fyrish monument
Europe,  scotland

How to climb Fyrish Monument on the NC500

Fyrish Monument was one of the first stops on our North Coast 500 trip. Built in 1798 on Fyrish Hill, it offers visitors a magnificent view over the Cromarty Firth and across to Ben Wyvis (one of Scotland’s popular Munros). We were lucky enough to arrive on a gloriously sunny July day, making for a pleasant climb (despite the midges).

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Fyrish Monument history – the story behind the structure

fyrish hill

The unusual stone monument is a nod to the Gate of Negapata in India. It was commissioned by Sir Hector Munro, a native lord to the area in 1782, who had been a British Commander in India. It’s told that Sir Hector showed some compassion towards locals as they were being (often violently) evicted during the Highland Clearances.

The Clearances evictions were a controversial movement that is still an emotive subject with a lot of Scots to this day. Landlords, who were not making a large enough profit from poor tenants, forcibly removed them by burning down crofts. To this day, there are now more Highland descendants living outside Scotland than there are inside.

The romantic version of the story goes, that Sir Hector created extra work for those working on the construction of his monument. He asked for every rock and boulder be rolled down the hill by hand, meaning the assembly was painstaking long and drew out employment time for local workers.

What is the meaning of Fyrish? The stones get their ‘Fyrish’ name from their location – an ancient area of land found just north of Evanton, Ross-shire, in the Scottish Highlands. You can see the monument as you drive along the coastal road (which is part of the famous NC500 trail.)

How do I get to Fyrish Monument?

Getting to the monument is relatively easy, although we did take a wrong turn just before the stop due to all three of us having different Google Map results.

Fyrish Hill is about a 50-minute drive to the North of Inverness. It’s an easy drive up the A9, with lots of coastal views along the way. Once you arrive at the car park, the route (known as Jubilee Path) is a 2 mile forest hike. Walk Highlands recommends sturdy walking shoes, and I would echo that. We had a dry day, but even then, the path was boggy in parts, and towards the top the ground is rock-strewn and will put pressure on ankles and knees.

How long does it take to climb Fyrish Monument?

fyrish monument views
climb Fyrish Monument

In total, it took us a 2 hours to go up and down, and this allowed ample time for lots of photos. It’s worth noting that we are reasonably healthy and accustomed to this kind of climb. It is more realistic to allow 3 hours; regardless, the trip is doable in a half day.

The walk is quite a straightforward one, clearly sign posted and following one track for most of the route. I’ve had a few people ask my if Fyrish Monument is suitable for children. We saw a lot of kids on the trail, and so I’d say, “Yes” (as long as they are used to longer walks with a heavy climb).

The track begins with a heavy forest; lush green with boggy paths and rife with midges. As this climbs, there are some significant inclines. Along the trail, there are plenty of natural stop points for weary walkers to catch a breath. Some wonderful view points from the gaps in the trees (above) and the small pond make for a welcome stop to call for a breather and sink some water.

How high is Fyrish Monument?

Cnoc Fyrish, the hill on which the monument sits, is 1,478 feet tall (450 meters.)

Fyrish Monument parking – how do you get to Fyrish car park and Jubilee Path?

jubilee path

There is a free car park right at the start of Jubilee Path. The pine-forest walk is a popular one for both visitors and locals alike, and this car park fills up early.

Following the A9 up from Inverness, the road veers off on to the B1976 and along Struie Road. From here, you’ll find a left turn for Contullich, and the car park is not that much further up on the left side of the minor road to Boath.

This small, purpose-built car park at the bottom of the hill can be tricky to find. Google Maps got awfully confused when we put the destination in, so make note that you are searching for the minor road to Boath.

Once you take the turn off to Boath, drive for about a mile until you reach a cluster of trees to your left. You’ll find the car park here, marked by a small sign. It’s advised that you get here really early (especially during the summer months) as this little parking spot fills up quickly.

If you’re struggling to find the car park and have a sat nav, these are the coordinates to take you to Jubilee Path Parking: N57 42.726, W004 18.302.

Accommodation near Fyrish Monument

We’ve done the NC500 a few times now and stayed in different accommodation across those occasions. Inverness is an option, however, I’m still to find somewhere I love enough to write about there.

North Star Glamping pods – If you’re doing the North Coast 500 and heading north anyway, my favourite east Highland accommodation stop is North Star glamping. These luxury pods are a good 1hr 50min drive from Fyrish monument, but the drive up the coast (and all the little stops along the way) made it feel like much less. With under-floor heating, a plush double bed (and extra pull out double sofa bed), and breakfast in the morning, these cabins were a welcome cosy place to relax after a day of zooming about the coast. Take note, there’s only 2 of these, and they book up fast!

Check North Star Glamping availability

north star glamping scotland
North Star Glamping

Royal Golf Hotel Dornoch – A hotel with a view! Just 50 mins north of the monument, Royal Golf Hotel sits just 50 yards from the legendary Royal Dornoch Golf Club and offers hotel rooms and serviced apartments. Despite being a 4-star hotel, their rooms start at a reasonably low price (for the area) and can be just as cheap as the glamping pods).

Check Royal Golf Hotel Dornoch availability

Royal Golf Hotel Dornoch
Royal Golf Hotel Dornoch

If you’re looking for other cool things to do in the Scottish Highlands, read my post about Scotland’s secret pyramid hiding in the Cairngorms.

Doing Fyrish Monument as part of the North Coast 500? Check out my 4 day itinerary post for hotel and sightseeing inspiration.

Travel writer, marketing adviser and blogger based in Edinburgh, with a focus on budget and vegan travel. 39 countries to date, with extensive knowledge of travel within Asia, particularly within Thailand.

2 Comments

  • Lynette Carson-Hogg

    Discovered your blog whilst working out how to get to Wailing Widow Falls.

    Next time you are up North, you should do Fyrish again but continue on and visit the Bell Tower and Wee Fyrish.

    • Sarah

      Hi Lynette 🙂
      So we were really keen to do the smaller monument but we were on such a tight timescale that to would have meant missing out the other things we did that day. 🙁
      I don’t think I appreciated how close Fyrish was to Inverness though, so we’ll defo be back! 🙂

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