For a great short hike on the east coast of the Scottish Highlands, look no further than the woodland walk to Fyrish Monument. Located just outside of Alness, on the Cromarty Firth, the quick uphill to Fyrish Monument (Cnoc Fyrish) in Scotland is a great way to start, or like us, round off, an amazing road trip on the NC500 (North Coast 500).
In this guide, we’ll talk about what and where Fyrish Monument is. We’ll also provide a GPS map of the trail as well as a quick trail description. Afterwards, we’ll discuss how to get to Cnoc Fyrish for the walk and let you know other things to do in the Alness area.
To see footage of the Fyrish Monument walk in Alness, Scotland, please watch our NC500 Hikes YouTube production.
For other great natural attractions and hikes along the NC500, check out our guides on Wailing Widow Falls, The Bone Caves and Duncansby Head. Otherwise, read our Complete Guide to Hikes Along the NC500 post, where we talk about 18 fantastic NC500 hikes.
Table of Contents
What Is the Fyrish Monument?
The Fyrish Monument was built or rather commissioned, by Sir Hector Munro in 1782. Munro was a laird of the local area and had served as a general in India. During his time in India, Munro took a port in Madras where the Gates of Nagapatam are found. According to historians, the Fyrish Monument is said to be a replica of the Gate to Nagapatam, as a tribute to Sir Hector’s time in India.
To build the Fyrish Monument, Sir Hector Munro enlisted the local population during the Highland clearances. In return for food during the famine, the Scottish people left on the land, with very little, set about building the monument on Cnoc Fyrish. They built Fyrish Monument by carrying stones all the way uphill. Legend says Sir Hector Munro would roll them back down in order to keep the locals employed for longer.
Where Is Fyrish Monument?
Fyrish Monument is located just outside of Alness in the Scottish Highlands. A short but fairly steep walk leads through a very pretty woodland up to the moorland clearing where the Cnoc Fyrish Monument stands proudly. The impressive stone arched structure looks over the vast Cromarty Firth below. Additionally, on a clear day, there are views across to neighbouring Ben Wyvis and even out to the North Sea.
The Fyrish Monument is just 24 miles (38km) north of Inverness and is located on the northeast coast of Scotland. If you’re completing the NC500 (North Coast 500), the walk to Fyrish Monument may well be one of the first or last attractions that you see on the famous loop.
About Fyrish Monument Walk
The walk to Cnoc Fyrish is a short 6.5km out-and-back hike. The trail is clear, easy to follow and I dare say, you should have little chance of getting lost. Though don’t count your chickens, we have a GPS map below for you. The popular trail on the outskirts of Alness will surely get the heart pumping. It’s a straight uphill to extensive views across the Cromarty Firth and is easily a worthy stop on the NC500.
Trail Preview & Map of Fyrish Monument, Alness
- Trail Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 6.3km
- Time: 1–1.5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 280m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Fyrish Car Park
- Map: Wikiloc
The Fyrish Monument Walk
From the car park, head to the sign which indicates the ‘Jubilee Path to Fyrish Monument’. Passing through the gate there and heading into the cover of woodland, the walk begins. A wide trail stretches ahead. The walk is pretty and easy to navigate, with any elevation gain fairly minimal at this stage as the path undulates through the forest.
After around 700m, you’ll notice the path to Cnoc Fyrish begins to ascend more sharply. The path crosses a small bridge over a stream (Contullich Burn), before steeply climbing through the woodland landscape.
Eventually, as the tree cover starts to open, you’ll pass a small lochan on your left. Its bijoux size and quaint location make it a lovely stop to wander down and investigate. But, from there, you’re a short distance from the grand Fyrish Monument. The final section of the trail is completely out of the tree cover now, and the famed views from Cnoc Fyrish start to come into view.
Cnoc Fyrish Monument
The Fyrish Monument is a sturdy stone structure consisting of three arches and additional pillar ruins on either end. It’s more a wall than a building. Considering each stone had to be heaved individually to the summit, it makes the structure even more impressive.
The views from the Fyrish Monument are truly splendid. Through the arched windows of the pseudo-Gate of Negapatam are differing lookout spots along the Cromarty Firth, and the boats that litter its waters. In addition, Ben Wyvis should pop into view in the west.
Essentially though, serving nothing more than ornamental purpose, the Fyrish Monument is, of course, just a folly. Yet still, generations later, perhaps this folly has now found its purpose. It leads many a local and visitors alike along a fabulous woodland walk to enjoy the outstanding Highland views through its stone arch windows. Indeed, the Fyrish Monument walk has cemented its place as a must-see attraction along the NC500.
To return to the car park, just head back the way you came.
Other Monuments of Fyrish
For those who want to elongate their walk, it’s possible to see a few more ruins on Cnoc Fyrish. If you follow the trail beyond the Fyrish Monument, descending the hillside slightly, you’ll pass a stream and waterfall. There is a trail that descends directly down the hillside and soon reaches the ruins of a supposed bell tower at Creag Ruadh. Beyond this monument is another – Meann Chnoc is known as ‘little Fyrish’, due to its similar build.
From there, you can either return back to Fyrish Monument and descend the way you came. Alternatively, you can choose to follow one of the many trails that meander through the woodland and back to the car park that way.
If you add on these two additional Fyrish Monument buildings, then you should use a GPS map, or some other form of directions, to ensure you stay on track.
Fyrish View From Below
To view Cnoc Fyrish from below, you can head to the shoreline of Cromarty Firth at Alness and Dalmore. We think it looks better to reach the Fyrish Monument itself, via the woodland walk. But, it is possible to see it standing tall on the hillside from below.
