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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Heading out on the North Coast 500

Looking for spectacular rugged landscapes and not afraid to escape to the true wilds of Scotland? Well, The North Coast 500 route (NC500) is perfect for you! This is a Scottish road trip to rival Route 66.

ore part of the NC500, or do the full loop around the very top of Scotland. And here lies some of the most beautiful coastal scenery, and spectacular cliffs, stacks, and seascapes. And you will find plenty of areas offering peace and solitude to gather your thoughts and absorb the beauty surrounding you.

But one of the most stunning locations is Duncansby Stacks and Duncansby Lighthouse, which lies near John o’ Groats on the North Coast 500 route. But, don’t try and do it all in a day, take an overnight stay in Wick. This will ensure that you have a wonderful trip to this area of Scotland known as Caithness. And where better to base yourself than the famous Mackay’s Hotel. A little gem of a find, set in a historic building by the Harbour, this hotel is famous for its great food and homely hospitality.

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The Iconic Duncansby Stacks

A sight to behold, these natural formations can be viewed from the rugged cliff tops or from the sea by boat...

Visit the Duncansby Stacks

Jutting out of the sea at the northeast tip of Scotland are the incredible Duncansby Stacks. A perfect place to take your drone, and a popular influencer selfie location, these magnificent sandstone stacks jut out of the wild seas of Caithness. Through thousands of years of rough seas and erosion, they have been separated from the mainland to form points of rock coming out from the water. If you look closely you will see that there are three stacks. Two are completely separated from the mainland. The third one is still attached and has a little archway that you can walk under. This is called Thirle Door. With erosion constantly eating at the rocks, one day the arch will no longer exist. Then, the third stack will be isolated in the sea too.

The stacks are handy for local wildlife, especially nesting seabirds. Grab your binoculars and watch them fly out to the sea to fish. If they are nesting you might even see them feed their baby chicks. Or get a little closer to the structures on rib boat ride and explore the history of the area by tour guide.

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Things to see on the NC500

Just along the coast from the Duncansby stacks is the famous Duncansby Lighthouse. It is well worth the 40-minute walk to explore. It was originally built in 1924 and in its time has seen plenty of drama, including being machine-gunned by a German bomber during World War 2. From here you can enjoy some more magnificent views out over the North Sea. Nearby the lighthouse is another geological formation called the Geo of Sclaites. This is like a slice of the earth has been taken out and in its place, hundreds of loud, squawking seabirds have been added!

Visit the Whaligoe Steps

But before this, on your way up to Wick and Caithness, you must visit the Whaligoe Steps! These flagstone steps lead down 250ft cliffs to the most extraordinary harbour in Scotland! And if you don’t fancy climbing the 330 steps, surrounded by cliffs, then explore this historical Scottish site by boat. But apart from these dramatic cliff steps, you will also find a remarkable harbour at their foot. And here was a base of successful fishing for herring, salmon, shellfish and whitefish boats. But the site was originally turned down as a “dreadful place!” by the famous engineer Thomas Telford. And as such, they were built later built at a cost of £8 by Captain David Brodie. As such, they became the successful home to some 20 fishing boats. Here fisherwomen would carry baskets of fish up the Whaligoe Steps, before walking all the way to Wick for sale.

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Getting there...

And where to stay in Caithness

North Coast 500 Castles

And if it’s Scottish castles you’re after. Be sure to visit the Castle of Old Wick when you arrive in Wick and Dunrobin Castle on your travels up the north coast.

Old Castle Wick

So, Old Wick Castle is one of Scotland’s oldest castles! And its ruins, perched on top of the cliffs of Wick are spectacular to this day! What’s more, the walk to the castle takes in epic sea views from the massive cliff tops. This Scottish Castle stood approximately 10 metres tall, with walls 2m thick. And with only a single window per floor, perched upon cliff tops, it was spectacularly protected from attack. But you must have a head for heights! This castle isn’t for the faint-hearted! As it’s protected on 3 sides by 30m sheer cliffs with only the crashing wild seas below.

Visiting Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Castle, on your way up to Wick and Caithness from Inverness, however, is still very much intact. And it is quite a spectacle to behold!

John O’Groats Brewery and Distillers

And if you need a tipple to revive you after all your exploring, John O’Groats (the most northerly tip of Scotland) is home to John O’ Groats brewery. So pop in for some craft beers and a tour. Or if you prefer a distillery then Dunnet Bay Distillers offer tours and shopping for their Scottish Gins and Vodkas. So pop in to sample some refreshing Rock Rose Gin and seasonal spirits.

