Who knew there was more than one monument on Fyrish Hill? I certainly didn’t and I had climbed it twice before. Everyone who’s been to Fyrish Monument knows about the structure at the top. It’s pretty spectacular and can be seen from far away. The other two monuments are hidden deep within the trees and are a little more tricky to locate.
Where is Fyrish Monument?
Fyrish hill is located in Evantan, north of Inverness in The Highlands of Scotland. The distinctive hill is on the NC500 route and makes for an excellent stop while doing this road trip. After finding out about the hidden Fyrish monuments I made it a priority to find them as soon as possible. I plotted the co-ordinates of the two lesser known monuments on my OS Map and eagerly set off on my wee adventure (Meann Choc – NH5970 6844 and Creag Ruadh NH5890 6901).
We started our walk at the Fyrish car park. It was like an ice rink so we carefully had to manoeuvre our way across it to reach the start of the trail. This was probably the most technical part of our day!
Cnoc Fyrish Monument.
We followed the main jubilee path up the hill. It’s a straight forward walk and it took us about an hour to reach Cnoc Fyrish- the more widely known monument at the top of the 453m hill. This is a great spot to watch the sunrise if you manage to get our of your bed early enough!
Cnoc Fyrish was built in 1782 by the orders of Sir Hector Munro, a native Lord who had served in India. He returned home during the Highland clearances and realised many local people were starving and unemployed, so he paid them to carry the stones up and build the monument as a tribute to his great victory in India. It’s is a replica of the gates of Negapatam in South East India. Legend says he would roll the stones back down the hill to keep the men employed for longer.
We were also rewarded with fantastic views across the Cromarty firth from the vantage point at the top. I wondered why there was so many oil rigs in the distance and later discovered it’s the place where the ‘sleeping monsters of the Scottish oil industry are left to rust’. I guess some would call it an oil rig graveyard
Looking West, we could also see Ben Wyvis covered in snow. This is one of Scotland’s 282 Munro’s (a Scottish mountain over 3000 feet) . If you are new to Munro bagging I would definitely recommend this one as a starting point. It has a good path and isn’t too difficult compared to some of the other ones.
To get to the other two monuments you have to continue straight on the path and start to descend the other side of the hill. This is when I needed the help of my map. We passed a waterfall and after 30 minutes or so we came to a rough track leading through the trees. The monument isn’t visible from the main path so please take an OS map so you’re not disappointed. We followed the rough track until we reached Creag Ruadh. The structure reminded me of a bell tower. It’s the smallest of the 3 monuments on Fyrish, and was also built on the instructions of Sir Hector Munro around the same time as the others.
It took us a further 30 minutes going downhill to arrive at the third monument – Meann Chnoc, also known as Little Fyrish. Again it is enclosed by trees and a small path diverges from the main path to lead you to it. We had our lunch here and took some time to admire the works of Sir Munro. It’s clear to see that he definitely got his inspiration from his time in India.
You can retrace your steps and go back to the car park the way you came but we decided to try a different route. There’s so many pathways on Fyrish Hill, and it can seem like a bit of a maze which made it more exciting for me. We used our map and plotted a new route back to the car. All in all it took us 5 hours and we walked 25,000 steps. I would definitely recommend visiting all 3 of the monuments if you climb Fyrish Hill. The treasure hunt makes for a fun and exciting day out!
Map of the three Fyrish Monuments.
When visiting Scotland’s beautiful sites please remember to take only photos and leave only footprints!
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