Of course, to get the best views from Fyrish Monument and across the Cromarty Firth, you’ll be wanting a clear day. To that end, you can check the Alness weather here for an accurate forecast.
Unlike many hill or mountain walks in Scotland, Cnoc Fyrish is a fine walk you can complete any time of year. Indeed, a snow walk to Fyrish Monument creates a very different hike to one in summer, where the purple heather will be in bloom by August.
How to Get to the Fyrish Monument
Fyrish Monument sits on the outskirts of the small town of Alness on the A9 in Scotland. To get to the Fyrish Car Park, head east out of Alness along the B817 before taking a right turn onto B916, towards Contullich. At Contullich, take a left turn onto Boath Road, and follow it the short distance to Fyrish Car Park, which will be on the left-hand side.
For Fyrish Monument directions, follow the address Unnamed Rd, Alness, Alness IV17 0XL, if using Google Maps. You can find the car park here.
If travelling from Inverness for the day, or starting the NC500 in an anti-clockwise direction, then head north along the A9 towards Alness, passing by the Cromarty Firth over the Cromarty Bridge. At the foothills of the Fyrish Monument, you’ll turn left onto Struie Road (B9176) and then head towards Contullich. From there, follow the same directions as above, by turning left onto Boath Road.
Getting to Fyrish Monument in Alness, or any of the attractions along the NC500 in Scotland is certainly easiest with your own vehicle. If you don’t have access to your own car/motorbike/camper, then we really recommend hiring something. If hiring a car on a trip, we always get the ball rolling with a search on RentalCars.com. Booking a car with Rentalcars.com is easy and stress-free, plus they offer an unbeatable free cancellation policy too.
Public Transport to Cnoc Fyrish
If you want to use public transport for the Fyrish Monument walk, then you can take a bus (#25) from Inverness to Alness. The journey takes around 45 minutes. From Alness, you will need to walk to the car park where the Jubilee Walk trailhead is located. This will add an extra 4km (2km in either direction), onto the hike. You can check buses here.
Alternatively, you can take a train from Inverness to Alness. The train takes around 45 minutes and you can check the timetable here.
Nearest Accommodation to Fyrish Monument
There are some lovely accommodation options located in Alness and on the doorstep of Cromarty Firth. Below, we’ll take a look at the best budget, mid-range and luxury options.
- Budget – Commercial Hotel: located in the heart of Alness is the Commercial Hotel. The Commercial conveniently comes with a restaurant and bar, and guests can enjoy a delicious continental breakfast.
- Mid-range – Kirkside Holiday Home: the fabulous holiday apartment of Kirkside Holiday Home is well located for the Fyrish Monument Walk.
- Luxury – Balnagown Estates: for those really looking to push the boat out, and experience life as a Scottish laird, then take a look at Balnagown Estates. Here, you’ll get to stay in your own holiday unit within a super pretty pink castle. Located in nearby Kildary, the estate is a quick 20-minute drive from the Cnoc Fyrish walk.
Accommodation In Inverness
Given how close Inverness is to Cromarty Firth, Alness and the Fyrish Monument, you might find a city location works better for you. Below, is our pick of some top accommodation options in Inverness.
- Budget – Bazpackers: for the budget conscious of us, Bazpackers offers incredible accommodation in the heart of Inverness. With a shared kitchen and hammocks in the garden to enjoy, it’s a sociable place. Plus, we hear there are pretty stellar views out to Inverness Castle.
- Mid-range – Drumdale Bed & Breakfast: great location, clean rooms, tasty breakfast and friendly hosts. In short, Drumdale Bed & Breakfast is one of the best places to stay in Inverness.
- Luxury – Ness Walk: if you’re looking for the ultimate luxury to kick off or round off your NC500 road trip, then look no further than Ness Walk. Located centrally, the hotel classes Inverness Castle as a neighbour. The rooms are stylishly decorated and include a private bathroom and individual terrace.
You can check here for more information on wild camping in Scotland.
Other Nearby Attractions to Alness, Scotland
Of course, this east coast part of the NC500 is awash with attractions. Yes, the major drool-worthy hiking trails are on the west coast, but, there’s still plenty to enjoy on the east. Let’s take a look.
- Cromarty Bay: at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth is Cromarty Bay (also known as Cromarty Beach). This lovely little historical town has an award-winning museum and plenty of options for a quick bite to eat. You can take a boat trip from the harbour and if you’re lucky (like, really lucky), you might spot a dolphin or two out to sea.
- Rogie Falls: not too far from Fyrish Monument, and heading west out of Inverness, is another stunning attraction along the NC500. Rogie Falls is a wonderful waterfall where you can watch Atlantic Salmon battling to make it upstream.
- Inverness: as the Highland’s capital, it would be a shame not to spend a few days exploring the city’s delights.
Hiking Essentials For the Fyrish Monument Walk
These are our five hiking gear essentials for the Fyrish Monument walk in Scotland! For a more extensive hiking gear list, check out our 66 Travel Accessories You Must Travel With. Alternatively, for a general summary of everything you’d need for a trip to Scotland and the North Coast 500, visit our Ultimate Packing Checklist.
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: these hiking boots are super comfortable and lightweight.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for hiking, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a value for money pair of water-resistant convertible trousers.
- How long does it take to climb Fyrish? It takes roughly around 1.5 hours to climb to the Fyrish Monument.
- How high is the Fyrish Monument? Cnoc Fyrish stands 450 metres above sea level. It’s no wonder the views are so good.
- How many Fyrish Monuments are there? As described above, there are three monuments in total. There is the main Fyrish Monument and the additional Little Fyrish and Bell Tower. It’s fairly straightforward to see them all if you do a longer walk.