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Exploring the North Coast 500

Where to stay in Wick

It sounds like this is all happening in the far reaches of an inaccessible landscape. In fact, getting to Duncansby Stacks is simple! That’s because you can follow the North Coast 500 route.  Whilst you can certainly do a day trip from Inverness to Duncansby Stacks, it might be more relaxing to stay overnight. A particularly welcoming place is Mackays Hotel in Wick. It is family-owned and often has deals if you can book in advance. As an added bonus, it is also situated on the world’s shortest street, as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records! Here you can relax after a day of exploring Duncansby, and have a lovely dinner in their No. 1 Bistro. Highly recommended.

There’s so much to see north of Inverness, and the North Coast 500 route is a great way to do it. It offers a whistlestop tour of the coast including sites like Duncansby Stacks and Lighthouse. And of course, if anything takes your fancy inland, there are plenty of other road trips and opportunities to explore the untamed Highlands of Scotland!

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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 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

Telephone

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

Telephone

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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Wardlaw Mausoleum Burial Place

 

In the countryside to the west of Inverness lies a curious little building sat inside a graveyard. To the casual observer it’s merely a beautiful old building worthy of a glance. But its history is fascinating to researchers, sleuths and Outlander fans all over the world as it holds questions hundreds of years old. Inverness Wardlaw Mausoleum is a burial place located at Wardlaw Graveyard in Kirkhill village and is absolutely worth arranging a tour in advance to get the most from it.

It was originally built for the Lovat Fraser family in 1634 but later fell into ruin only to be was restored in the 1990s when the Wardlaw Mausoleum Trust formed to repair and maintain it. It has become a popular tourist attraction in recent years, due to connections with the Outlander book and TV series. The last known burial in the Mausoleum was in the late 19th Century.

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Steeped in history

Here lie the remains of the Lovat Fraser family

History of Wardlaw Mausoleum

The church originated when Simon, Lord Lovat died in 1632. His son buried him here and began construction of what would eventually be the church. It was altered in 1722 and after a period of decay and ruin, has now been restored. When you walk through the building, you can see remnants of how it used to look, including the outline of a door once used to give access to the mausoleum gallery. There are many mural plaques along the walls in memory of the various branches of the Fraser family.

Built in 1634 for the Lovat Frasers as a family burial plot, and remodelled in 1722 by Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat, also known as ‘Old Fox’. The mausoleum has a crypt, where six lead coffins lie containing the bodies of Lovat Fraser family members. This may include the Old Fox himself, although there has been some recent speculation over this.

There are also several plaques on the walls in memory of the family. The Lovat Frasers stopped using the site in the early 19th century. And now, after being restored by the Wardlaw Mausoleum Trust, you can tour the building for yourself, by pre-arrangement.

Were his remains carried back to the Highlands afterwards? That’s what most people beleived, even although official records indicate that he was interred at the Tower of London. There is a double-lined coffin at Wardlaw Mausoleum marked as Lord Lovat’s. This double lead coffin is consistent with transporting a body a long distance – for example, from London to Inverness. However recent studies of bones found in his coffin indicate a female skeleton instead. Could the Old Fox’s remains have been swapped out? Buried elsewhere? Or at the Tower of London all along? Right now, we just don’t know.

The barrel-vaulted crypt contains six lead-lined or double-lead-lined coffins in total, including a particularly poignant one of an infant, John Fraser, who died in 1779 and represented the end of this line of the Fraser family. The diagonal flagstone floor in the chamber is unusual.

Simon the Fox and an Outlander Location

 

Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat, or ‘Old Fox’ features in the Outlander series as grandfather of main character Jamie Fraser. It is this connection that has sparked a new interest in the burial site, putting it on the must-see list for Outlander fans from all over the world. The series author, Diana Gabaldon, and several members of the TV cast have visited too.

Lord Simon Fraser was the last peer of the realm to have his head chopped off in the Tower of London in 1747. This was because he was unsure which side to join during the Jacobite uprising, until deciding to support Bonnie Prince Charlie. After their defeat, he was taken to London for trial under charges of treason. Found guilty, his sentence of being hung, drawn and quartered was reduced to simply beheading, as the king took pity on his frailness at the age of 70.

