The route or bridal path taken by royal visitors King James IV and V when on pilgrimages to the shrine of St Duthac chapel in Tain. This part of the causeway was built with stones over a peat bog as the royal pilgrims were approaching in bare feet. Vestiges of the original route still exist.
The coats of arms and crests are not the only indication of gentle or noble birth.
The eagle is the king of Scottish birds and it was the custom for lords and chiefs to wear an eagle’s pinion-feather on cap badges.
The cage constructed for the once famous Balnagown eagles stands now in a field to the west of the castle. One game-keeper had to supply three pairs of rabbits each week to the eagles, else they were fed mutton.
Built mid seventeen century. General Roy’s maps of 1750 show three main roads in the region between Dingwall and Tain, these stone bridges indicate a regular well used route along north shore of Cromarty firth, but until the parliamentary act of 1669 creating the statute Labour system there was no method of maintaining such roads. 1999 sees Balnagown road bridge completely renewed to modern structional standards.
King James IV bridge
Within site of Balnagown castle is the graceful hump back bridge fording the river of that name. Restored by Baron David Ross early 17th century, once it carried the main road to Tain and got its name from the regular pilgrimages across it by King James IV on his way to the shrine of St Duthas at Tain.
This 18th century building, situated on an open position at the edge of the steep slope to the river and fish farm buildings below. Swiss Cottage and the castle are viewed across the river to the south; the driveway entrance is from the Marybank-Lamington road, one mile from Kildary. Modern flats are incorporated into the shooting lodge for inclusive use of the sporting clients of the estate. [Photo courtesy of Tain Museum Trust]