Fyrish Monument: a great wee hill walk with kids

Climbing Fyrish is one of our favourite hill walks to do with kids. There is a wonderful sense of achievement for them when they reach the monument, and a good quality path all the way. In good weather, the views above the tree-line are fantastic.

Distance: The Jubilee path is 4.5 miles / 7.2km return to the summit. The ascent is approximately 270m.

Parking: Travelling north on the A9, take the B9176. After about 2 miles, turn left at a staggered junction onto a single track road. The car park is on the left after about a mile. It is a large car park, but this is a popular walk and I would think it could get quite busy at weekends in the summer.

Amenities: There are no toilets or other amenities. Alness is the nearest town, and there is a service station by the A9 junction.

Bike/buggy friendly? I would not take a pushchair or kids on bikes up Fyrish; there are longish flights of stone steps on either side of a narrow bridge, and at points the gradient is very steep. See the terrain section for further details. The OS map does indicate that there are cycle trails in the woods.

Fyrish monument: the route

(The photographs here were taken on two separate occasions. Snow is a real possibility outside of summer, and sections of the path can be slippery in icy conditions).

1. The walk begins on good quality paths rising gently through the woodland.

2. After about half a mile, you will cross a burn via a wooden footbridge with flights of stone steps on either side. After the bridge, the climbing begins in earnest! There are some really quite steep sections of track here.

3. After a while, the gradient eases and the trees begin to thin out. The first glimpses of the Cromarty Firth appear, with the Black Isle beyond.

4. Look out for the wee lochan on the left of the track. It’s a nice spot to stop for a picnic or a rest.

5. Shortly after the lochan, the views really open up on the left of the path.

6. At last you will see the Fyrish monument up ahead. Pause and enjoy it! At this point you can retrace your steps, or continue further along the path to find two other, smaller monuments. We haven’t done this yet, but there is a guide by Tartan Trailblazers here.

What is the Fyrish monument?

The monument was built in 1782 on the orders of Sir Hector Munro, to provide employment for highlanders affected by the Clearances. Sir Hector had served as a general in the British Army in India. The monument was inspired by the Gates of Negapatam.

What is the terrain like? Suitability for children?

This is one of my favourite ‘first hills’ for small children, along with Carn Na Leitire at Abriachan. It’s a manageable size, but the views are fantastic, and my children just love the monument, it’s a brilliant reward for their efforts! I’ve climbed this hill with a 3.5 year old and a 3.75 year old at various times, and they have been so happy with the achievement. Our children do lots of walking, but I think this would be suitable for most children aged 5+, and younger for keen walkers. Go slowly, take plenty of snacks, and make sure your children have grippy footwear and plenty of warm clothing available.

This walk is suitable for taking children in carriers. The only section that feels a bit difficult is the stone steps on either side of the footbridge. In wet weather I would highly recommend walking poles for additional stability.

Overall, a fantastic short walk in the Highlands, and highly recommended for families.

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