I have been thinking about whether to do this review or not, the reason being I was brought up in Evanton and it is a lovely area but with it being so small I didn't think there was any way I could write a decent enough review. I have now decided I should give it a shot and if you're reading this then I've decided to post it.
Evanton is a small village located in the Highlands of Scotland. It's situated 20 miles North of Inverness so is really easy to get to. Most people within the area will say to you that if you blink you'll miss it.
Over the years the place has changed so much but one thing that hasn't changed is the friendly community. The locals are always something that is welcoming in the village.
What's in the village;
Co-Op - It's a small village but big enough for your essentials until you get to a supermarket. It is very over-priced though so watch what you're buying. There also isn't a big selection.
Post Office - Evanton is lucky enough to still have the Post Office kept open. A lot of areas within the Highlands have unfortunately had the local post office closed down. The Post Office is family run and has been run by the same family ever since I remember.
Scizzors - The local hairdresser which is run by a local called Carol. Again this is another business that has had the same owner ever since I was little. The prices are great and it's definitely a friendly service.
Novar Arms - This is the only hotel in Evanton. It is also very popular with the locals and was my favourite place to go out on the weekend. Nowadays it's a lot quieter than it used to be but they often have bands playing, themed parties e.g Halloween parties. There are bedrooms which I have never stayed in but I have heard that they are decent rooms for a good price (Family Room £35 per person, per night including breakfast). The food is absolutely gorgeous and when I went there the prices were excellent and actually a bargain for the size of portions you get. For more information on this hotel go to http://www.novararms.com/
Balconie Inn - This is the other local pub. It's a lot smaller than the Novar Arms but again it's a very welcoming place. They also serve meals but I have never tried so it's not something I can comment on. There is 2 parts to the pub - the bar and the lounge but both are really small. I noticed when I drove past the other day that it has a gorgeous beer garden area out the back. This area used to be run down but they have done so much with it. There is no accommodation here but it's worth a visit for a few drinks.
Blackrock Caravan Park - You can either take your tent or caravan here and pitch up or you can rent a chalet or a static caravan. This is located quite central to the village and only a couple minutes walk to all the shops. There is a tennis court here and kids pay areas so there is plenty to do whilst staying here. For prices and more info go to - http://www.blackrockscotland.co.uk/
My Highlights of Evanton
Sitting here thinking what really makes Evanton one of my favourite places I have managed to choose a couple of things that makes it one of the nicest villages I haknow.
So here's my top 5 -
5 - The locals - As previously mentioned the locals make this village what it is. If you live here then you have the feel of community spirit. It's so nice to walk along the road and to know everyone on first name terms. For me this was a great thing growing up as I always felt safe.
4 - Black Rock Gorge - The gorge is located a couple of miles outside the centre of Evanton. The gorge is a few hundred metres in length and reaches 36 metres (120 feet) in height. It is a lovely walk and worth a visit. There is a local myth about this gorge and the Lady of Balconie where she was meant to have been lured in by a man thought to be the Devil and seemingly you can still here her cries from the top. Some scenes of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire were also filmed here. To me it's just an attractive un-spoilt area that has mesmerizing views.
3 - The pubs - Novar Arms was my favourite pub. Excellent atmosphere, lovely meals and always a great laugh. If you ever take a visit to Evanton make sure you go in for a couple of drinks as it really is one of the best nights you could have, the best night is New Year's Eve, everyone comes together to celebrate.
2 - Fyrish Monument - This was really tough in which place this should come and I've chosen 2nd place. This is another great walk and for all the details I have actually written a review all about it. Stunning views of Cromarty Firth and the surrounding towns you won't be disappointed. It's actually my favourite walk with the most breath-taking views.
1 - Beach - My number one probably won't be your number one but will be high up on your list. Ok it's not got the amazing sandy beaches like most other beaches in the area but instead it has a peaceful area just for you. Go here for BBQ's, walks with the dog, some alone time or just because you want to! This is where most my summer holidays were spent, down here with my sister and friends eating a picnic. There is so many different parts to the beach with the stony area, slightly sandy area and then the grassy area. Each part of the beach is peaceful and you can also camp down here which I quite often did when I was younger.
Overall there is no way I would change my childhood. The village was fantastic and still is. Driving through from mine to see my mum and dad always takes me back to a different thing I remember and I always smile. Most of the locals are still here and yes they have aged a lot but they are still here. The same group of men standing outside the shop first thing in the morning having their daily natter, the teenagers in the bus stop following in the footsteps off their older brothers and sisters (just like I did!) because this is the local youth club, not causing trouble but just enjoying the summer holidays and the pensioners in their gardens watering the plants.
My new home is Evanton it is a lovely village first conceived by a man calle Evan Frazer of balernie. He wanted to clear a way through his land for his sheep and then turned the space into a small township or village as we know it and modestly called it Evanton. Evanton's origins can be dated back to 1810.
The Evanton I know is a village with a Co op shop on the corner and the Balcony Inn just down the road a ways. over the other side of the road is the village post office and the Cornerstone cafe with two nick nac shops and then there is the Novar Arms Hotel. Which is quite a nice drinking place and has a Marvelous restuarant area out the back. The rest of the village is made up of houses and steadings which have long since been converted to houses. There are at least three churches and a church hall. A small village green and the woods close by.
You are never far from the countryside and just need to walk about 500 yards in any direction and you will find it. There is a bus service through the village once every hour that goes into Dingwall and Inverness. The other way into Alness to Dornoch.
Of course the whole village is near the Kiltearn Burial grounds which have a bit of beach and a lovely walk along the seafront beside them the sadly delapidated church is now in ruins but it is still quite something to view.
The whole village is just off the A9 which is now the new bypass and is the main access to all the major towns around it. It still has a railway going through it although trains no longer stop there, there is however a station in the neighbouring town of Alness.
I have lived here for the past two years and have found the people friendly and helpful with a real community spirit. People who would look out for each other and those that come into their lives. They will guide and assist those who come for holidays too. It is not very often these days that you can move into an area such as this and be totally welcomed into it like you were one of them. Even an Englander like ourselves have been welcomed into their fold. I feel very privalidged to be welcomed in this way.
There is a website called www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk which if you click on the right section you will find out a whole lot more about this lovely village.
It is so much more than just another quaint village its a way of life. Quiet peaceful and very rural with Inverness 26 miles away.