Were his remains carried back to the Highlands afterwards? That’s what most people beleived, even although official records indicate that he was interred at the Tower of London. There is a double-lined coffin at Wardlaw Mausoleum marked as Lord Lovat’s. This double lead coffin is consistent with transporting a body a long distance – for example, from London to Inverness. However recent studies of bones found in his coffin indicate a female skeleton instead. Could the Old Fox’s remains have been swapped out? Buried elsewhere? Or at the Tower of London all along? Right now, we just don’t know.

The barrel-vaulted crypt contains six lead-lined or double-lead-lined coffins in total, including a particularly poignant one of an infant, John Fraser, who died in 1779 and represented the end of this line of the Fraser family. The diagonal flagstone floor in the chamber is unusual.

Visiting Wardlaw Mausoleum

You can visit the Wardlaw mausoleum by pre-arranging in advance. If you want to get as much information as possible about this fascinating piece of Scottish history, it is definitely worth booking in advance. The tour is free, but donations to help with the upkeep of the building are warmly welcomed. If you turn up without an appointment, you may still get a tour, but it is not guaranteed. Give the house on the right at the entrance to the graveyard a knock when you arrive. There is no entry fee but small donations are welcome.

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Address

Wardlaw Rd, Kirkhill, Inverness IV5 7NB

Telephone

01463 831742

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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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Address

71 Church St, Inverness IV1 1ES

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Exploring Dunrobin Castle

If you travel an hour north of Inverness, you will come upon this striking castle, resembling a French chateau. Boasting 189 rooms and dating back to the 13th century, Dunrobin Castle is one of Britain’s oldest consistently inhabited houses. Having been home to the Earls and Duke of Sutherlands for hundreds of years, this castle is said to have possibly been built on an early medieval fort. Over time, it has had many extensions making it what it is today.

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A Historic Castle

13th century castle in the Scottish Highlands

History of Dunrobin Castle

A castle has stood on the site since the 13th century. Interestingly, the oldest surviving section of the castle, part of a fortified square keep dating from 1275, is still visible in the courtyard. In 1845, Charles Barry, who designed the Houses of Parliament, re-modelled the castle. Designed in the Scottish Baronial style, it became popular with aristocrats. Sadly a fire in 1915 destroyed much of Barry’s interior. So what you see today is the work of Scottish architect Sir Robert Lorimer.

The castle's many uses

The castle has been used for many purposes over the years. During World War One it was used as a naval hospital. Later it became a boys’ boarding school. But since 1973, it has been open to the public. It is still owned by the Sutherland family and they retain some parts of the building for private use.

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Explore inside and out

Amazing castle interiors and attractive gardens to explore

Visit Dunrobin Castle Interior and Gardens

Open annually from April to October, you can visit Dunrobin Castle and marvel at all its delights! Explore the magnificent interiors with a self-guided tour of staterooms on the first floor. Then, make your way through smaller rooms to the older section of the castle. Additionally, your tickets include access to the stunning gardens and its grounds. Plus you can see the Falconry where you can watch birds of prey flying demonstrations. And at the end of your tour, you can visit the café for some refreshments and the shop for some souvenirs. View ticket prices and opening times here.

Address

Golspie KW10 6SF

Telephone

01408 633177

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Cawdor Castle and Gardens

Dating back to the 14th century and built by the Thanes of Cawdor as a private fortress, Cawdor Castle is a fascinating Scottish castle. Situated 30 minutes from the city of Inverness and 5 miles from Nairn, this castle is well worth a visit. Interestingly, it was built around a 15th-century tower house, which primarily belonged to the Clan Cawdor. According to legend, the tower was built around a legendary holly tree dating back to 1372. And to this day you can still see it in the dungeon!

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The Scottish Play

Macbeth becomes 'Thane of Cawdor'

Links with Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Did you know, the castle has links the literary genius Shakespeare and his play Macbeth? In the play about the 11th century Scottish king, Macbeth becomes ‘Thane of Cawdor’. Although historically inaccurate, and even though the castle did not yet exist at that time, this link between Macbeth and Cawdor has made the castle more famous.

Visiting Cawdor Castle

Here you can explore the lavish interior of this splendid castle, where the Dowager Countess Cawdor still resides. If you like stepping back in time you will love this. Explore generations of the Campbells in the Drawing Room. Marvel at the magnificent fireplace in the Dining Room. See the 19th century range and old cooking utensils in the Old Kitchen. And gaze at the stunning tapestries that adorn the Tapestry Bedroom.

