Inverness (Inbhir Nis) is situated on the mouth of the river Ness at the Moray Firth, it was home to the Pictish people. The city is near where the King MacBeth murdered King Duncan in the 11-Century. Many clans battled over lands in the area including the MacDonalds, Monro and Macintosh. And even Oliver Cromwell paid a visit with troops and occupied it. It is close to the famous Culloden Moor where the last battle of the Jacobites was in 1745.
THINGS TO DO
Castles there are, Inverness Castle is imposing, but is a recent fixture build in 1836 by William Burn that was built on the site of a previous defensive structure. This castle is not open to the public, but you can view from the grounds. You can now pay a small fee to go to the observation tower and see a 360 of Inverness. Castle Urquhart is at Loch Ness and is a great clamoring ruin that can be viewed. It’s been featured in films and series. This castle is extremely popular, so allow for time to visit it and climb it’s stairs.
Another must see and be experienced is Culloden Moor is where the famed battle took place in 1745 and the visitor center is one of the best historic sites I have been to. The chilling interactive display that takes you through the history of the battle and allows you to wander through each side of the combatants as you walk the story wall is very moving. When you get to the battlefield you will feel the presence of those lost with stone markers and spirits. Many bring flowers and place them by identified clan sites, or there is the stone for the rest of the clans that joined without official envoy. I visited on a true Scots day filled with dreich and was soaked through with wet and memory. Whatever your flavor of emotion, it is one of the sites where you will be humbled.
From Inverness you can take tours of Skye, or the Orkney Islands, to look at standing stones and Puffins. There are about 70 islands, some containing stone dwellings and standing stones and it is the northernmost part of the British Isles. Visit this great Neolithic village area.
The river Ness filters out of the Loch and runs to the sea through Inverness. I walked it’s banks over two days, exploring and meeting some amazing dogs and people. Anglers come out to fish in the evening and there is amazing seafood fare. I had my first Cullen Skink at a restaurant on the shore, and yet more mushy peas. Cullen Skink is a rich, smoked fish soup. The Ness boasts some great walkways, and if you continue up it, you will reach the Botanical Gardens.
I took a day and headed out to the stones on a bus/hiking adventure. It was a hike to get there, nestled between farmlands. The site is amazing though and there are several round formations, some of which you can go to the center of and look out. I spent a lot of time looking and thinking about the endeavor. Why would people do this, to their gods? These were burial mounds constructed in around 2000 BC and are what is called passage graves, where you walk to the grave site through the stones. Spend at least an hour here and take time with each mound and the standing stones. You will feel the presence of people past.