Let your hair down on the Black Isle

11 March 2019

jocktoberfest

Photo by Cheryl Brind via CC

The Black Isle has long been a popular holiday destination for its beaches, cafes, wildlife and history but of late it has been carving itself a reputation as a brilliant place to come and let your hair down. Here are our top events happening here this summer featuring live music, family friendly entertainment and locally crafted beer.

The Black Isle Show is the north’s biggest agricultural get together. Over the years it has evolved into something much bigger than just a competition between local farmers for the prettiest cow with a host of attractions to keep visitors amused all day. The main arena typically will have crowd pleasing displays from monster trucks or motorcycle stunt teams as well as the hotly contested tug o’ war. Fairground rides, handicrafts stalls and fast food vendors will amuse the children while the buzzing atmosphere in the beer tents where the local community let their hair down will keep the grown ups occupied. The evening dance which is a highlight of the local social calendar is one of the biggest parties of the year when local farmers take a well earned break from the fields and spend the night dancing. You don’t have to drive a tractor to join in the fun though, everyone is most welcome. The Burrow is just a few miles away, a spacious barn converted into a luxurious open plan holiday home for 2. It’s in a great location for getting to all the Black Isle attractions but still feels pleasantly rural. The peace and quiet here will make a great contrast to the crowds at the showground.

Jocktobferst is the annual knees up at the Black Isle Brewery. Held in the first weekend of September at their brewery in Bogallan it is a celebration of local beer, food and music. There are multiple stages in various barns, gallons of freshly brewed organic beer and weekend camping is included in the price of a ticket with kids under 13 going free. This year the theme is nautical with a portion of every ticket sold going towards whale and dolphin conservation. Fancy dress costumes are positively encouraged. For those who don’t fancy a night in a tent then Quarryfield is just a few miles away but in a secluded and peaceful location. It sleeps 16 and is sociable and luxurious so is perfect for a big group to unwind and relax after some hectic partying.

Woodztock is the brainchild of the Wildwoodz paintball team based at Munlochy. It was conceived as a one day family oriented event with local beer and music for the adults and a host of fun activities for the children. Circus skills workshops, lasertag and bushcraft sessions will keep the wee ones amused while a gin and prosecco saloon, artisan cuisine as well as a stand up comedy tent and acoustic stage will ensure nobody is bored. The musical emphasis in the evening is on rock and roll and rhythm and blues, good old fashioned party tunes that will keep people dancing well into the night. The other unique feature is the shuttle busses that will depart just after things finish on Saturday night with stops all round the black isle to get you home safely. The Shore in Fortrose would be a great spot to retire to afterwards, it is family friendly and right beside the water. Dolphin spotting and a sandy beach are just a short walk away.

Cromarty Gala Week is when the community in this small village get together and have fun. There are a host of events including a fancy dress raft race, fishing competition, the famous Nigg-Cromarty swim, skiff races, an inter village tug o’ war and a gala dance in the village hall. There is a brilliant atmosphere in the town for the week, visitors are welcome to compete but spectating is also brilliant fun and it feels like the entire town is involved. Seashell is a traditional stone built cottage situated right in the heart of the village. Its easy to walk to all the gala events from here but it’s so cosy and comfortable you might just be tempted to tarry a while by the wood burning stove.