Dunlichity Church and Burial Grounds

On your travels around Inverness you are sure to come by a lot of Scottish Highlands history. This could be in museums, hotels or even in parks. However you will often be restricted from getting too near it, perhaps blocked by a glass case or a fence. Dunlichity Church and burial grounds, on the other hand, offers you the chance to touch history. Here you can stand in the same spot soldiers once stood who were preparing for battle.

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The Road to Culloden

An army sharpens its swords

Dunlichity Church is an ancient place of worship. Its history dates back much further than the current church which was built in the 1500s. As such, it was a well-known spot for peace and calm, something that a group of soldiers on their way to fight at Culloden in 1746 took advantage of. This might have been their last chance of normality before joining the rest of the army. It might have been the last time a group of friends saw each other, or had the chance to talk about their family back home. So they paused here for a while, and took advantage of the stone around them to sharpen their swords.

We know this because we can still see the marks their swords made in stones to this day. You can stand where they stood and imagine doing the same. Draw your arm along the stone as if you were armed, dreaming of your loved ones back home whilst facing up to the battle that was in front of you. This is Culloden history right here.

It is personal, small moments like this that can really bring the history of the Highlands alive.

Clan MacGillivray burial grounds

The burial ground also hosts burial grounds of many members of the MacGillivray Clan, a lot of whom died at the Battle of Culloden. Of particular note is a large gated enclosure which hosts chiefs of the clan. This is a great place to do some family research for those related to this clan.

Keeping an eye over these and all other burials were men situated in the watchtower. This overlooked the site and was where guards were stationed to make sure the bodies of the dead were not dug up and sold on to medical schools for use in their teaching – a most lucrative enterprise, run back in those days by people called ‘resurrectionists’.

How to get to Dunlichity Church and Burial Grounds

The church sits not far off the southern shores of Loch Ness. If you are driving from Inverness, take the B861 south of the city. About five miles along, take the turning for Dunlichity and keep driving until you see the church on your right. The What3Words for the church and burial ground is mondays.insolvent.remotes.

Exploring the history around Inverness

There are many other areas to explore near Inverness to give you a taste of the thousands of years of human history under your feet. Culloden Battlefield would be a good place to visit after spending time at Dunlichity Church. If you would like to explore more burial grounds, we can highly recommend Boleskine. To discover more about the ancient humans that roamed the land, then the Bronze Age Clava Cairns is a great place to visit.

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Invermoriston Bridge and Folly

If you love history, engineering, and Scottish history in the great outdoors, then we have the perfect Highland hidden gem for you… There’s a tiny little village near Fort Augustus, at the opposite end of Loch Ness to Inverness, that makes for a wonderful stop-off on your journey around Loch Ness. So look out for signs for Invermoriston. And whilst you might blink and miss it, you must stop off here!

Yes, step out of the car for a glimpse into the past, as well as gorgeous riverside walks and views of the beautiful old Invermoriston Bridges and Folly. Hidden across the road from a little car park you will find two historic, humped bridges, the Invermoriston Bridges. And just a little further down river spot the Invermoriston Folly here. And if you are feeling adventurous, you could even set out to discover the secrets of a ghostly set of footprints nearby… but that’s another story!

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Invermoriston Bridges Loch Ness

There are two beautiful humped bridges over fast flowing Scottish waters...

The History of the Invermoriston Bridges

There are two bridges for you to explore in Invermoriston. The first was built back at the beginning of the 1800s by renowned Scottish engineer Thomas Telford. This is the man responsible for building hundreds of bridges all over the UK. And Thomas Telford was responsible for the road networks you can enjoy today around Loch Ness and Inverness. This particular bridge of his at Invermoriston was part of the wider effort to connect the Highlands up to the rest of Scotland, making trade and tourism easier.

In total, it took eight years to complete. It’s a beautiful structure, comprised of two stone arches that meet in the middle of the River Moriston. The water gushes below over the flat rocks and you can imagine how hard a job it would have been to build this two hundred years ago. This is Invermoriston Falls and is quite the sight any time of year.

Although Telford’s bridge at Invermoriston can still be walked over, it is quite well worn and damaged in places. So care should be taken with sensible footwear. But it is the perfect place for photographs and a popular influencer location in Scotland.

As the original bridge slowly began to crumble, a new one was constructed in 1933, which is the bridge utilised for the main road and cars of today. This is a similar style of bridge and offers great views of the original bridge and its structure.

Invermoriston Folly

From both of the Invermoriston Bridges, if you look downriver, you will find the Invermoriston Folly tucked in the trees. This is a small structure built by a former laird by the side of the river. It was initially used as a shelter so his guests could watch the great salmon migration upstream. This old summerhouse is balanced on the edge of the river cliff – precariously, some might say! However, it does offer magnificent views of the river and falls and is one of the best things to do in Invermoriston.

It’s a good place, to this day, to come and watch the salmon swim back upstream to their breeding grounds. And to watch salmon leaping in beautiful pools in Scotland is always a great way to spend a few hours. The best time of year is around the end of October. And this is a wonderful time to visit as the falls are in full autumnal colour. But be prepared to get up early, or stay late, to be in with the best chance of seeing some salmon action.

Wondering what Invermoriston Bridges and Folly look like?

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Step further into history near Invermorison

Take a walk to see the ghostly Preacher's Footsteps near Invermoriston Bridges...

Invermoriston Things To Do

Whilst you are exploring this area, another great thing to see is the ghostly Preacher’s Footsteps near Glenmoriston. So take a walk and see if you can find them! It’s just a ten-minute drive away to Torgyle, and is the site of some very mysterious goings-on. Yes, here you can discover a set of footprints imprinted forever in the ground. And it is said, by the locals, that these footprints have been there for over 200 years! Find out more about the Preacher’s Footprints and where to find them.

How to get to Invermoriston

Invermoriston is by the northern shoreline of Loch Ness, towards its southwest corner. So simply follow the A82 out of Inverness until you get there. And then it’s time to explore and, if it’s sunny, get your feet wet!

It’s also possible to hop on a bus from Inverness to Invermoriston. Find out the best time for you on the Citylink website. And as you travel down by the water, don’t forget to keep an eye out for its most famous (and shyest!) resident, the Loch Ness Monster!

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Explore The Beautiful Divach Falls

If you are looking for a quiet escape near Loch Ness, then a walk to Divach Falls (pronounced “Jeevach”) is the perfect activity. This is a gentle stroll through some beautiful oak-tree woods. Whatsmore, it’s suitable for everyone with a good level of mobility and offers an experience immersed in nature. Plus, the path takes you to a viewing area from where you can see the stunning Divach Falls, sometimes written as Dhivach Falls. The falls change in strength depending on the weather, but they are truly beautiful at any time of the year. A real must on any Scottish bucket list. It takes an hour to get there and an hour to walk back. So, it offers a good hearty walk for those looking to explore Scotland’s great outdoors.

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Exploring Divach Falls

...and the beautiful walks around

Spectacular Walks to Divach Falls

With so many areas of beauty and history around Inverness and Loch Ness, it can be hard to narrow down where to spend time. And this is especially true when you are only here for a short vacation. However, if you want to get away from it all and have some quiet time in one of Scotland’s less-known beauty spots, then you must visit Divach Falls. And these are much more hidden falls, so you can enjoy the tranquillity of the waters in peace.

They are not quite as dramatic as the waterfalls of Plodda Falls, but the walk is much more spectacular! And you can enjoy these Scottish waterfalls all to yourself, as this is a true hidden gem of the Highlands. The falls are combined with a lovely oak forest walk with the opportunity to spot Scottish wildlife, as well as a huge array of fungi and flora, it makes for a great day trip out. The waterfall at the end of the walk is just the icing on the cake!

About the Divach Falls

The falls begin where the Divach Burn tumbles over a cliff before falling down 30m to a plunge pool below. The burn then joins the River Coiltie before continuing to Urquhart Bay where it finally flows into Loch Ness. In dryer summers, it the waters can be a gentle cascade. However, after stormy weather, and in the depths of winter, the falls flow fast and its roar can be very loud indeed!

