Regular readers of A Highland Blend may know that I used to live in Inverness, but as with many people who live in a tourist destination, doing touristy activities isn’t often at the top of the list. I’m getting better at this as I explore Caithness and Sutherland! However last week on a trip to the Highland capital, I joined a local sightseeing walking tour with Walk Inverness. I joined a free sightseeing tour which was fundraising for local charities Mikeys Line and The Hive during #mentalhealthawarenessweek.
Cath was our guide for a 90 minute saunter round Inverness City Centre. Walking was done at a leisurely pace between all of our stopping places.
Our stopping points included:
- Falcon Square
- Academy Street and The Victorian Market
- Church Street and Leakeys Bookshop
- Old High Church and Graveyard – a must visit for any Outlander fans!
- River Ness
- Inverness Castle
- Inverness Town Hall
Cath was full of knowledge on the amazing local history that Inverness has – starting from Pictish history around 600 AD right up until recent times when Inverness was awarded city status in 2001.
Cath encouraged us to look up and around us for clues during the sightseeing tour, and highlighted this locally produced augmented reality app that you can view using plaques dotted around the city. It is a really interactive way of seeing Inverness, especially for children. Cath provides her own City Safari Treasure Hunt for children on the tour, and under 12’s go free.
While one of Scotland’s most famous battles happened at Culloden, key events before and after in Jacobite history took place in Inverness, and Cath recounted these as we passed various buildings. I had never paid much attention to Abertarff House before, which is now open to the public. It’s the oldest non-religious building in Inverness.
Having spent her whole life in Inverness, Cath had lots of stories and connections to Inverness’s history – a personal touch really brings a tour like this to life. Ask Cath for her connection to Scottish band The Proclaimers! Cath also can give recommend some great dining and drinking recommendations for visitors.
One of the best opportunities for photos of Inverness is at the Castle, which is currently the site of the Sheriff’s court. If you want to see inside, the only way to do this currently is to commit a crime (although a new Justice centre is being built and there’s talk of making the castle some kind of visitor attraction)!
I had a great time on the sightseeing tour. For me, there was a good balance of history and monuments, picturesque riverside scenery, little hidden gems (look up for the trains in the Victorian Market) and information for visitors. Cath can also tailor private tours to the interest of the guests. Check out the FAQ for more information. Online booking is the only way you can join a Walk Inverness tour, and these run on Tuesdays, and Thursdays – Saturdays through to the end of September 2019.
Thanks to Cath at Walk Inverness for inviting me to take a tour.