My journey to the Highlands involved train travel from Edinburgh—gosh I love that mode of transportation! The train station is efficiently located in the center of town, a short distance north of the River Ness which bisects the town.
I didn’t stay at the Royal Highland Hotel, pictured here as practically adjoining the station, but walked on down through town to the river, and over to my flat.
One of the delights of visiting Inverness is walking along the River Ness, fast flowing from the Moray Firth on its way into Loch Ness. Both sides have wide city sidewalks and plenty of bridges to encourage you to cross over and complete your explorations.
Above a summer’s day, below the view from my flat in January 2020.
The impressive bulk of Inverness Castle is best admired from the south side of the river.
Archeology has shown that this was a fortified position as early as the 6th century while the 11th century deeds of Macbeth occurred at a castle located south of Inverness.
After a lot of back-and-forth military actions during of the following centuries (think Mary Queen of Scots and all that history), and after many occasions of “slighting” the castle, which is the interesting concept of once you have defeated the inhabitants you damage the building and weaken its defenses to some extent, Fort George I was created on the site of the castle. This was to deal with the Jacobite Rebellions of the 17th and 18th centuries—you all know your Outlander history, right?
The Inverness Castle we see today was built in 1836, enlarged in 1846, and used as the Sheriff’s Courthouse and County Hall. Those functions have just moved to a modern facility, so this Neo-Norman structure will be renovated over the next five years to serve as a tourist attraction with rooftop terrace, cafes and exhibition space.
Stepping back to the train station area for a minute, we can check out the Victorian Market arcade. With its cozy shops and friendly merchants, time spent there was very welcome in cold January. The offerings of the fishmonger and butcher’s shop made me wish I lived in Inverness so I could go home and cook some up!
Of course, as a textile person I had to pop until the Harris Tweed shop, very close to the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. I follow the posts of several weavers who live in the Outer Hebrides…………that will be another journey in my future.
The original Inverness Museum was started in 1881 as a Highland and Jacobite collection, understandable since Culloden Battlefield is only a few miles away.
The new structure was built in 1963 and upgraded in 1963 and 2006. Its collections span natural history as well as the culture of the Highlands.
The staff is particularly welcoming and helpful.
On the first floor you will find Scottish geology, natural history and the archaeology of the Highlands including Pictish stones.
The displays continue on the second floor with the more recent history of the Highlands – Jacobite memorabilia, Inverness silver, Highland weapons and bagpipes.
One of the important early additions to the collection was a group of historic Stuart portraits including one of Prince Charles Edward Stuart.
Garment displayed is also attributed to Bonnie Prince Charlie.
The fun way to learn how to wear a kilt! Two young cousins were visiting from Glasgow—we all got the giggles as they went through this proceducre!