The most popular place to see dolphins is probably a good indicator of the best place to see them! That’s Chanonry Point between Fortrose and Rosemarkie on the Black Isle. This narrow peninsula is an ideal location with views across the Moray Firth to Fort George and with lots of fellow dolphin watchers you are unlikely to miss any sightings.
Dolphin activity here is influenced by tidal conditions. Dolphins at Chanonry Point can be seen at anytime (and not at all!) but the best time to see them is usually on a rising tide. From around 1 hour after low tide, the tide turns and dolphins start to chase fish in. If you are lucky enough to see dolphins, you'll often be incredibly close and only a matter of metres from them as they feed in the channel. To make it easier for you to plan the best times to go to spot dolphins, we now publish the Fortrose & Chanonry Point Tide Times 2017 complete with guidance notes on how you can calculate optimal dolphin watching times at Chanonry Point on any particular day.
The main viewing area is on shingle beach behind the lighthouse which can be accessed by walking along the beach (tide permitting) or the path near the entrance to the car park.
Directions to Chanonry Point
To find Chanonry Point, head through Fortrose on the Black Isle. Just after the police station turn right and you’ll travel through Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Course. You’ll arrive at small and often busy car park beside the old lighthouse.
This car park gets extremely busy and can get gridlocked. It is highly recommended that you use alternative means to get to Chanonry Point.
Bus 26A or 26C operated by Stagecoach Highlands. From Inverness Bus Station disembark outside the Church of Scotland, Fortrose. Journey time 36 minutes approximately.
Walk past the police station and turn right into Ness Road and then first right into Dean’s Road. On your left after the school playing field walk down the Ness Gap. This takes you towards Fortrose Bay Camp site and onto a footpath to Chanonry Point (approx. 1 mile.)
Alternatively, you can walk along the beach from the Rosemarkie sea front or hire a bike from Rosemarkie Beach Café and cycle the 'Dolphin Mile’. Bikes are also available to hire from Fortrose Bay Camp Site.
There are no facilities at Chanonry Point car park but an ice cream van occasionally arrives. Both Fortrose and Rosemarkie have places to eat, toilet facilities and car parking.
Planning to go dolphin spotting at Chanonry Point?
Fortrose & Chanonry Point Tide Times 2017 (£1.99) are available to download from our bookshop. As used by dolphin spotters, photographers and tourists on the Moray Firth to forecast the best times to spot dolphins. This includes guidance notes in order to get the best times to go dolphin watching at Chanonry Point and North Kessock for any particular day of the year. We also publish a comprehensive guide to watching the Moray Firth Dolphins (£2.99). Visit our bookshop >>>