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Enjoy a woodland walk

And a waterfall at the end

Where to find these Highland waterfalls

There’s no real dedication to the footsteps or any useful markers, so finding them for the first time can be tricky. If you use what3words, then input trickling.replying.bids to find the location precisely. From the car park, a signed path off to the right descends through the woods to reach a fenced viewpoint for the falls. 

If you are hiking and looking for directions, then cross Torgyle Bridge and head east for a quarter-mile. You’ll come across a small parking area, with a gate. Go through and you should see the cairn and Glenmoriston footprints straight away. 

Wondering what Divach Falls look like?

 

Divach Falls are especially impressive after heavy rains. Here the waterfall swells the 30m cascade. And below you can see just how exciting the waters are in flood. This is news footage of the falls glowing red after an epic flood in the summer of 2012.

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Explore some of Telford's finest works of engineering

Thomas Telford was one of Scotland and Britain’s most celebrated engineers and was responsible for some of the finest bridges, harbours, tunnels and roads up and down the country. Held in such high regard, he was granted a burial at Westminster Abbey. However perhaps his greatest achievement, certainly in Scotland, was the planning and building of the Parliamentary roads and the Caledonian Canal.

In this post, you can travel along your own Thomas Telford Trail and admire some of the greatest engineering work the country has ever seen.

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Clachnaharry Locks

The Caledonian Canal is unlike any other canal boat experience in the UK

Beginning of the Caledonian Canal

Start your tour just north of Inverness where the Caledonian Canal begins. Here are Clachnaharry Locks, site of some ingenious thinking from Telford. How can boats safely enter the sea from a canal when the coast was just deep mud flats? The boats would sink quickly. So what they did was build out into the sea, piling up land and then cutting through the mud to extend the canal deeper into the water. Here, the boats could safely move away from the coast.

This was heavy, manual labour and you can still see how they did it today. Nearby is a plaque with a poem by Robert Southey, to his friend Thomas Telford about the opening of the Caledonian Canal in October 1822.

Top tip – whilst you’re here, keep an eye out for dolphins who like to come and visit these waters regularly!

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Invermoriston Bridge

Small in stature when compared to some of his other designs, nevertheless this bridge stands as one of Telford’s lasting memorials to his hard work. About half-way down the north-western side of Loch Ness sits the small village of Invermoriston and Telford’s bridge is just nearby. One of over a thousand bridges built to connect up the towns and villages of the Highlands, its humpbacked design has stood the test of time. There are two bridges here because time and vandalism have taken their toll on Telford’s original bridge. A new bridge was built in 1933. This one gives a great view of Telford’s original construction.

Top tip: This is a great spot to see salmon leaping! The end of October is the best time of year, and going early morning or early evening will increase your chances of spotting one.

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Loch Ness Roads Today

Most of the roads that today surround Loch Ness were down to the work of Thomas Telford

A82 Travel

Continue southwards past Loch Ness on the A82 and consider for a moment what you are driving on. This road was mostly planned by Telford. When he was young, there were no roads connecting up the Highlands like this. He changed how people could travel, and opened up much of northern Scotland to commerce and tourism.

Top tip: The A82 travels through to Drumnadrochit, the location of the Loch Ness Visitor Centre. This is worth a visit to find out more about the reclusive resident in Loch Ness!

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Caledonian Canal and Neptune’s Staircase

The Caledonian Canal took 12 years to build and was planned by Telford. It is a stunning feat of engineering even by today’s standards. if created today, would still beIt was originally planned as a safe route for the British Navy so they could avoid travelling around the dangerous waters of the Pentland Firth and Cape Wrath. Telford was given the charge to design and build it – and he did it with style!

The 22-mile canal has 29 locks and in 1873 Queen Victoria took a trip along it. People still flock to see it and enjoy time on a boat. It travels from Inverness on Scotland’s east coast to Fort William on the west. If you visit, make sure you head towards Neptune’s Staircase near Fort William. This is an astonishing feat of Telford’s engineering. It is a series of locks, raising the canal 19 metres over a quarter-mile. It’s a mesmerising sight to watch and takes a boat 90 minutes to traverse all the locks. It’s the longest staircase lock in Britain. You can find it at Banavie, near Fort William.

Top tip: Fort Augustus is at the south-westerly tip of Loch Ness and is the perfect place to watch canal boats enter and leave Loch Ness. Sit outside a local pub and enjoy the view!

So enjoy your first steps along a Thomas Telford trail, and admire amazing engineering examples. If you are looking for more examples of beautiful structures here near Inverness, then visit some of the beautiful castles in the area.

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Abandoned Pier

Inverfarigaig used to be a bustling industrial area with the pier providing access for materials and shipping of goods.

Inverfarigaig Pier

And now it’s time to drive along the beautiful south side of Loch Ness, past Cameron’s Tearoom. But if the temptation of delicious cake and patting Highland Cows is too much, you may need to stop! And then on to Foyers (but take in Loch Tarf, Suidhe Viewpoint, and Foyer Falls as you go). Finally, it’s time to drop down the steep hill, through the forests in search of Thomas Telford’s hidden Inverfarigaigpier. Yes, this hidden gem on Loch Ness is now served by a solitary single track and marked at the end by an old boat shed. But creep through the bushes and you will find a beautiful, secluded sanctuary upon this historic engineering feat. Beginning as a mass of rubble, extended in concrete, and in rubble contained in metal piles, the pier took shape being built in the early 19th century.

Find out the story of Thomas Telford's full life...

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Visit Brodie Castle in Scotland

If you are looking for a great day out and love the outdoors and history then head along to Brodie Castle. Situated 4 and a half miles west of Forres this 16th-century castle has something to offer everyone. With playful gardens for the kids, beautiful gardens for the green-fingered and plenty of history for the history lover, there is much to see and do. The grounds are open all year round and the castle, garden, cafe and playful garden vary depending on the time of year. Keep up to date with opening times on their website.

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Built in 1547

A well preserved castle steeped in history ready for you to explore

About Brodie Castle and its history

Built-in 1567 by the Clan Brodie this Z-plan castle was badly destroyed by fire in 1645. Later rebuilt, this castle presents ornate corbelled battlements ad bartizans. Well-preserved it has 5-storey towers on either corner, an impenetrable 16th-century guard chamber, a 17th-century wing and a vast Victorian extension. Additionally, the interior of the castle is also well preserved. With an array of antique furniture, ornate ceilings and oriental artefacts you can see much of its history within.

The land Brodie Castle is built upon was granted to the Brodies by Robert the Bruce back in 1311. It is not known how far back their links lie as much was lost in the fire. However, in 2003 the last remaining Brodie died having lived in the castle until then. Interestingly, nearby there is a mound ‘Macbeth’s Hillock. Supposedly this is where Macbeth met the three witches who foresaw his future as king. Furthermore, you can see a Pictish stone known as ‘Rodney’s Stone’ which stands 6-feet high!

The Gardens

On this 71-hectare estate, Brodie Castle prides itself in its gardens. Here you can explore the beautiful walled garden, enjoy woodland walks and explore nature trails. And in the Spring you can enjoy the display of daffodils. Home to the National Daffodil Collection you can see a magnificent display of over 400 varieties!

But for the kids and big kids alike, the most fun of all is the Playful Garden! Slip down slides, crawl through tunnels, explore fascinating, fun sculptures including a giant rabbit. Here you will meet quirky characters each with a story to tell. And each story connects them to Brodie castle and its past. You will even explore a model replica of the castle! And wet days are no problem because there is indoor soft play too. Furthermore, you and the children can enjoy a woodland adventure playground all of which is free.

Walks, refreshments, facilities, events and more…

How about a nice walk? Well, a Pond Walk sees you cover 1 and a half miles on a surfaced level path enjoying the surrounding scenery. And a Green Walk takes you 20 minutes along a rougher more grassy path, which can be wet in parts. And after all your activity you can stop for refreshments at the onsite cafe. Toilets facilities are available, including baby changing and accessible facilities. And for your four-legged friends, dogs are welcome.

