INverness: the city IN the Highlands

The title of this blogpost is just as annoying as it sounds, and yes, it is the tourism slogan for Inverness. I find it annoying because the name isn’t pronounced with an accent on the IN, the accent is on the NESS, so this slogan flips it all around and makes me sound like an idiot when I say INverness.

Looking down the River Ness, with the churches on the right and our hotel on the left. The river is quite wide, but only a few feet deep. It made me long for an inner-tube!

All that is beside the point, however, because both Alex and I really enjoyed our stay IN the city IN the Highlands. The city is considered the capital of the Highlands, but I definitely didn’t feel like I was IN the Highlands whilst there … I heard lots of seagulls, and not many bagpipes. But it’s really a nice place.  The river Ness (which is where the city name, Imbhir Ness in Gaelic, comes from – it means “Mouth of the River Ness” was a charming and babbling brook.  We were both astonished at how clean and clear the water was – you could see right through to the rocks below. I think we’ll have to go back for the Highland Games next July, as I really do want to see those!

This is the castle of Inverness, but it’s a bit of a fake. It’s a Victorian reconstruction, and you know those Victorians were never very interested in accuracy! Nowadays it’s the civic and court center, so you can’t tour the inside (unless you get yourself arrested, but I don’t think it’s worth it!)

We enjoyed a charming walk about a mile upriver to the Ness Islands, which seemed really idyllic. Just a few small islands in the middle of the river, you feel like you’re totally on your own. They also have some really cool artistic benches scattered about, providing the perfect spot to enjoy the scenery.

This is the train station in Inverness. I have to admit, I think it’s definitely one of the ugliest buildings I’ve ever seen. It’s really a pity, because on either side are some nice stone buildings, but the squat, concrete, 1970’s style of the station is hideous. I wonder what they tore down to put this up?


A couple enjoying a quiet moment on the Ness Islands.


We saw a lot of people sitting along the banks of the river – some rather precariously! A few were almost vertical along the steep banks … and I would be afraid that if I nodded off, I would get a dunking!


A pedestrian bridge spanning the River Ness, leading from the “mainland” out to one of the Ness Islands. Alex was enchanted by the house in the background with the pointed turrets … it looks like a princess lives there!


After a lovely dinner we took another stroll by the river, and captured the castle just after sunset. It’s pretty striking the way it sits on that hill and overlooks the river … it must have been quite intimidating back in the day!





Posted on 24/08/2012, in Exploring the UK, travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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