For the more adventurous among us, Ben Wyvis, a wooly-hair moss covered mountain, is a popular climbing and bird-spotting destination. Measuring 1046 meters at its highest point, it is one of Scotland’s more popular Munros. Considered a moderate hiking path, it measures 8.75 miles long and should take the astute hiker between five and seven hours to traverse. It’s been said that standing on the top of Ben Wyvis is akin to standing on top of the world. Views of the Highlands astound. On a clear day it’s possible to see the entire Moray Firth, as well as many of the holes at Castle Stuart. Views of Ben Wyvis from Castle Stuart contribute a most memorable visual aspect to the golf experience along with a palpable ‘sense of place’.


Looking from the tee through the pin on the fourth hole, one can’t help but notice our namesake Castle Stuart framed in the background. Completed in 1625 by James Stuart, 3rd Earl of Moray, the castle is rich in history and lore. The land on which the castle was built was granted to the 1st Earl of Moray James Stewart by his half-sister Mary Queen of Scots following her return from France to Scotland in 1561. Though the castle initially flourished, it fell into disuse as the fortunes of the House of Stuart sank during the English Civil War and when Charles I was executed. The castle lay derelict for 300 years before being restored. The ‘open spire’ atop the castle’s heavy stone structure was the inspiration for the Castle Stuart Golf Links logo.


Across the Moray Firth from Fort George at the end of Chanonry Ness, stands the Chanonry Point Lighthouse. One might consider taking a break between rounds of golf at Castle Stuart to enjoy watching the approximately 130 bottlenose dolphins that are a common sight near Chanonry Point Lighthouse. The Point is also a good vantage point for viewing Fort George, as well as the lower holes of Castle Stuart. Built in 1846, Chanonry Lighthouse is still fully operational and is remotely controlled from the Northern Lighthouses offices in Edinburgh. Clear views of the lighthouse are integral to the ‘sense of place’ that is a pervasive visual aspect of the golf experience at Castle Stuart.


Standing guard on a promontory point, Fort George cuts an imposing image, a fortress only six miles, or a ten-minute drive, from Castle Stuart. Built between 1748 and 1757, Fort George is considered the mightiest artillery fortification in Britain, and some might say all of Europe. Designed by William Skinner, the King’s Military Engineer for North Britain, Fort George has been in continuous use as a strategic defensive structure protecting the city of Inverness, although more recently it serves as the home of Scotland’s famed elite military regiment the Black Watch. It’s the only ancient monument in Scotland still functioning as originally intended. Interestingly, it was the soldiers themselves that built the structure that would eventually become their duty station. Views of Fort George are an integral part of the visual aspect that contributes to the ‘sense of place’ that under-scores one’s recollection of the golf experience at Castle Stuart.


The Kessock Bridge connects Inverness with the Black Isle to the north. The bridge was opened for use in 1982 after six years of construction. Often referred to as the ‘Golden Gate Bridge’ of the Scottish Highlands, it replaced the Kessock ferry and provided efficient access to the Black Isle and north to Dornoch. Spanning 1,056m (3,465 ft), the bridge was built high enough to allow transoceanic transport ships access along the Beauly Firth to the docks of Inverness. During a round of golf at Castle Stuart, views of Kessock Bridge contribute a most memorable visual aspect to the golf experience along with a palpable ‘sense of place’.


Aside from the hope of spotting the Loch Ness monster ‘Nessie’, Loch Ness has a good deal to offer visitors. As Scotland’s largest loch (by volume), it attracts travelers from around the world to enjoy the scenery, restaurants, boat cruises, accommodations and an assortment of attractions including Urquhart Castle, Fort Augustus, the Abriachan Nurseries, and the Falls of Foyers. The prominent ‘humpback’ mountain Meal Fuar Mhonaidh, seemingly on the shore of Loch Ness, is easily seen from Castle Stuart and serves as a reminder of the nearby looming presence of Loch Ness and the Great Glenn that connects Inverness on the east coast with Fort William on the west.