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Castle Gardens and Grounds

Enjoy the beautiful castle grounds and activities

Exploring the grounds

And if you have green fingers, the ground’s gardens are beautifully maintained and well worth a visit. With a choice of gardens to explore you could spend a whole day here. Golf and nature-trail offer further activities. And the River Findhorn is a popular salmon fishing spot. With so much to do, you can wind down and refresh at their café at the end of your visit or do a spot of shopping in the gift shop. View ticket prices and opening times here.

Address

B9090, Cawdor, Nairn IV12 5RD

Telephone

01667 404401

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Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness

Steeped in more than 1,000 years of history, Urquhart Castle sits on the banks of Loch Ness. It is one of Scotland’s largest castles, which has played host to some of the most climactic episodes in Scottish history.

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A medieval fortress

Witnessed many a battle during the Wars of Independence

History of Urquhart Castle

Having been passed between Scot and English control for over 500 hundred years this medieval fortress has witnessed many a battle during the Wars of Independence. Taken control of by Edward the I in 1296, the Scots reclaimed it back in 1298. They lost control again until Robert the Bruce’s victory in 1308. At this time it became a royal castle. For over 200 years there were many English and Scottish battles seeing ownership changing many times.

Host to many clan wars

By 1508, this castle was under the royal ownership of the Grant clan. Here, it played host to the many clan wars. And, in 1545 Clan Macdonald stripped the castle of all its valuables. Despite the castle having been heavily fortified it was abandoned in the 17th century. As a consequence, Urquhart Castle saw its demise. It was at this point, to prevent the Jacobites rising, it was deliberately blown up. Thus leaving the ruins that are visible today.

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Dramatic ruins

Panoramic views of Loch Ness and the surrounding countryside

Visiting Urquhart Castle

Situated on a rocky peninsula, you can enjoy stunning panoramic views of Loch Ness and the surrounding countryside. It is from here you can explore the dramatic ruins, including the Grant Tower. You can even peer into the prison cell, said to of imprisoned legendry Gaelic bard Domhnall Donn: a handsome man, a brave warrior, and a good poet. Did he really steal cattle or was his crime to fall in love with the Laird of Grant’s daughter? See the ruins of the Great Hall and envisage the many great banquets held there. Explore medieval artefacts including the Urquhart Ewer. And possibly most excitingly, you can see a full-sized trebuchet (a stone-throwing machine in laymans terms). View ticket prices and opening times here.

Address

Drumnadrochit, Inverness IV63 6XJ

Telephone

01456 450551

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Exploring Inverness Castle

In the heart of Inverness, the imposing Inverness Castle sits high on a hilltop. Standing proudly, overlooking the River Ness. The present building, made from red sandstone, dates back to 1836 and currently houses the Inverness Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Court. However, 1057 saw the first construction of a castle on this site, said to have been built by King Malcolm III of Scotland. And since, it has been destroyed and rebuilt many times. For example, Robert the Bruce destroyed the castle in 1308, to prevent the English from occupying it during the Scottish War of Independence. So did the MacDonald clan, many times during the Lord of the Isle era.

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Climb the tower

For amazing 360° views of the city

The Viewpoint

Although the majority of the building is not open to the public, there is access to the Inverness Castle Viewpoint. Here, you can take in the best views over Inverness. With 360° views, you can see the whole city from the viewing platform at the top of the tower. Look out for famous landmarks and historic buildings. Marvel at the River Ness as it rolls beneath you. Explore the city’s network of streets and see beyond to the rolling countryside. Additionally, as you climb the tower you will learn some intriguing myths and legends associated with the city.

Castle views

But perhaps the best views of Inverness Castle itself can be seen from the other side of the River Ness. At night it looks magical, when the castle is all lit up and the light is reflected in the waters below.

Visit Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle is a dominant landmark in the city centre. You can walk up the hill to see it more closely, but there is an admission fee to access the Viewpoint. Check here for ticket prices and opening times.

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Inverness IV2 3EG

Telephone

01349 781730

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Culloden Viaduct Railway Bridge

The Culloden Viaduct is an impressive railway bridge with multiple arches, located on the Highland Mainline. It spans the River Nairn near Clava, east of Inverness, and is sometimes known as the Clava Viaduct or Nairn Viaduct.

