© Dave Fergusson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The historic fishing village of Avoch (pronounced with a silent 'v') lies on the Black Isle, on the north bank of the Moray Firth, a 15-minute drive from Inverness. There is a small harbour here, built in 1815 next to which are public toilets. The sand and shingle beach stretches west of the harbour, and is backed by a sea wall and the traditional stone and whitewashed houses of the village.
The Moray Firth is home to a colony of bottlenose dolphins and there is some good birdlife to be seen in the area as well as the possibility of spotting seals bobbing up and down in the surf. Dolphin watching boat trips leave from the harbour.
From the road backing the beach, on which there is a limited amount of parking, stone steps lead down to the shore. The Avoch Burn enters the sea at the western end of the village. Further west is the Ormond Hill headland, the site of 12th century Ormond Castle, which was the stronghold of Andrew de Moray, who joined forces with William Wallace to fight against the armies of Edward Longshanks, the "hammer of the Scots" at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in the First Scottish War of Independence.
The quiet, picturesque village is well worth checking out. It has a number of facilities including accommodation, a co-operative store and a fish and chip restaurant. There are some pleasant walks in the area including a trip along the disused railway line between Avoch and Fortrose.