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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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…
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.