If you want to attend any of the yearly events that are on such as illuminations and seasonal events you can also get involved. Check out the events page to see what is up and coming. And if you want to take a memento home, there is a gift shop on-site too, selling bespoke local gifts and crafts.

Head along today and enjoy the fun!

So head along to this fabulous venue and enjoy a great day out. Brodie Castle and its playpark and gardens have so much to offer. For opening times check out the website to see what is open when you plan to visit as not all sections are open all year round. So come along and visit this wonderful place and have fun!

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Brodie Castle
Forres
Moray
IV36 2TE

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01309 641371

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East of Inverness History Trail

So, you want to see the best of our Scottish history and explore new places when visiting Inverness? Well, our East of Inverness History Trail is the ideal day trip for you. So make the most out of your visit to Inverness, Loch Ness, and the Highlands of Scotland with our planned day trips. Further, we’ve selected some of the best known, most beautiful, and historic locations to give you a sense of Scotland’s heritage.

You can travel to them all, starting at Culloden Battlefield and finishing at Brodie Castle. Or just select the highlights if you are short of time. Whatever you decide to do, you are sure to love the East of Inverness History Trail!

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Culloden Battlefield

Where the Jacobites rebellion met a bloody death...

Inverness History Tour of Culloden Battlefield

One of the most famous battlefields in the UK is in the Scottish Highlands at Culloden. It was here in 1746 that Charles Edward Stuart – better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie – was decisively beaten and his claim to the throne was over. Culloden was the last set-piece battle where both sides stood ready for each other on British soil. It only lasted an hour, but saw up to 2,000 of Charles’ troops die, compared to only around 300 of the government’s.

Today, a battlefield visitor centre presents the full history of events leading up to the battle and the aftermath which is still a topic of discussion today. Culloden has inspired many works of art, including the well-known Skye Boat song as Bonnie Prince Charlie fled ‘over the sea to Skye’. Viewers/readers of Outlander will be familiar with Culloden, and it also made an appearance in an early Patrick Troughton episode of Doctor Who.

Start your East of Inverness History Trail at Culloden. You can find it on a map here, and it’s what3words is having.restrict.rephrase

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Inverness Clava Cairns

Fancy touching a piece of Scotland’s history that dates back over 4,000 years? Then a visit to Clava Cairns is what you are looking for. This is a burial ground from the Bronze Age which has lasted remarkably well through time. The Prehistoric Burial Cairns of Bulnuaran of Clava (as they are officially known) was a significant site for millennia for rituals and burials in Scotland.

It is believed that many of the stones used to build the cairns were actually from an even earlier farming settlement in the area, further adding to the historic significance of this ancient place.

The cairns are only six miles east of Inverness, and 300 yards east of Culloden Battlefield. You can find them on a map here, and their what3words is abstracts.stirs.funny.

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A magnificent structure

Also known as the Clava Viaduct and the Nairn Viaduct

The Culloden Viaduct

So good they named it thrice! This stunning stone viaduct goes by three names depending on who you ask: Culloden, Clava, or Nairn Viaduct. But one thing everyone agrees about is that this is a breathtaking piece of engineering. Opened in 1898, it has 29 semicircular arches over the valley of the River Nairn. It is 1785 ft long and 132 ft high and will give you a sore neck if you stare up at it for too long!

The viaduct sits half a mile east of the Clava Cairns. You can view it on a map here, and it’s what3words is dreamer.forge.openly.

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Train rides over the viaduct

The most remarkable aspect of this viaduct is that it is still in regular use today. Check out this video of an LNER train driver’s point of view as he heads from Inverness to Edinburgh.

The viaduct sits half a mile east of the Clava Cairns. You can view it on a map here, and it’s what3words is dreamer.forge.openly.

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Fort George

Built as a result of the Jacobite rebellion

Fort George

Jutting out into the Moray Firth is Fort George, a magnificent artillery fortification – perhaps even the mightiest in all of Britain. The fort was built after Bonnie Prince Charles’ defeat at Culloden as a way for the King to stop any further Jacobite uprising. The fort was completed in 1769.

Although the barracks are still in use by the army (but will completely close by 2032), most of Fort George is fully open to all visitors. Some assistance for wheelchair users may be required at times. It is a fascinating example of how life in the army was hundreds of years ago. It lets you literally walk the same paths of soldiers of the past.

You can find Fort George on a map here, and its what3words is meaning.tributes.spurned.

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Dolphin Spotting

Whilst at Fort George, make sure to keep your eyes peeled on the water. This is a popular area for dolphins! Here and across the water at Channory Point are some of the best places to visit near Inverness to catch a really good sighting. Make sure you bring your camera as some of the dolphins like to play! Or you can book a boat trip on the Moray Firth to explore the sealife and spot dolphins with the experts at Dolphin Spirit!

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Cawdor Castle

Walk in the stunning gardens after a Scottish castle tour

Step back in time at Cawdor Castle

“All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Cawdor.” And so with that line in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Cawdor Castle was immortalised (even though never directly mentioned). With origins in the 15th century, the castle was home for hundreds of years to the Calder and then Campbell families.

It now sits as a five-star visitor attraction – even Robert Burns once paid a visit! It is open to the public between April and October when you can visit the gardens and go inside the castle. Of particular note to visit here is the ‘thorn tree’ which is underneath the castle. Its base dates from AD 1372.

The castle also offers plenty of woodlands to explore, and fishing opportunities too. You can find Cawdor Castle on a map here, and it’s what3words are zoom.flush.easygoing.

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Beautiful Nairn Beach

Ready for a break? Then Nairn Beach is the perfect place to take a coffee or picnic and relax. With wide expanses of sand and breathtaking views over the Moray Firth, the beach is the perfect place to stop awhile. There are parking facilities, toilets, and some nearby cafes. There’s even a play area for the kids, Nairn Beach is dog friendly too.

If you can come when the sun is due to set, there’s a good chance you’ll get a beautiful display. In the colder winter months, it’s also a good place to spy the Northern Lights, if you are lucky. Narin beach can be found on a map here, and what3words are folds.bond.releasing.

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Brodie Castle

Another wonderful castle in our area for you to explore...

Brodie Castle

Brodie Castle can trace its origins back to 1587. I was home to the Brodie family until the early 21st century. The castle is open to visitors and a particularly good time to go is in spring when daffodils carpet the gardens. There are hundreds of varieties on display, and make for a beautiful spring walk!

This is a family-friendly attraction too, with woodland walks and an area called The Playful Garden. The kids will love it! Brodie Castle is on the map here, and it’s what3words is strain.wiggling.retain.

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Enjoy east of Inverness

By heading east of Inverness, you are guaranteed to find beauty, history, and culture. Enjoy your adventures in this beautiful part of the Scottish Highlands! If the East of Inverness History Trail has whetted your appetite for adventure, check out some more road trips near Inverness. So, now to head back to the start with a bit more history and Culloden Battlefield – one of the most popular attractions in Inverness.

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Boleskine burial grounds and house

On the south-east side of Loch Ness sits Boleskine Burial Ground. It’s the sort of place you might just drive past without further thought, but to do so would mean missing out on hundreds of years of history – and some spooky goings-on too! Boleskine Brusial Ground offers a tranquil place to pause on your trip around Loch Ness. It’s a place for quiet contemplation, looking down through the gravestones onto the loch and hills beyond. But if you look closer, you will be able to see physical remnants of a more violent time. Here’s what to look out for on your visit…

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Touching history

Musket shots from the past

A history you can touch at Boleskine Burial Ground

Look for the tombstone of Donald Fraser, dated 1730. Upon it, you’ll see three small dimples. These are said to be the holes made by musket shots in 1746, just after the Battle of Culloden. A military wagon was carrying supplies southward to Fort Augustus past a group of mourners. One of them – some say it was just a boy – took a loaf of bread and threw it to a hungry dog. Well, the soldiers didn’t take kindly to this and let off a series of musket shots to scare and disperse the crowd, and it is some of these that hit the stone of Donald Fraser. The person who stole the bread was taken and imprisoned but, fortunately, was later released. 

