Ardersier towards Fort George – an accessible coastal walk

This is a beautiful wee walk around the bay from Ardersier village out to Fort George. There are fantastic views of the fort, and also down the Moray Firth. The first section (starting from the village end) is a very high quality path and suitable for all pushchairs (and I would think many wheelchairs). It does get rather bumpy towards the end, see the terrain section for further details.

Distance: The total walk out and back is about 3 miles / 5km. I couldn’t gauge exactly where the bumpier section began, but I think you could do at least 0.75 miles each way (or 1.5 miles return) on the good quality path.

Parking: Several options! We visited Fort George and parked in the car park there, which is just next to the start of the path at that end. The bumpy part of the walk is near Fort George, so it would be better to start in Ardersier if you want the high quality path section. The path starts by the public toilets on the left of the B9039 as you come into the village. There is no obvious parking here, but there is a layby area a little further along the road on the right hand side.

Alternatively, there is a large car park quite a bit further along the path. This can be reached by taking the B9006 and turning left just after the Gun Lodge Hotel. As the car park is at the far end of the village, this option would mean missing out on the village section of the walk, or doing one part of the walk, and then doubling back to the car park to do the other part.

Amenities: The public toilets in Ardersier were locked due to vandalism at the time of our visit. There are several pubs and shops in Ardersier. There is also an excellent playground next to the primary school.

Buggy friendly? We took an off-road pushchair (a Mountain Buggy Duet) on this walk. The Ardersier end of the walk would be suitable for almost all pushchairs, and I would think many wheelchairs also. See the ‘terrain’ section below for photographs of the more difficult stretch near Fort George.

Ardersier to Fort George: the route

  1. The path starts beside the Ardersier public toilets! Unfortunately closed at the time of our visit. It wends its way around the bay behind the houses. At the time of our visit there were beautiful swathes of daffodils.

2. This section of the path is very high quality. Follow it all the way along the village until you reach the car park at the far end.

3. Pass through a gate onto the shoreline. We visited just after a very high spring tide, so there was a lot of seaweed on the path, but I understand this is unusual.

4. Fort George grows steadily closer. There are also lovely views out across the Moray Firth.

5. Towards the end, there is a rougher section with lots of stones on the path, which was pretty bumpy underfoot.

6. The path meets the road just beside the car park for Fort George. Please be aware that the surrounding land is used by the military, particularly the area to the right of the road, behind the car park. I am therefore not sure that it would be possible to continue walking around the coast from here.

What is the terrain like?

Starting from the Ardersier end, the path quality is very good. We had some issues with seaweed on the path coming out of the village, but I think this was the result of an unusually high spring tide. Most of the path around the bay was gravel over hard pack. There was one section nearer to Fort George where the path was really mostly stones (see final picture) and was unavoidably bumpy. You could still have a good walk from Ardersier if you decided to turn around at this point.

Fort George

Fort George itself is well worth a visit, you can find out opening times and ticket prices here. The fort was built after the Battle of Culloden, to protect the sea route into Inverness, as the land juts out into the Moray Firth. The fort is still used as a military establishment but you can view most of it as a member of the public. The views from the walls are fantastic, but there are big drops with no barriers, so please take care if visiting with children.

You might also enjoy these other short walks in and around Inverness.

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