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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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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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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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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