Among the hundreds of ancient sites hidden in Scotland's forests, Craig Phadrig's hill fort is one of the most impressive. It was probably first built in the Iron Age around 300 BC and then, for some reason lost in history, abandoned and burned. Later it was re-occupied as the headquarters of a powerful Pictish king.
The site was excavated in the 1700s, when there was much debate about whether the circular mound was the remains of a volcano! It’s been suggested that St Columba met the Pictish king Bridei here in 565 AD and converted him to Christianity, but there’s little evidence to support this.
Today the walls are easy to see as an oval shaped mound at the top of the hill. Imagine all the comings and goings as you explore the forest, with glimpses through the trees of Inverness and the Beauly Firth, towards another ancient hillfort at Ord Hill, just across the water.
A short pull up onto the hill fort of Craig Phadrig (Patrick’s Rock) itself is rewarded with fantastic views across Beauly Firth.
Uneven earth section with potentially muddy patches. Steep slope up to the fort with some wooden steps.
Follow in the footsteps of saints and kings, where trees stand guard around the foot of the ancient fortifications at Craig Phadrig.
Wide, largely smooth gravel surface. Some slightly uneven and muddy sections. Moderate slopes with short slightly steeper sections.
Allow 1 hour
There are toilets and places to eat in Inverness.
Craig Phadrig is just a few minutes’ drive from the centre of Inverness. Take the A862 heading for Beauly, cross the canal bridge at Muirtown and turn left at the second set of lights onto King Brude Road, following signs for Kinmylies and Leachkin.
At the next traffic lights turn right towards Leachkin. After ⅓ mile turn right onto Leachkin Brae. The main car park is ¼ mile (400 metres) up this road on the right; there’s a smaller car park just before this.
IV3 8PN is the nearest postcode.
Buses run from Church Street in the middle of Inverness to the Scorguie and Balnafettack areas, next to Craig Phadrig. Check Traveline Scotland for details.
Have a question or suggestion for improvement?