Old Inverness Walking Tour – Itinerary
Our first meeting point for the Old Inverness Tour can be at your accommodation, or any other city centre location that makes sense for the walking route. We often begin at the Forbes Fountain on Ladies Walk because it tends to be the highest point upstream that we visit. Working the way downstream, crossing and recrossing the River Ness, we visit many places of interest. Chief among them would be the Cathedral, the Castle Esplanade, and then into the heart of the old town. There we will see some of the oldest buildings still standing – such as Abertarff House and the Old High Church. And we will even visit Greyfriars churchyard so you can have a wee read of the tombstones.
We find this interesting and somewhat massive fountain on the right bank of the river (as we travel downstream), half a mile south of the city centre. It makes a good position from which to begin our adventure. The name Forbes Fountain merely enshrines the name of the doctor who presented it to the town.
Architect Alexander Ross began work on Inverness Cathedral in 1866, and it opened for services in 1869. Thus it was the first Cathedral to be completely built and consecrated in Great Britain since the Protestant Reformation of 1560. Invernessians call it Inverness Cathedral, Highlanders call it the Highland Cathedral, and it’s proper name is the Cathedral Church of St Andrew. So good they named it thrice!
Inverness Castle Esplanade is the ideal place to form a sense of the layout of Inverness because of the elevation. You can chart both the river’s course and the medieval street pattern. The Picts probably fortified this castle hill as much as 2,000 years ago, but there has certainly been a Royal Castle here since Malcolm III’s castle of 1057. The castle we see before us today, however, actually dates from 1836, and was built as offices and for show, rather than for defence.
We find Abertarff House tucked away just off Church Street. The Frasers of Lovat owned this, Inverness’ oldest surviving house, dating from the 1500’s. The National Trust for Scotland now own and care for this historic building.
Old High Church
Near the downstream end of Church Street we find the gates and steps up to the Old High Church. The oldest portions of the current church date from the 1300’s, although this has been a site of worship since long before that. The congregation claim that St Columba preached on this low hill, known as St Michaels Mound, so that would indicates a date in the 500’s AD.
Friars Street lies downstream of Church Street. The gates on the right of the street give us access to Greyfriars Churchyard. This churchyard is misnamed, because it was the monastery of the Dominican Black Friars that was here in the 1200’s. This is the oldest gravyard in Inverness, and the octagonal pillar may be the last remaining fragment of the Friary.
Old Inverness Walking Tour – Price
£75 for the tour.
Old Inverness Walking Tour – Departure
Our first meeting point can be your accommodation, or other city centre site that makes sense for the walking route.