 

Find the bullet holes on these stones below:

You can touch these dimples today, connecting you directly with the time of the Battle of Culloden.

This graveyard also has a site that mentions Lord Fraser of Lovat, known to Outlander fans as the Old Fox. He was the chap who changed allegiances from the House of Hanover to support the Stuart claim on the crown of the United Kingdom. It turned out to be a poor decision, and he was beheaded in London for high treason…

Haunted Highlands

The area around Boleskine has for hundreds of years been said to be haunted or, at the very least, bewitched. For example, some say a minister of the parish called Thomas Houston (1648 – 1705) had to return the burial ground’s re-animated corpses back to their graves after a devious local wizard raised the dead. Houston’s stone can still be seen in the graveyard today. 

However, if you look behind the graveyard, across General Wade’s road and up the hill, you will catch a glimpse of an old house. Some say Boleskine House is one of the spookiest houses in Scotland. That’s because it used to be owned by occultist Aleister Crowley. This was a man who performed a series of spells or ‘operations’ here, some taking months at a time in order to evoke his guardian angel.

To do so, he had to ‘…summon the 12 Kings and Dukes of Hell’. Whilst in the process, Crowley was called away without ending the spell and so never banished those demons already summoned. Some believe they still roam the house and grounds to this day. Indeed, his lodge-keeper suffered a variety of personal tragedies, resulting in Crowley admitting everything got a bit out of hand. 

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Boleskine House and burial grounds in later years

The house then changed hands over the years, at one point being owned by Led Zepplin founder Jimmy Page. Reports of haunted goings-on continued, with bangs at doors and inexplicable ratlings happening throughout the years. Unfortunately, Boleskine House was gutted with fire (at a time when nobody was in the house) in 2019. However, there is work underway to restore Boleskine House and gardens, with plans to eventually open up to the public.

So take your time as you wander through Boleskine Burial Ground, and look up at the house. But don’t take too long – you never know who’s going to be looking back at you…

Address

General Wade's Military Rd, Inverness IV2 6XT

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The Preacher's Footsteps at Glenmoriston

Have you ever wondered who has stood exactly where you are standing before? Kings, peasants, maids and warriors, all lost to time. All, that is, apart from one specific place near Inverness where two footprints in Glenmoriston have, somehow, persisted through time.

Two perfectly formed footprints in the ground. Nothing special about that? Well, these footprints have been there for over two hundred years, and it is said that they won’t disappear until the End of Days…

Yet you can see for yourself these ancient but fresh-looking set of footprints at Torgyle, just an hour south-west of Inverness near Loch Ness. But beware, they might send a ghostly shiver up your spine. Read on for more…

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The story of Preacher Finlay Munro...

...and his eternal footsteps in Glenmoriston

The mysterious footprints

So how can a person’s footsteps last this long? And who did they belong to? To answer these questions, we need to travel back to the 1820s and acquaint ourselves with a travelling preacher named Finlay Munro. He would travel around the Highlands and Islands of Scotland preaching the gospel to anyone he could find. He wasn’t always treated well, but he had a persistence about him that meant he would endure torment whilst still continuing with his work.

Munro was subjected to regular heckles about his faith. His views were not popular amongst the Roman Catholics of the time. Many of them came to hear him speak at Glenmoriston. Having faced enough abuse, Munro called on the power of God to prove that what he was saying was true. 

"...my footprints will endure"

It is recorded that Munro informed his hecklers that the very clay in which he stood would testify to the truth of his words and that his footprints would endure. They would last until his hearers met their judgment or, according to some, until the Day of Judgment.

And so, to this very day, you can find the footprints exactly where he was stood. Even after some vandals tried to rip up the area in 1976, the footprints returned. It isn’t often you can get up close to unique Inverness historical attractions like these.

As for a scientific reason how the footsteps have remained intact for so long? We haven’t been able to find one yet…

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Step back in time

Discover another world

How to find the Preacher’s Footprints at Glenmoriston

There’s no real dedication to the footsteps or any useful markers, so finding them for the first time can be tricky. If you use what3words, then input trickling.replying.bids to find the location precisely. If you are hiking and looking for directions, then cross Torgyle Bridge and head east for a quarter-mile. You’ll come across a small parking area, with a gate. Go through and you should see the cairn and Glenmoriston footprints straight away.

At least, we hope so, otherwise it might just be the End of Days…

Wondering what Glenmoriston looks like?

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Seat of Clan Mackenzie

Castle Leod is located in the village of Strathpeffer, around a half-hour drive north-west from Inverness city centre. Much of the current building dates from around the 17th century, although there has been a structure on this site since at least the 1100s. The castle building is open to the public only on certain days during the year. However, private tours for small parties are possible through special arrangement. It is also used as a wedding venue.

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Originally a Pictish Fort

Involved in many historical events including the Jacobite Rising

History of Castle Leod

Originally a Pictish fort stood on the site. Eventually, a castle structure replaced it, and over the centuries this has been rebuilt and altered. Much of what we see today come from alterations made in the 17th century and the date 1616 is carved on a dormer window. The same family has lived in the castle for over 500 years and it is the Seat of Clan Mackenzie, a traditional Scottish clan. The castle and clan were involved in many important historic events, including the Jacobite Rising of 1745.

Castle Leod and Outlander

Castle Leod is widely regarded as the inspiration behind Castle Leoch, the seat of Clan Mackenzie in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books. Although it was not used as a filming location in the TV series, it is still a popular place for fans to visit and is on the itinerary for many Outlander trips and tours.

Visiting Castle Leod

A grade A listed building, the castle is looked after by the Clan Mackenzie Charitable Trust. The trust cares for the building, restoring and conserving it for future generations. As well as managing access for visitors. The castle and grounds are open to the public on selected dates throughout the year. Please see the website for public open dates and ticket prices. Private tours may also be available on request.

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Strathpeffer IV14 9AA

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Old High Church, Inverness

The Old High Church is the oldest church in Inverness, which stands on the banks of the River Ness, on St Michael’s Mount. According to legend, this has been a religious site since the first century, when St Columba preached here. Since then, there have been many church buildings on the site. However, the oldest surviving part of the current structure dates from the 1300s, with most of it built-in 1770. Today, it remains a working church and is open to visitors in the summer.

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Each night the bell rings

Steeped in history and traditions this church captivates the imagination

Church traditions

The bell in the church tower rings nightly, which is a custom that goes back to 1703, when the bell signalled an evening curfew. Introduced to stop people using dangerous lanterns in the street after dark. Although the curfew is long gone, the bell still rings each evening for tradition’s sake.

The church is also the venue for the traditional Kirking of the Council. A 400-year-old event, held annually on the second Sunday in September. The event includes a procession of councillors, youth groups and guests, which parade to and from the Old High Church for a special service.

Outlander connections

The church tower was once used as a prison. And after the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the churchyard was used for the execution of Jacobite prisoners. They were blindfolded and shot, one by one, outside the tower. In fact, musket ball marks are still visible on the tower wall. This dark event is referenced in the third series of Outlander, and the church is mentioned a few times in the books. As such, this has become an Outlander location for fans of the series.

Visiting the Old High Church

The church is located on Church Street in Inverness city centre. It stands on an ancient hill, known as St Michael’s Mount, by the banks of the River Ness. The church is open on weekdays during the summer. Visitors are welcome, and there are volunteer guides on hand to show you around. Please see the church website for more visitor information and opening times.

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Church Street, Inverness IV1 1EY

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07934 285 924

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Historic ruins of Beauly Priory

This ancient site, located in Beauly village, was founded in 1230 for monks of the Valliscaulian order. The monks came from France, and it is one theory that they named the area “beau lieu”, meaning “beautiful place” in French, later becoming “Beauly”. There is also a local legend that Mary, Queen of Scots named it much later, during a visit in 1564. Beauly Priory is the oldest surviving building in the town.

