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The Black Isle is an eastern area of the Highland local government council area of Scotland, within the county of Ross and Cromarty. The name nearly always includes the article "the".
It includes the town of Cromarty, and such villages as Conon Bridge, Muir of Ord, Munlochy, Avoch, Rosemarkie, Fortrose, Tore, and Culbokie
Despite its name, the Black Isle is not an island, but a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by water the Cromarty Firth to the north, the Beauly Firth to the south, and the Moray Firth to the east. On its fourth, western side, its boundary is delineated by rivers. The River Conon divides Maryburgh, a mile outside Dingwall, from Conon Bridge which is the first village on the Black Isle from the north-western side. Its southwestern boundary is variously considered to be marked by either a minor tributary of the River Beauly separating Beauly (in Inverness-shire) and Muir of Ord (on the Black Isle in Ross and Cromarty), dividing the 2 counties and also delineating the start of the Black Isle; or alternatively, the River Beauly itself, thus including Beauly in the Black Isle despite its official placement in Inverness-shire.
The ruins of castles on the Black Isle include those of Castlecraig, Redcastle, and Kilcoy Castle. Cromarty House stands on the site of former Cromarty Castle and is built in part from its reclaimed stone and timbers. Kinkell Castle had been recently restored. Former castles of the Black Isle for which there are no physical remains include Castle Chanonry of Ross and a mound indicating the former site of Ormond Castle.
Conventional middle to modern Black Isle history is well documented at a number of visitor centers and cottage museums sprinkled across the peninsula. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, it was originally called Ardmeanach (Gaelic ard, height; maniach, monk, from an old religious house on the wooded ridge of Mulbuie), and it derived its customary name from the fact that, since snow does not lie in winter, the promontory looks black while the surrounding country is white.
Rosehaugh, near Avoch, belonged to Sir George Mackenzie, founder of the Advocates' Library in Edinburgh, who earned the sobriquet of "Bloody" from his persecution of the Covenanters. Redcastle, on the shore, near Killearnan church, dates from 1179 and is said to have been the earliest inhabited house in the north of Scotland. On the forfeiture of the earldom of Ross it became a royal castle (being visited by Queen Mary), and afterwards passed for a period into the hands of the Mackenzies of Gairloch.
The Black Isle was one of the earliest parts of the northern Highlands to experience agricultural improvements, and was settled with many Lowland shepherds and farmers, especially from the north east.
The Black Isle was the site of a community protest against genetically modified agriculture.
In keeping with many parts of northeast Scotland, Black Isle communities proudly practice traditional local customs. However, unlike some communities, these practices have resisted the lure of commercialism and are prolonged, more appropriately, through the genuine fabric of village life.
Economic activities on the Black Isle include agriculture, tourism and forestry; it features a whisky distillery. The area also acts as a dormitory for Inverness. Muir of Ord is a village in Highland, Scotland. It is situated near the western boundary of the Black Isle, about 20 km west of the city of Inverness, and 10 km south of Dingwall.
The Black Isle Show - one of the largest agricultural shows in Scotland - is held every August in a showground near Muir of Ord.
The village is served by Muir of Ord railway station.
The Glen Ord Distillery is the one of the few remaining whisky distilleries on the Black Isle.
Muir of Ord also have a local football team, Muir of Ord Rovers FC. Their second eleven team compete in the North Caledonian League.