Inverness - The Highland Capital

Inverness CastleInverness, was awarded city status in 2001 as part of the millennium celebrations emphasising its position as 'Capital of the Highlands.' Settlements in this locality can be traced back to the 6th century but is only in the pastfew decades that Inverness has blossomed into the lively place it is today.

Today the city boasts many attractions: excellent shoping facilities, pedestrian-only areas, a museum, theatres, cinemas and a Premier League football team - Inverness Caledonian Thistle! In February 2011 the Privy Council conferred full university status on the University of the Highlands & Islands, Inverness having the main campus.

A striking feature of the City is Inverness Castle perched on a rock above the River Ness. The present castle was built in 1836 although several fortifications have stood on the site for over a thousand years. Unfortunately the 'fluid' state of Scottish politics over the centuries has seen much destruction and rebuilding during the period. However at present peace prevails and the castle is now the a courthouse. Althought the building is closed to the public the surrounding grounds are open.

Felicity the Cannich Puma, Photo © Inverness MuseumNearby in Castle Wynd is the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery housing a number of interesting collections and also the Highland Photographic Archive. One important exhibit very close to the hearts of those in Strathglass is 'Felicity' the Puma captured at Kerrow in Cannich in 1980 by a local farmer. He eventually trapped it in a custom built cage having seen it prowling the hills of the Strath for several years. Allegations that analysis of it's droppings following capture contained 'Kitty Kat' are strongly refuted by us in the Strath - you only have to look at her picture to determine she was totally wild having fed on scores of the local sheep. Felicity spent her remaining years at Kincraig Wildlife Park and after death was stuffed and placed on exhibition in the museum.

Across the River Ness stands Inverness cathedral - The Scottish Episcopalian Cathedral Church of St Andrew. Built between 1866 and 1869 it perhaps is not as grand as was intended. Due to lack of cash 100 foot spires intended to sit atop the twin towers were never built. Nevertheless the Cathedral is still an imposing building with some impressive stained glass windows so is well worth a visit. All denominations are welcome and during the summer months the small shop and tearoom is open every day.

Not far from the cathedral is Eden Court the only large scale performance venue in the Highlands fully refurbished in 2007 offering an all year roud programme of the performing arts from opera to popular music, concerts, ballet, modern dance, drama and films.

The Caledonian Canal designed by Thomas Telford is another fine feature you can explore in part while in Inverness. The canal stretches some 60 miles from the Clachnaharry Sea Loch on the Beauly Firth to Loch Linnhe at Corpach near Fort William. There are several road and rail swing bridges in Inverness that cater for passing traffic on the canal and also you can watch crafts of various sizes negotiating the locks. Footpaths adjacent to the canal also provide the opportunity for interesting walks.

The Cathedral Church of St Andrew, InvernessShip on Caledonian Canal InvernessClachnaharry Lock on Beauly Firth