Inverness: A Great Base For Exploring The Highlands of Scotland

Nestled on the banks of the River Ness at the head of the Great Glen, this tiny, charming city is considered the gateway to the Highlands. The four-hour train journey from Glasgow takes you deep into the heart of Scotland, beginning at Inverness. As the train cuts through the stunning, atmospheric countryside, where grassy verges dip into cragged rock formations below, the air becomes colder and thinner; it is one of the most beautiful train journeys you can take in the UK.

Inverness provides the door to the wind-swept, dramatic Highlands but also, in its own right, is an enchanting and historic city to visit. There is so much to do in and around inverness and so we have compiled the ultimate tick list while you’re holidaying in the Scotland.

Before you set off make sure to plan your trip by booking up your accommodation and any activities you wish to do that are likely to book out. You might also want to consider some holiday cover while traversing the more rugged areas of the UK. Don’t let any stumbles or mishaps ruin your holiday.

In Inverness

The Inverness Castle is a relatively new build, as it was constructed in 1847 to replace the castle blown up by the Jacobites. Its smooth caramel brickwork is far more modern and softer than older Scottish architecture.

The Old High Church is the oldest church in the city and is open for services most days and every Friday you can take a free tour of its interior.

The main Museum and Art Gallery has a collection of medieval stones, wildlife exhibitions and an array of historic weapons.

A stroll through the Ness Islands gets you out of the city limits and is particularly peaceful and captivating. On rainy, overcast days the islands are glistening green and refreshing but during the summer months the bright sun reflects the grassy hues casting a dappled light across the paths.

Check out the tourist office for different activities going on; from golfing to watersports, you will something fun at any time of year.

Rent a bike from any of the outlets (there are quite a few hire shops) jump on and cycle through the Ness Islands, waterfront or along the river with a guide.

If you planning on doing a lot on holiday it may be wise to invest in some travel insurance for these activities and adventures.

Outside Inverness

History enthusiasts will be in their element at the Culloden Battlefield, which lies on the outskirts of Inverness and was the scene of Bonny Prince Charles final defeat in 1746.

There are two mountain resorts in close proximity to the city, which are Cairngorm, 30 miles away, and the Nevis range. Each caters to a wide range of snow sports and perched on the mountains are many welcoming restaurants. The Nevis range is easy to reach by car in Fort William and you will ascend by a stretching cable car gondola over the jagged mountains.

Loch Ness is just 6 miles from Inverness and should be part of everyone’s to do list. The folklore about the Ness monster has imbued the loch with an austere and haunting quality. The scenery is verdant and achingly beautiful. The place to start would be Drumnadrochit, a small village sitting on the shores of Loch Ness. For a dark spooky walk head down to the loch where the old ruined castle lays and the howling wind and ominous loch are eerily silent.

By Natalie Laurence

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Meet The Makers returns to Culloden Battlefield

Culloden Battlefield are delighted to welcome back Exclusively Highlands following a very successful arts, crafts and food event in May.

Visitors and locals alike so enjoyed seeing many of the crafters at work as well as crafts and foods that connected on an historical level with Culloden Battlefield, that every endeavour has been made to repeat the event.  As a result the makers will be back on 31st August, for a one day fair from 10am until 5pm.  Entrance to the Meet the Makers Exhibition is free.

There is a further opportunity to see a silversmith at work.  Other jewellers will also be working with traditional tools in copper and other materials, in one case with beautiful Pictish design jewellery. Handbags and hats made with local materials, driftwood art and furniture made with locally sourced wood.  All exhibitors live and work in the Highlands and where they are not actually demonstrating their art can they can talk knowledgably about their subject. A Scottish wildlife photographer for example who is an expert on the animals he captures on film.   However, perhaps no claims about personal knowledge of local wildlife from the children’s author who has recently published a story about Nessie (in six different languages).

Isabel Stewart, founder of Exclusively Highlands says “Visitors to our first event here really enjoyed meeting the makers.  It was inspiring to have such a positive response from the public to our own knowledge and enthusiasm.  We are delighted to return to Culloden Battlefield. ”

Exclusively Highlands has over 80 members.  All members are artists, crafters or food producers living and working in the Highlands of Scotland.  They attend events personally and so can assure visitors of the provenance of every single item.  All the goods are carefully chosen for their unique and excellent quality. Group members make a diverse range of goods including handbags, bodices, millinery, jewellery, knitwear, upcycled vintage clothing, soaps, paper and silk crafts, glass art, wood and ceramic sculpture, photography, pottery and furniture. There are also a whole range of food items such as preserves and sauces, baking, chocolates and hand-reared meats.  Members travel from all corners of the Highlands to bring their arts, crafts and foods to these events.   Prices range from a few pounds upwards so visitors can find something special whatever their budget.

Melanie McKay
Member of Exclusively Highlands
01463 250127

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