Friday, October 23, 2015

North Coast 500 - A Scottish Golfing Tour. Day 2

Inverness Castle
And so the golf begins. After, that is, a 70 mile drive through the stunningly scenic Cairngorms National Park. Call it the gateway to the Scottish Highlands if you like, for this is some introduction, with wave after wave of mountains disappearing into the distance.

Mountains are ever present, too, from the first golf course on the list of 26. Loch
Ness Golf Course has views spilling north over the Moray Firth and beyond, to the Northern Highlands and Ben Wyvis. The course seems to honour those views with a rolling and hilly disposition, with your approach shot on the 1st hitting straight up hill. The club sits between the most southerly suburbs of Inverness and forest, and while the course may not be of the highest maintenance quality, it more than makes up for it with fun holes like the one below.
The par three 13th hits straight down between the Beech trees.
For the non golfers... there's also foot golf... as demonstrated here.
The 'Wee' course is 9 holes, and offers golf and footgolf

I played Fortrose & Rosemarkie a few years ago and really enjoyed the place. Sitting at the tip of the ominously named Black Isle, the course fills a spit of land that juts out into the Moray Firth like a spearhead. Water on both sides, on a windswept location is always going to cause trouble. The wind was strong today and the short par three 5th, just 122 yards, needed a full five iron to get anywhere near the green. This is links golf where the bump and run is not only the best option... it may also be the only option.
The 1st hole is a straight par four, but the tip of this spit of land is Chanonry
Point, where you can see the lighthouse and people gathered
on the beach... waiting for the dolphins. 
The 4th green, with the 5th green/flag beyond. This is the farthest point of
the course.
Views back down the beach, over the 4th green
The ever-present views form a perfect backdrop as you watch your ball fly ever in the wrong direction.

Or just go down to Chanonry Point, on the beach beyond the lighthouse and try to catch sight of the pod of dolphins. They come for the salmon, and are usually seen about an hour after low tide.

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