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The Monks of Beauly Priory

A strict monastic rule that lasted 300 years here

The monks of the priory

The monks who settled at Beauly Priory were part of the Valliscaulian order. They came from Val-des-Choux, near Dijon in France. The order had two other priories in Scotland, Ardchattan Priory near Oban and Pluscarden Abbey near Elgin. They were under a particularly strict form of monastic rule, in which they lived quietly in very small cells and surrendered all possessions. The monks stayed in the priory for over 300 years, until the Reformation in 1560.

Things to see

On a visit to the priory, you can explore the ruins of the monastery and the grounds. There are many interesting burial monuments, headstones and tombs. Plus, an ancient elm tree, thought to be the oldest in Europe. Information boards are dotted around the site, giving information on the site and its 800-year history. This is a peaceful place to visit, located in Beauly village centre. With local amenities such as shops and cafes close by.

Visiting Beauly Priory

Beauly Priory is free to visit and open year-round. Easy to access from Beauly village, with nearby car parking. It has become a popular tourist spot for fans of the Outlander book series, as the location where Claire meets the seer Maisri. It’s also a great place for history lovers, as an ancient site dating back to the 13th century. Find out more about visiting Beauly Priory.

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Discover the Cairngorms National Park

The spectacular Cairngorms National Park is easy to reach from Inverness. You can travel to Aviemore on the west side of the park by train or car in around 40 minutes. This is the largest National Park in Scotland and the UK and there is so much to do here! Walking and cycling, watersports and outdoor activities, family attractions, historic landmarks and so much more.

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Walk or cycle

Lots of paths and trails to explore in an exquisite part of the world

Cairngorms Walks and Cycle Routes

Walking and cycling are very popular activities in the Cairngorms National Park. The towns and villages across the park have several paths and trails, which are ideal for walkers and cyclists. Abundant wildlife, rich history and magnificent views are aplenty, with many walking and biking trails to choose from. If you’re looking for a challenge, you can take on one of the rugged Cairngorms Hill Tracks, climb a Munro, or venture on a long-distance route such as The Speyside Way or Deeside Way.

Outdoor Activities in The Cairngorms

The Cairngorms is the place to go for outdoor activities in Scotland. It has two excellent watersports centres at Loch Insh and Loch Morlich. Here, you can enjoy fishing, sailing, swimming, rafting, windsurfing and much more. Along with the Cairngorm Mountain activity centre, which offers snowsports, adventure play and guided walks. Other popular outdoor activities in the Cairngorms include dog sledding and bungee jumping. There’s everything from family adventure parks to extreme sports for thrill-seekers.

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Stunning views

Snowcapped mountains, glistening lochs, moorland and so much more!

Cairngorms Scenery and Wildlife

The ranges of the Cairngorms National Park offer some of the most stunning views in the world. Snow-topped mountains, rugged hills, glistening lochs, crystal clear rivers, heather-clad moorlands and ancient forests make up this beautiful and diverse Scottish landscape.

And within this landscape live a multitude of wild trees, plants, animals and insects. Home to creatures such as the red squirrel, osprey, wildcat, golden eagle, badger, red and roe deer and pine marten. So a visit to the Cairngorms is a truly magical experience for wildlife lovers!

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Visiting the River Ness and Ness Islands

Planning a visit to Loch Ness? With a brooding atmosphere and mythical past, it’s a popular tourist destination. However many visitors miss out on the stunning walk along the River Ness and to the Ness Islands. The walk takes in historic buildings, wildlife and perhaps a ghost or two!

Inverness Town Council bought the islands in the 19th century for public enjoyment. Since improvement works finished in 2019, the islands have become more popular than ever. They sit on the River Ness, meaning you can enjoy them easily when you visit the city. Paved walkways mean the islands are accessible to everyone, including those with mobility issues.

 

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Idyllic and exciting walk

Explore this magical walk along the River Ness

Things to see and do

When you get to River Ness, it won’t take long before you feel you are a million miles from anywhere. Under beautiful Scots pine you will find perfect picnic spots to relax. Take time to admire the picturesque scenery, all just minutes from the bustling city centre.

Enjoy a walk through the history of Inverness, past spectacular buildings within easy reach on the river banks. Inverness Cathedral was the first new Cathedral completed in Great Britain since the Reformation, finished in 1869.

You’ll also pass Inverness Castle, built in 1836 and overlooking the River Ness. You can explore the castle grounds or just admire the building as you walk along the riverside.

Many visitors don’t expect to be able to ride on a miniature railway in Inverness.  The Ness Islands Railway is situated next to the river in Whin Park. It is the UK’s most northerly public miniature railway since 1983.

When to visit River Ness and the Ness Islands

Inverness in the spring and summer is a wonderful time to explore its river banks and wildlife. There’s lots to see on your walk, including some of the best salmon pools in the area. With proper permits, you can go salmon fishing in River Ness yourself from February to mid-October. Keep your binoculars handy and watch for seals, birds and even bats, especially at dusk and dawn.

The warmer months aren’t the only time you’ll be amazed by these islands. Every October sees the Ness Islands Halloween Show. Visitors get to wear their scariest costumes and celebrate a night of spooky goings on and entertainment. It’s a great opportunity to dress up in costume!

Warm Scottish hospitality will greet you whenever you visit. Eateries and tea rooms stretch along the bank of the River Ness. Many offer locally sourced and seasonal produce. A trip along the River Ness and a walk over to the Ness Islands should be on every tourist’s to-do list in Inverness.

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Cycle the Caledonia Way

The Caledonia Way is a cycle route that runs from Campbeltown to Inverness, along 235 miles of challenging terrain. It follows the Kintyre Peninsula and the Great Glen Way, passing Loch Ness, Ben Nevis and also many Scottish landmarks and historical sites.

The route begins at Campbeltown, on the magnificent Kintyre Peninsula. It passes through many Scottish towns and villages, including Tarbert, Ardrishaig, Ford, Oban, Dunbeg, Connel, Benderloch, Duror, Dalnatrat, Appin, Ballachullish, Corran, Fort William, Gairlochy, Abercalder, Fort Augustus, Foyers, Inverfarigaig and Dores. Ending in the city of Inverness, the beautiful capital of the Highlands.

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Walk or cycle this route

A spectacular 235 mile long route

Walk or Cycle the Caledonia Way

The Caledonia Way is Route 78 of the National Cycle Network. This is a series of on-road cycling and walking routes, connecting all major cities and towns. The sustainable transport charity, Sustrans, created them to encourage active travel across the UK. The National Cycle Network is free to use, but you can sponsor a mile if you want to support the charity.

The route is 235 miles long, so it would take around 24 hours to cycle the whole journey. And probably about 72 hours to walk it. However, it’s designed so you can stop off at various points along the way. Or, just do part of the tour. It’s mostly on-road with some traffic-free sections.

National Cycle Network Route 78

You can find the full route on the Sustrans website, split into three sections:

Please note there are two gaps in this route, due to unavoidable constraints. You’ll find details of these in the Oban to Fort William section above.

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Famous sites

Biking or hiking take in the spectacular scenery

Explore Scotland on the Caledonia Way

So, whether you’re biking or hiking, you’ll find many glorious paths along the Caledonia Way. With breath-taking scenery, famous sites and challenging terrain, it’s one of the best ways to explore Scotland.

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Amazing Views from Meall Fuar-Mhonaidh

Our area around Inverness has an abundance of mountain and hill walks, from a wee stroll up to Craig Phadrig in Inverness to serious Munro-bagging near Glen Affric. But one hill, in particular, stands out – literally! Meall Fuar-Mhonaidh.

You’ve probably never heard of it. But if you have visited Loch Ness before, you’ve most certainly seen it. Its distinctive shape can be spotted in almost all photos taken of Loch Ness. From the beach at Dores Inn you get a beautiful view down the whole of the loch. The hill is Meall Fuar-Mhonaidh, the round-shaped hill above the village of Drumnadrochit.

