|To:||Dunrobin Castle, Golspie (NC848012)|
|Via:||Fortrose, Dingwall, Tain, Bonar Bridge|
|Distance:||145 miles (233.3 km)|
|Meets:||A9, A82, A833, A831, A832, A835, A834, A9, A836, A837, A839, A836, A9|
|Old route now:||A82, B9161, A832, A835, A834, A862, A9, B9176, B817, A9, B9175, B9165, B9174, A9, A836, A949, A9|
The Pictish Trail runs around the Black Isle and Easter Ross to the north of Inverness. In may ways, it compliments the Moray Firth Tourist Route, with the two able to be linked together for a more in depth explore of the area. For much of the way, it relies on the A9 north of Inverness, but with detours to sites of interest which are related to the Picts. Whilst not as well signposted as most other tourist routes in the north of Scotland, This is perhaps because it is not an explicit route, more a collection of places which can be visited. Nevertheless, there are some suggested directions, which are outlined below.
Inverness to Alness
The trail starts at the Museum in the centre of Inverness, and after a slight diversion down the A82 it heads out over the Kessock Bridge on the A9. Turning right onto the B9161, the trail runs north east across the Black Isle on the A832, through Avoch and Fortrose to Rosemarkie, for another museum. From here, there are a selection of routes to continue, either doubling back down the A832 and A835 to Dingwall, or continuing to Cromarty at the tip of the Black Isle. From Cromarty, the ferry can be taken to Nigg (missing some of the trails destinations), or the B9163 can be used along the southern shore of the Cromarty Firth to Dingwall.
Dingwall to Tain
After a detour along the A834 from Dingwall to Strathpeffer for a standing stone, the trail follows the A9 north to Alness. Another detour leads up the B9176 to Ardross, but the main route runs out along the B817 through Invergordon. Back on the A9, the Nigg Roundabout is quickly reached, and the route takes a circuitous route around the shore visiting standing stones and the Tarbat Discovery Centre at Portmahomack. From the roundabout, therefore, the route follows the B9175 south to Nigg, then minor roads through Balintore to meet the B9165 into Portmahomack, from where a trip out to the lighthouse at Tarbat Ness is a must. Doubling back, the scenic C1004 heads west to Tain, and its museum.
Tain to Golspie
The final section of the trail briefly follows the A9 from Tain, before sticking to the southern shore of the Dornoch Firth on the A836. At Edderton, there are more stones, one in the churchyard, and then the route continues west to Bonar Bridge, past another stone at Ardgay. From here, the A949 leads back along the firth to the A9, with a final stone at Creich. A detour into Dornoch is not part of the trail, but recommended, and then it is north on the A9 to Golspie and Dunrobin Castle, for the museum. A mile further north, and not part of the trail, is the ruined Broch of Carn Liath between the road and the coast.