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Rosemarkie is an extremely ancient village looking east along the Moray Firth. It was certainly settled by the Picts, and they left their mark in the form of more than a dozen carved stones found locally.
In distant views from Chanonry Point to the south, Rosemarkie's most outstanding feature is the Parish Church, used as a landmark by mariners in the Moray Firth since it was built in 1821. Oddly enough the church is virtually invisible from the confined High Street. But it is worth seeking out, both as an attractive building in its own right and for its wide views.
The Parish Church is also of interest because it represents a continuity of use as a Christian Church extending all the way back to a chapel founded by St Moluag in the late 500s. This was replaced by a monastery founded by St Boniface in the 600s, and in 1125 King David I founded the first Cathedral of Ross here.
The cathedral moved to a new building in Fortrose in the late 1200s and Rosemarkie's 700 years as a major ecclesiastical centre came to an end. Nonetheless a series of churches were built on the same site over the following centuries, concluding with the one you see today.
Rosemarkie's Pictish roots are celebrated in the Groam House Museum in the High Street. Amongst other exhibits is the ornately carved Rosemarkie Cross Slab. Rosemarkie's narrow High Street is lined with buildings from the late 1700s and early 1800s, giving it a very unified, period feel.
At the north end the main road takes a sharp turn in front of the attractive Plough Inn. This was established in 1651, though the building you see today was built in 1907.
Running parallel with the High Street is Marine Terrace, lined on one side by houses and cottages. On the other side it looks across the beach to the sea.
Oddly enough, despite its location on the Moray Firth, Rosemarkie never developed into a significant port: though it's difficult to believe that the Dark Age residents didn't have their fishing boats pulled up on the beach when St Moluag first came calling.
Rosemarkie has always been closely associated with nearby Fortrose, which first took its cathedral in the 1200s and since then has always been the more dominant of the two. Nonetheless with an attractive setting and pleasant beach extending all the way to Chanonry Point, Rosemarkie has much to offer that its larger neighbour doesn't.