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A Highland Railway Bridge

The longest masonry railway viaduct in Scotland

History of Culloden Viaduct

Designed by Murdoch Paterson, Chief Engineer of the Highland Railway, the bridge was built between 1893 and 1898 and is still in use today. The curved stone structure with concrete foundations is 1800 feet in length. So this makes it the longest masonry railway viaduct in Scotland. It has 29 arches in total. One wider central arch over the river, with 14 on each side. It was built using local red sandstone from the Leanach Quarry on Culloden Moor. As a place of special architectural interest, it has protection as a Category A listed structure.

Viaduct Viewpoints

If you’re travelling by train on the Perth-Inverness main line, which includes routes between Inverness and Glasgow or Edinburgh, you should pass over this bridge just outside of Inverness. If you have a car, you can also view it from the roadside. You can actually drive right through one of the arches if you drive along the narrow country road that runs underneath it. There are some lovely spots by the banks of the River Nairn with excellent views of the viaduct, so remember to bring a picnic.

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More to see

Visit sites close by, such as the Clava Cairns and Culloden Battlefield

Visiting Clava and Culloden

Why not make a day of it? The Culloden Viaduct is located in a historic area near Clava and Culloden. The ancient Clava Cairns burial ground, which is around 4000 years old, is close by. Also Culloden Battlefield, the site where the tragic Battle of Culloden took place in 1745. In addition, there is a popular local pub. the Culloden Moor Inn, where you can grab lunch, dinner or refreshments.

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Inverness IV2 5EJ

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Inverness Cathedral of Saint Andrew

Inverness Cathedral is a large cathedral of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Completed in 1869 and dedicated to Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland. It sits close to the banks of the River Ness in the city of Inverness. It is the seat of the Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, and Mother Church of the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness.

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19th Century Cathedral

Grand cathedral designed by Alexander Ross and opened in 1869

Cathedral Architecture

Local architect, Alexander Ross, designed the cathedral and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Longley, laid the foundation stone in 1866. It opened in 1869.

Built mainly of red sandstone, but with nave pillars each carved from a single block of granite. There are many elaborate and intricate features, such as detailed stone carvings, colourful stained glass windows, a sculpted pulpit and a white marble font.

Other Historic Features

The cathedral has a ring of ten change-ringing church bells, and also an eleventh, used only for chiming. The first one was cast in 1869. Then the other ten in 1877. The ninth bell was recast in 2012 to correct a tuning issue.

The building which now houses the Inverness Cathedral Café and Shop was once a small school, built within the cathedral grounds in 1872. A copy of the school’s Roll of Honour from the First World War is on display inside.

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Visit and explore

Building open to the public all year round

Visiting the Cathedral

The cathedral is open to the public all year round. Visitors are welcome to view the building or attend one of the regular services. The cathedral bells ring on Sunday mornings. The cathedral choir sings on Sunday mornings too, performing a full setting to music by a variety of composers and in a wide range of styles. Music events and concerts are performed throughout the year. Find out more about opening times, events and services on the Inverness Cathedral website.

Address

Ardross St, Inverness IV3 5NN

Telephone

01463 225553

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Fort George Historic Fortress

Fort George is an 18th century fortress near Ardersier, to the north-east of Inverness. Built in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden, which ended the Jacobite Rising of 1745. A battle in which the Jacobite army had attempted to overthrow King George II and restore the House of Stuart to the British throne. However, the British army defeated the Jacobites in this deadly battle and then introduced a series of harsh measures to supress any further rebellions. The construction of Fort George, a mighty fortress jutting into the Moray Firth, was one such measure, named after George II.

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Fort George History

A huge 18th century military fort near Ardersier

Building Fort George

This enormous fortress in Scotland took 22 years to construct, finally completed in 1769 at the monumental cost of over £200,000. With great defences and more than 80 guns covering every angle, it was heavily protected. However, there were no further attacks from the Jacobites and a gun has never been fired in anger.

Military Base and Visitor Attraction

Later, the British Army used it as a recruiting base and training camp. Then it became the depot of the Seaforth Highlanders, an infantry regiment of the British Army. Currently, it’s the base for the Black Watch, an infantry battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. Much of the site is now also a historic visitor attraction.