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Hill of the cold slopes

Spectacular views await you from the top of this hill

Meall Fuar-Mhonaidh

Meall Fuar-Mhonaidh is Gaelic for “Hill of the cold slopes” for the hillwalkers, among you, it’s classed as a Graham. Climbers usually start from the small car park at Bunloit near Drumnadrochit, where a well-marked path leads you to the summit. If you are coming from Inverness, follow the A82 to Drumnadrochit and look for the signpost to Bunloit on the right-hand side once you have passed through the village – the road to Bunloit is an adventure in itself! At the end of the road, just park in the designated car park, before you get to Loch Ness Clay Works Pottery and Cafe and look for the sign “Hill footpath”.

 

Walk Time and Level

Allow between 3 and 5 hours for the whole walk (9 km), depending on your fitness level and how often you are planning to stop and take photos!

The walk to the top is fairly steep in parts, but once you reach the summit, you will see it’s well worth the effort. Once at the top you will take in amazing views of Loch Ness and the whole of the Great Glen as far as Ben Nevis! On a clear day, you can even see the sea beyond Inverness.

The History of Meall Fuar-Mhonaidh

Due to its position and distinctive shape, in days gone by this little hill used to be a marker for ships at sea coming into the port of Inverness.

So if we have inspired you to dig out your hiking boots and explore for yourself, have a look at the Outdoor Activities & Sports section of our website where you can find more info on walkingcycling and more! Or if you are not feeling that energetic, just make your way to Dores, stroll along the pebble beach and enjoy the magnificent views of Loch Ness and Meall Fuar-Mhonaidh!

 

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Caledonian Canal Walks: Dochgarroch and Clachnaharry

The Caledonian Canal isn’t just a fantastic feat of engineering, it’s also a great place for short walks in Scotland.

The Dochgarroch Loop is one of the most popular circular routes. The walk starts and ends at Tomnahurich Bridge in Inverness, Scotland. Suitable for all abilities, you can walk, run or cycle the 7.5 mile canal paths.\

Or, you can walk in the opposite direction towards Clachnaharry. This is one of the popular Caledonian Canal walks, taking you to Caley Marina. Where you’ll spot boats of all sizes. Including the ‘Lord of the Glens’, the largest boat to sail on the Caledonian Canal. You could even stop off at Merkinch Nature Reserve or head for Clachnaharry Lock for some breath-taking photo opportunities. The whole walk is just under 5 miles and will take about 1.5 hours. But you can take a shortcut and cross the Canal at Muirtown swing bridge, if you’re in a bit of a hurry.

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Begin your adventure

A great towpath to enjoy a scenic stroll

The Dochgarroch Loop

 Tomnahurich Bridge towards Dochgarroch Lock.

Your walk starts at the swing bridge leading towards Dochgarroch Lock. Begin your adventure on the towpath after taking advantage of free parking at the nearby rugby pitches. Look out for the original bridge keeper’s house, today used as a holiday home.

There’s plenty to see on this Caledonian Canal walk, whatever you’re into. There’s always lots of activity happening on the water, as well as birds and other small wildlife to spot. As you stroll along the towpath, you’ll see the River Ness on your left and the canal on your right. It’s around four miles to Dochgarroch.

Walking in Scotland is a great activity for all ages, so pack a picnic and bring the kids with you on a sunny afternoon! Once you reach Dochgarroch, you can watch the boats at the locks, relax and have lunch in the picnic area. When it’s time to head back, just cross over the lock gates. The path on the other side is level and a great spot for cycling. You can rent bikes for both children and adults at a number of shops in the city centre.

Clachnaharry Route

Tomnahurich Bridge to Clachnaharry Sea Locks

From Tomnahurich Bridge you can also go in the opposite direction along the Canal all the way to the sea lock at Clachnaharry, where the boats that have come through the canal go out to sea. Start the walk on the same side of the canal as the old bridge keeper’s house and walk along the towpath towards Muirtown locks – the path is level and suitable for walkers of all abilities as well as cyclists.

There is lots to see along the way – the towpath takes you past Caley Marina, Muirtown locks, Muirtown swing bridge and Muirtown basin. You are guaranteed to see boats of all shapes and sizes moored at Caley Marina and Muirtown basin, from small sailing boats to barges and the largest vessel to sail the Caledonian Canal, the “Lord of the Glens”. Before you reach the sea lock you will have to cross a railway line, so be very careful! After Muirtown basin you will see a waymarker to “Merkinch Nature Reserve” – this is well worth a visit, but we will leave it until another time!

At Clachnaharry sea lock you have reached the very end of the Caledonian Canal, where boats can sail out into the Moray Firth and ultimately the North Sea. This is a very picturesque spot, don’t forget your camera/phone!

Walk across the lock gates to return to Tomnahurich on the opposite side of the Canal. As you walk along Muirtown basin, keep an eye out on your right for the famous Titanic model!

As you pass Caley Marina on your way back, have a look at the lovely cabin cruisers at “Caley Cruisers” – you can hire them for a long weekend or longer to sail along the Caledonian Canal as far as Banavie near Fort William, a great way of discovering the whole of the famous Canal! If you’re not feeling brave enough to skipper your own boat just yet, Jacobite offer short trips from Tomnahurich Bridge, the start/finish point of your walk.

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Reelig Glen Highland Walks

Reelig Glen is an ancient forest, known locally as Fairy Glen. This old woodland by the Moniack River historically belonged to the Fraser family, until the Forestry Commission bought it in 1949. In the 19th century, James Baillie Fraser planted many of the trees here. It is now a popular walking area, with two waymarked trails. And these walks are ideal for spotting red squirrels in the Highlands, pine martins, birdlife and many other fantastic creatures.

The glen is famous for its grove of Douglas firs. And four of the tallest trees in Britain grow there .. a Douglas fir, Norway spruce, larch and lime tree. All measuring higher than 45m!

It is often called Fairy Glen, due to its secluded setting with magical glades and atmospheric waters.

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Ancient trees

The tallest tree in Britain at over 200 feet

Tall Trees Trail and Upper Reelig Trail

Both walks start from the Forestry Commission car park at Moniack Burn.

The glen’s woodland is a mixture of old conifer and broadleaved trees, but its real glory is, of course, its Douglas Firs. The Tall Trees Trail takes you past these ancient trees, well over 100 years old and standing to magnificent heights. Explore this beautiful route and search for “Dughall Mor” (Big Douglas). Measured the tallest tree in Britain in 2000, at over 200 feet (64 metres). The route is 1.7 km and takes around 45 minutes to complete.

Walk through the woodland above the glen on the Upper Reelig Trail. This is a demanding walk with long steep slopes and some uneven rocky steps. It offers a fairly wide but uneven surface, with sections of exposed tree roots and mud. Proper walking wear is advised. The route is 1.9 km and takes around 1 hour to complete.

How To Get To Reelig Glen

Reelig Glen is to the west of Inverness, around a 20-minute drive via the A862. Visit Forestry and Land Scotland website for driving instructions and further information.

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Explore Glen Affric and Strathglass

Glen Affric is a magnificent glen and national nature reserve, located within the Strathglass valley in the Scottish Highlands. Ancient forests of Caledonian pinewood, heather moorland, sparkling lochs and towering mountains make up its stunning landscapes. The glen is known as the most beautiful in Scotland and is popular for walking, climbing and mountain biking.

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Explore Glen Affric

An array of spectacular sites to behold in this magical area

Visiting Glen Affric

A single-track road from Cannich village is the only public route into Glen Affric, with car parks at Dog Falls, Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin and River Affric. There is plenty of holiday accommodation in Cannich, including hotels, B&Bs, self-catering cottages and a caravan park and campsite. There is a local pub, village shop and post office. Tomich, Beauly and Struy are also popular places to stay nearby.

 

Dog Falls

The first car park you’ll come to in Glen Affric is Dog Falls. A series of waterfalls, so-called because they resemble the shape of a dog’s leg. There are three walking trails here with wonderful views.

 Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin

This is a great picnic spot with car parking, looking out to Loch Beinn a’Mheadhain. Although there are no waymarked routes, there are some smaller paths, which will take you down to the loch.

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So much to see

Tumbling rivers and cascading waterfalls - a site to behold

River Affric

At the end of the public road, River Affric is a great stopping point. There are two walking trails and you can also walk around Loch Affric or go up into the mountains  … if you’re looking for more adventure! This is a good place for wildlife spotting, home to creatures like golden eagles and red deer.

Plodda Falls

You can access Plodda Falls from the nearby village of Tomich. The car park is sign-posted from there. This is the highest waterfall in the area and there is an amazing viewing platform at the top. You’ll find two walking trails with waymarks here.

Cycling at Glen Affric

There are many different biking trails around Glen Affric and the Strathglass area. Cycling and mountain biking guide.

Affric Kintail Way

This is a cross-country walking and cycling route, which starts in Drumnadrochit and ends in Morvich, passing through The Glen Affric National Nature Reserve. The Affric Kintail Way is for experienced walkers and bikers who enjoy a challenge.

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Follow the Affric Kintail Way

The Affric Kintail Way stretches from Drumnadrochit on Loch Ness to Morvich on Loch Duich. A challenging trail, recommended for experienced walkers and cyclists. This long-distance route is 44 miles long and passes through forest tracks, roads and some quite rough terrain, reaching an ascent of over 6000 feet. Because of its wild and remote landscapes, it’s important to be prepared. So bring a map, compass, torch, good footwear and appropriate clothing.

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Walk or Cycle the Affric Kintail Way

The trail is split into four sections, as detailed below.

Section One: Drumnadrochit to Cannich Village

Length: 22 km
Walk time: 6 hours

Section One of the trail begins in Drumnadrochit, home of the legendary Loch Ness Monster, and takes you to Cannich Village at the southern end of Strathglass.

You’ll find full instructions on Section One of the Affric Kintai; Way on the trail website.

Section Two: Cannich Village to River Affric

Length: 20 km
Walk time: 6 hours

Section Two follows a forest track, taking you to a car park on the public road up Glen Affric.

You’ll find full instructions on Section Two of the Affric Kintail Way on the trail website.

 

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Stunning scenery

A remote and spectacular route that leaves you in awe of Scotland's beauty

Section Three: River Affric to Alltbeithe

Length: 14 km
Walk time: 5 hours

Section Three brings you through stunning scenery to the remote Alltbeithe in Glen Affric.

You’ll find full instructions on Section Three of the Affric Kintail Way on the trail website.

Section Four: Alltbeithe to Morvich

Length: 16 km
Walk time: 5 hours

Section Four brings you to the end of the route at Morvich in Kintail, on Loch Duich.

You’ll find full instructions on Section Four of the Affric Kintail Way on the trail website.

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Scotland’s Most Remote Youth Hostel

Passing through Alltbeithe, you have the option to stay at Glen Affric Youth Hostel, known as Scotland’s most remote youth hostel. This is a former stalking bothy and due to its unique location, you can only get there on foot or mountain bike. Only open during the summer months and advanced booking is required.

 Continue your travels

Combine this trail with the Great Glen Way and extend your journey to Inverness or Fort William.

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Abertarff, The Oldest House in Inverness

Abertarff House is the oldest house in Inverness. Built in 1593 on the east bank of the River Ness and used in many ways over its 400-year history. With links to the Fraser of Lovat clan, the Commercial Bank of Scotland and The Gaelic Association, amongst others. Today, the National Trust runs it as a small museum, with a free exhibition on the ground floor, about life in the 17th century.

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Built in 1593

Links with the Fraser of Lovat family from 1793

History of Abertarff House

Abertarff House was built in 1593. It’s unclear who the first owners of the historic house were, but there are links with the Fraser of Lovat family from 1793. The Frasers of Lovat were a notorious clan in Scotland, who fought for the Jacobites at the Battle of Culloden.

The Commercial Bank of Scotland (now the Royal Bank of Scotland) bought the building in the mid-1800s and gifted it to the National Trust for Scotland in 1963. The trust restored it, and it became offices until recently. In 2018, after further conservation work, it opened to the public.

The house stands two and a half storeys high, with a projecting turnpike stairway. Its crow-stepped gables or “corbie steps” are a prominent feature. Historically significant, it is a good example of domestic architecture from the 16th and 17th centuries and is a category B listed building.

Visiting Abertarff House

Tucked away on a close off Church Street, Abertarff is hidden but easy to reach. Located by the east bank of the river in the city centre, just behind Hootenanny’s Bar.

The house is open on a limited basis, so please check opening dates and times before visiting. Admission is free.

Even when the visitor centre is not open, there is a lovely peaceful bench outside, a great place to relax and view the exterior of Inverness’ oldest house.

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71 Church St, Inverness IV1 1ES

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Loch Ness Circuit Road Trip

This Loch Ness Circuit road trip takes one or two days to complete, starting and finishing in Inverness. Making a full loop around the whole of Loch Ness, we recommend the full two days to make the most of all there is to see and do. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for Nessie!

Road trip details: One to two-day route, 67 miles

Stops include: Jacobite Cruises, Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition, Nessieland, Urquhart Castle, Fort Augustus, Caledonian Canal, Falls of Foyers, Boleskine Graveyard, Dores beach.

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Explore the route map below for this road trip…

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 Inverness to Drumnadrochit

Explore history and visit local attractions

The Route:

 Inverness to Drumnadrochit

1. Leaving Inverness, follow the A82 south. Just beyond Lochend, you will see Loch Ness come into view. There is a large lay-by here for your first stop, called the Wellington lay-by, after a World War II Wellington Bomber crash, which happened on the loch.

2. As you follow the road along, you’ll come to the Clansman Hotel in Brackla. This is the only hotel on the banks of Loch Ness. You can make a stop here for the local gift shop and café, or to join a scenic cruise on the loch with Jacobite Cruises.

3. Keep going towards the village of Drumnadrochit., home of the Loch Ness Monster! Here you can visit local attractions, the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition and Nessieland. If you’re looking for a lunch stop, check out Fiddler’s Restaurant for great Scottish dishes.

Drumnadrochit to Fort Augustus

4. As you leave Drumnadrochit, you’ll pass Urquhart Castle. These ancient castle ruins date from the 13th century and are well worth a visit.

5. Next you’ll come to a small village called Invermoriston, where you can take a short walk to Invermoriston Falls and the historic Invermoriston Old Bridge, engineered by Thomas Telford.

6. Continue along the road to Fort Augustus, at the southern end of Loch Ness. This vibrant village on the Caledonian Canal is a must-see. With gift shops and plenty of places to eat and relax. You can walk along the canal and watch the boats pass through the locks. Take a walk along the waterfront for views of Fort Augustus Abbey. Or, enjoy a boat trip from Cruise Loch Ness. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.

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Fort Augustus to Foyers

Take in spectacular scenery and a magnificent waterfall

Fort Augustus to Foyers

7. From Fort Augustus, go back along the south side of Loch Ness on the B862. Drive carefully along the single track road. The scenery here is spectacular. You can stop at the highest point on the road, Suidhe Viewpoint, for the most breathtaking views.

8. Next you will come to Foyers, a small village famous for its magnificent waterfall, the Falls of Foyers. This is a nice place to stop for refreshments in the local cafes and a walk to the falls.

Foyers to Dores

9. Heading on from Foyers, you will pass the historic Boleskine Graveyard and the remains of Boleskine House, which was once owned by Victorian occultist Aleister Crowley and also rock star Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.

10. Our final stop is Dores, great for beach walks and food at Dores Inn. This is also where the famous Nessie Hunter, Steve Feltham, can often be found.

Dores to Inverness

11. Continue heading north from here, back to Inverness and your Loch Ness circuit is complete!

We hope you enjoy this Loch Ness Circuit road trip. Find more road trip ideas here.

