tulloch Farm and the Castle, which is now a popular hotel and conference centre.
The path continues beyond the castle on an old tree-lined drive. Follow
the waymarkers for the Town centre which take you back down through Tulloch
Wood to Bridgend Avenue and Tulloch Avenue. See map below - the route
is marked in red.
This is a pleasant walk up through farmland to the crofting settlement on the south side of Knockfarrel, the site of an Iron Age fort, returning via Fodderty and Brae Farm. It is about 5 1/2 miles in length and takes about 2 1/2 hours.
Follow the A834 west along the High Street until it bears sharp right. Here take the left junction, Knockbain Road, up the hill and follow the waymarkers for Knockfarrel and Strathpeffer. The road goes past Knockbain Farm and out on to open countryside. Further on there are excellent views over Dingwall to the Cromarty Firth. The path eventually joins the small road running through the crofting settlement of Knockfarrel overlooking Loch Ussie - a haven for wildlife.
The hill of Knockfarrel was the site of a 3,000-year-old Iron Age fort and you can still see the vitrified wall where stones were melted together by fire to create strong ramparts. From the summit there are wonderful panoramic views in all directions. From Knockfarrel the return route back to Dingwall takes you via Fodderty, Brae Farm and Lower Dochcarty. See map below the route is marked in blue.
Here in Easter Ross and The Black Isle....
Fine Single Malt
History of the Picts
History of Dingwall A Bríef History of Dingwall by David MacDonald
Dingwall owes its place-name to Norwegian Vikings who ruled northern Scotland from about the end of the ninth century AD. Dingwall, at the sheltered head of the Cromarty Firth and a place from which the west coast could be reached by way of easy overland routes along the river valleys, became a significant place of Viking administration and decision making. In Norse the name Dingwall means meeting place.
Positioned on the frontier between Norse held northern Scotland and the kingdom of the Scots, Dingwall was fought over by both sides. It is believed that during one of the periods it was in the hands of the Scots Dingwall was where Macbeth was born in 1005.
It is thought that the town of Dingwall was first created by the Norse Earl Thorfinn the Mighty round about 1050.
Control of the area by the Scottish Kings was not finally achieved until about 1200. In 1226 King Alexander II erected Dingwall into a royal burgh with trading rights throughout Scotland and overseas. The layout of the old town centre is recognisably medieval. There are still buildings gable-ended to the High Street with narrow lanes (locally termed closes or courts) running between them.
The fortress at Dingwall, probably first established by the Norse, became one of the thirty royal castles of the Scottish kingdom. During the War of Independence the Castle was garrisoned by the forces of Edward I of England. It was captured for Robert Bruce by William, Earl of Ross. From the Castle in 1314 the Earl led the men of Ross to play their part in the Battle of Bannockburn. In reward King Robert in 1321 granted the Castle with the town and lands of Dingwall to the Earl of Ross.
The Castle became the main residence of the Earl of Ross, who met with the lords of his council on the moothill of Dingwall, just as earlier the Viking Earl and his chieftains had done.
In 1411 Angus, Lord of the Isles, unsuccessfully sought to win his claim to the earldom by seizing Dingwall Castle. Eventually in 1438 Alexander, Lord of the Isles, was recognised as Earl of Ross.
Alexander settled in Dingwall where he lived as a great prince. From there, as one of the two Justiciars of Scotland, he ruled the whole of Scotland north of the Tay. His son John was not as successful. He unwisely made a secret treaty with Edward IV of England to share Scotland between them. When James III, King of Scots, discovered the existence of that treaty, he had the earldom confiscated in 1475. Ever since, the second son of the monarch has held the title of Earl of Ross. The Castle and the burgh again became royal possessions.
Favoured by the Crown, the power of Clan Mackenzie spread throughout Ross. No longer needed for control of Ross, the Castle of Dingwall was abandoned by the Crown about 1600. The Castle slowly fell into ruin and was used as a quarry until it was finally levelled in 1817, leaving visible, but few, fragments.
With administration of Ross no longer centred on Dingwall Castle the town after 1600 slipped into a state of poverty, but clung on to its status as a royal burgh. Events in the eighteenth century brought the beginnings of a revival in the town’s fortunes.
The 1707 Treaty of Union ended a Parliament in Edinburgh, but maintained Dingwall’s right to play a part in the sending of a member to the United Kingdom Parliament at Westminster. Each of the northern Scottish royal burghs – Dingwall, Tain, Dornoch, Wick, Thurso and Kirkwall – had one vote in the election of an MP to represent all five of them. Dingwall town council became notorious for accepting bribes in return for its vote. In 1730 money for that vote was used to build Dingwall’s Town House. By the same means in 1774 Dingwall built its first town clock on the central tower of the Town House. It stood there until 1906, when the present clock tower, a near-replica of the first, was erected.
Feuding between Mackenzies and Munros for Dingwall’s parliamentary vote led at times to violent riots on Dingwall High Street. In 1740 the wife of a Mackenzie councillor was fatally shot when Munro troops opened fire along the High Street.
In 1745 the Provost of Dingwall, the Earl of Cromartie, led his Mackenzie clansmen out in rebellion to join with Prince Charles Edward Stewart. Defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden brought an end to clan violence. In its work of bringing a new order to Ross the Sheriff Court at Dingwall became one of the busiest in Scotland. Defending illicit distillers and smugglers made Dingwall lawyers both prosperous and unusually numerous for a small town.
Towards 1800 agricultural changes created commercial farming and much increased consequent business to the market town. The construction of parliamentary, or Telford, roads in the early nineteenth century made Dingwall the busiest route centre in Northwest Scotland. In 1843 Dingwall, the road centre of Ross, gained full recognition as County Town.
In 1817 a canal was excavated to bring larger ships into the town. The Dingwall designer and builder of the canal ignored Telford’s advice that, to avoid silting, the River Peffery should not flow through it. In 1840 use of the mudded Canal was abandoned.
Railways made Dingwall the key northern Scotland junction, leading to its further growth as an agricultural market and retail centre. Permanent livestock markets were established in the town about 1890. In 2003 these marts relocated to modern premises and freed an extensive town centre site for a large superstore.
Following the South African War of 1899-1902 and then the Great War of 1914-18 three striking memorial monuments were erected. They remain prominent landmarks in the town centre. An impressive stone tower erected in 1907 in commemoration of a local hero, “Fighting Mac”, Major-General Sir Hector MacDonald, from its hilltop site looks northwards over the town.