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Things to do

Visit Fort George and explore its many attractions

Visiting the Fort

Visitors to Fort George can walk around the main rampart and explore the fascinating areas within it. Including the grand magazine, historic barracks and chapel. Then learn about the fort’s history in the Highlanders Museum, located in the former Lieutenant Governors’ House. It has approximately 20,000 artefacts and 10,000 documents and photographs and is the largest regimental museum in Scotland, outside of Edinburgh. There is also a café and gift shop on site. See the Historic Environment Scotland website for ticket prices and opening times.

Address

Near Ardersier, Inverness, IV2 7TD

Telephone

01667 460232

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Historical Sites
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Culloden Battlefield
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Inverness Castle
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Culloden Battlefield

Culloden Battlefield is the site of the historic Battle of Culloden. It was the last of battle of the Jacobite rising of 1745, a rebellion attempt to overthrow the Hanovarians and restore of the House of Stuart to the British throne. Today, you can visit the moor and learn about the tragic battle that changed history at the visitor centre.

Culloden is 5 miles east of Inverness, off the A9/B9006. The attraction is signposted from there. Find opening times and ticket prices on the National Trust for Scotland website.

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Culloden History

Last of battle of the Jacobite rising of 1745

The Battle of Culloden

The battle took place on 16th April 1746, when the Jacobite Army, supporting Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) fought the British army, led by the Duke of Cumberland, son of the reigning Hanovarian king, George II.

It was a short, but exceptionally bloody battle, in which the Jacobite army was swiftly defeated. In less than an hour, around 1,300 men died. Most of them were Jacobites. Today, you can visit the moor and learn about the tragic battle that changed history at the visitor centre.

The Culloden Experience

Stand on the battlefield where this historic event took place. At the Culloden visitor centre, beside the battlefield, discover the emotions of battle at the 360-degree battle immersion theatre. Hear both sides of the story and see historic artefacts at the museum. And visit Leanach Cottage, a small thatched building which was used during the battle and is the only surviving example of its kind. There is also a gift shop and café in the visitor centre.

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Outlander Location

Fraser clan and the Battle of Culloden

Culloden Battlefield and Outlander

Fans of Outlander will be familiar with the Battle of Culloden, which features in the popular time travel series of books and TV shows. In the series, main character Jamie Fraser fights in the battle on the side of the Jacobites. Although the story is fictional, it picks up on many true historic events. The Fraser clan really did fight at the battle and the Fraser Stone is one of a number of clan markers on the battlefield. And so Culloden has become a popular part of many Outlander tours and experiences.

See Outlander videos below...

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Address

Culloden Moor, Inverness IV2 5EU

Telephone

01463 796090

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Clava Cairns
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Visit the Clava Cairns

The Clava Cairns is an ancient burial ground with three Bronze Age cairns, known in full as the “Prehistoric Burial Cairns of the Balnuaran of Clava”. This is an extremely well-preserved site for its age, dating back 4000 years.

The Clava Cairns are free to visit and open all year round. Perhaps the best time to see them is a sunset during the midwinter, when the stones align perfectly with the setting sun.

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Clava Cairns History

Ancient Scottish burial ground, built around 2000 BC

Cairns and Standing Stones

The three large burial cairns, which survive today, were built around 2000 BC. They were built on an existing settlement, where evidence of farming has been found. Positioned in a row, there may have been more than three of them at the time.

A ring of standing stones surrounds each one, some of which are now broken or moved.

Aligned with the setting sun

The central cairn is called a Ring Cairn, an enclosed ring-shaped stone structure with an inner chamber. The two outer cairns are known as Passage Graves. So-called because they include entrance passages, aligned to the south west, where the midwinter sun sets. A small number of bodies would have been laid in each chamber, probably of significant figures and leaders.

Around a thousand years later, the burial site was reused and three smaller monuments were added to it. Including a smaller ring of kerb stones near the central cairn.

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Travel through time

The location which inspired Outlander's “Craigh na Dun”

The Outlander Effect

Interest in the site has grown significantly since the release of the romantic time-travel books and TV series, Outlander. This ancient place has similarities with the fictional “Craigh na Dun” site from the series, where main character Claire is sent back in time by the magic of the standing stones. There are now more visitors than ever to the Clava Cairns. Many Outlander fans believe writer Diana Gabaldon took inspiration from here and they like to get a selfie posing with the “Outlander split stone”, a standing stone split in two, said to have mystical qualities.

See the Outlander video below...

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Address

Inverness IV2 5EU

Telephone

01667 460232

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Outlander Locations
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Loch Ness Monster
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Historical Sites
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