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Loch Ness, a place filled with mystery and legend

Welcome to Loch Ness! Home of the Loch Ness Monster and so many other wonderful Scottish myths, legends and historical happenings. Here, we will guide you on the perfect monster hunt around Loch Ness! Bringing you up to speed with the history of our great Scottish loch and its famous inhabitant, who we like to call Nessie!

We are often asked “is the loch ness monster real?”. And here we will tell you that she is very much a big part of our culture and history. So, read on to find out more about Nessie and our magical region of the Scottish Highlands.

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Nessie appeared from the deep

Earliest sighting was 565 AD where she ate a servant!

Loch Ness Monster Sightings

Our first recorded sighting of our famous Loch Ness Monster was in 565 AD! Nessie is said to have appeared from the deep Loch Ness waters. Here she snatched up and ate a servant, before his master, St Columba, forced her back into the waters.

Over the years, more rumours spread far and wide of other such ‘strange events’ at Loch Ness. Many believed in the Water Kelpies and the Each-Uisge, (meaning ‘water horse’) a water spirit in Scottish folklore. These ancient Scottish myths about such water creatures contributed to the notion of a beast living in the depths of Loch Ness.

The Monster Awakes

In 1933, construction began on the A82 – the road that runs along the north shore of the Loch. Interestingly, the work involved considerable drilling and blasting. And it is believed that the disruption forced the monster from the depths and into the open.

It was around this time, there were numerous independent sightings. And in 1934, London surgeon R. K. Wilson managed to take a photograph that appeared to show a slender head and neck rising above the surface of the water. Nessie hit the headlines and has remained the topic of fierce debate ever since.

In the 1960s, the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau conducted a ten-year observational survey – recording an average of 20 sightings per year. In further attempts to find Nessie, mini-submarines started exploring the depths of Loch Ness with the help of sophisticated sonar equipment. Then in the 1970s, underwater images of what appeared to be a ‘flipper’ were released to the public sparking further interest. Since there has been great interest in the elusive Nessie with many still trying to catch a sighting of this mythical beast.

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Many convinced sightings

But who is this mythical creature that lives in the loch?

Nessie Hunting

To this day, many respectable and responsible observers have been utterly convinced they have seen a huge creature in the water.

Prehistoric animal? Elaborate hoax? Seismic activity? A simple trick of the light? It’s even been said that the whole mystery could be explained by the presence of circus elephants in the area in the 1930s. Who knows, but there truly is something special about Loch Ness and its vast waters. Whatever the truth, it’s always worth a trip to Loch Ness to see for yourself.

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Find our Loch Ness Monster yourself

So why not join us for your holidays at Loch Ness? Or stay in our Highland Capital of Inverness. Here, Loch Ness and the surrounding area offer some of the most beautiful, historic and natural landscapes for you to explore. Steeped in myths and legends, Nessie isn’t our only famous relic. We are home to ancient battlefields and inspiration for the Outlander series. Explore ancient burial grounds and standing stones. Hear of our ancient whisky tales and visit the bay of sunken boats.

Book a boat tour on Loch Ness to begin your Nessie hunting adventure today. Other boat trips in the region include whale watching and dolphin spotting on our nature tours of the Moray Firth.

You can also explore our famous waters by canoe safari, for an up-close and personal experience with your very own canoe guide.

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Visit Glen Ord Distillery

Touring the distilleries that produce Scotch whisky is a fantastic way to learn about the different flavours available in a single dram. Here in Inverness, Glen Ord Distillery is a great place to start your whisky adventure.

On the tour, you’ll learn about the distillery’s fascinating history, stretching back to 1838. When you finish, they’ll even treat you to a complimentary taste of their Singleton of Glen Ord 12-year-old single malt whisky.

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Set up in 1838

Glen Ord Distillery produces a 12-year-old, 15-year-old and 18-year-old Singleton of Glen Ord

History of Glen Ord Distillery

The distillery was set up in 1838 by Robert Johnstone and Donald MacLennan, on land purposed for cultivating barley, leased by Thomas MacKenzie. Although at that time it was called the Ord Distillery Co.

Ownership passed through many hands over the years and today it is part of the Diageo group. The distillery has been renovated and expanded to increase production keep up with new technologies. In 1994, they added a new visitor centre and exhibition area. It is the only remaining single malt distillery on the Black Isle.

The Glen Ord Distillery produces a 12-year-old, 15-year-old and 18-year-old Singleton of Glen Ord. Also with signature editions and special releases. The distinct flavour of Glen Ord’s Singleton comes from Black Isle barley and the water from the nearby White Burn.

Book a Whisky Tour

If you are looking for an Inverness whisky tour, then book today. Booking a tour in advance at Glen Ord is an absolute must, because it’s very popular. However, if you can’t wait to see Glen Ord in person, you can whet your appetite by taking a tour of the distillery on Google Maps!

But why stop there? A popular activity for visitors to the country is to tour as many whisky distilleries as possible. This is a great “taste of Scotland”.  You can taste how the geography and geology of Scotland influence the flavours of your favourite whisky.

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Address

A832, Muir of Ord IV6 7UJ

Telephone

01463 872004

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Enjoy a fun day out with Highland Explorer Tours

Enjoy a fun day out with Highland Explorer Tours in Inverness. Offering a great way to see Inverness, Loch Ness and the surrounding area, you will take in some of the most famous sites. Here these small tours leave from Inverness exploring places such as Eileen Donan Castle, the Glenfinnan Viaduct, Loch Ness, Culloden Battlefield and much more! So read on to find out more about these award-winning guided tours and what is on offer.

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Magical tours

Explore some of the most spectacular sites in Scotland with Highland Explorer Tours

Isle of Sky and Eilean Donan Castle 1 day tour from Inverness

This magical tour takes on an exciting days journey starting in Inverness and heading to the Isle of Skye. First, you will see the famous Loch Ness and maybe its well know inhabitant as you head towards the West Coast. Mountains encase you giving way to vast sea lochs along the way. You will come upon the spectacular Eilean Donan Castle. This majestic castle is the picture-perfect Scottish Castle. Backdropped with rolling mountains on the edge of Loch Duich often complimented by a moody Scottish sky, this will be one to remember. Upon reaching Skye via the Skye Bridge you will take in sites such as Old Man of StorrLealt FallsKilt Rock and Mealt Falls and see the beautiful colourful village of Portree before heading back to Inverness.

Harry Potter Train and the Scenic Highlands 1 day tour from Inverness

If you are a Harry Potter fan then this is the tour for you. Head along the famous banks of Loch Ness towards the stunning West Coast. Rolling Scottish mountains, ancient sites, spectacular beaches, a hidden waterfall and a poignant war memorial will be some of the sites you see. See the famous Jacobite Steam Train as it curves its way across the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Can you spot any wizards? Then step aboard and experience the magic for yourself. Voted one of the world most scenic railways, this will be an experience of a lifetime! A stop in Fort Augustus lets you see the Caledonian Canal up close, then a visit to Falls of Foyers and Dores beach conclude this wonderful tour.

Loch Ness and Outlander Tour 1 day tour from Inverness

A fabulous tour encompassing all things Scottish is perfect for those Outlander fans out there. Head along Loch Ness and board a cruise ready to experience Loch Ness in all its glory. Take in the ruins of Urquhart Castle, lunch in beautiful Beauly and see its priory where scenes from Outlander were filmed. Explore Culloden Battlefield and its Outlander links, then head to Clava Cairns and explore these fascinating burial chambers. Can you journey through these famous stones which inspired Craig Na Dun? All these sites are linked with a harrowing history made famous by the Outlander series. And there are many Outlander locations around Inverness to explore. So get exploring some of them on this fascinating tour.

And there is more

If you are not staying in Inverness but still fancy booking on a tour to explore it and the surrounding area, Highland Explorer Tours offer tours that start Edinburgh too. Here they offer day tours and multi-day tours which visit the area and take in the famous surrounding sites. All you need to do is decide which one you would like to join and get booking.

Get exploring Inverness and the Highlands today. Furthermore, should you want some help to plan your very own bespoke itinerary, you can contact us. We will help you plan a trip to remember when you come to Inverness.

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