Explore Rural Inverness

The first people in Inverness arrived around 8000 years ago and the area has played an important role in the history of the Highlands ever since. With links to St Columba, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the world's most famous monster the Inverness area has a wealth of interest to offer the visitor.

Click on the map or the key to the right to browse some of the accessible, interesting sites to be found in Rural Inverness.

1. Fort George

Aerial view of Fort George © James S BoneFort George was completed in 1769 and had been designed to defend against the prospect of another Jacobite uprising. Today the fort buildings are shared by the Army and Historic Scotland, they show a fascinating insight into both 18th Century and modern army barracks. MoreBack to top

2. Culloden Battlefield

Memorial cairn at Culloden BattlefieldBy 1746 the Jacobite uprising and support for Bonnie Prince Charlie was a significant threat to the Government. On 16th April 1746, the Jacobite army were outnumbered and defeated by Government troops on Culloden Moor. The National Trust for Scotland has now reconstructed what some of the battlefield will have looked like on that day. The site also includes a visitor centre that explains the history of the Jacobite cause. MoreBack to top

3. Balnuaran of Clava

Cup marked boulder in north-east cairnThree prehistoric cairns at Balnuaran of Clava were excavated in the 19th Century. The thirty similar known cairns in Scotland have been named after them – as ‘Clava-type’ cairns. The site is now under the care of Historic Scotland and survives as a striking testament to early prehistoric burial practice. MoreBack to top

4. General Wade’s Change House

Ruins of change houseThe remains of the Change House now survive only as ruinous stone walls. This was once an Inn where people travelling along the military road from Inverness to Fort Augustus could find shelter and food, and could ‘change’ horses or carters. MoreBack to top

5. Whitebridge

The Wade bridge at WhitebridgeWhitebridge has one of the finest surviving examples of a single span, hump-backed bridge, built by General Wade’s troops as they created a road link between Inverness and Fort Augustus. Today the modern road bypasses the old bridge and it now stands as a monument to General Wade’s extensive and successful road network. MoreBack to top

6. Bridge of Oich

Cantilever bridge at Bridge of OichIn 1849 floods swept through the Great Glen, breaching the Caledonian Canal and destroying the stone bridge over the River Oich. Its replacement is a fine example of an industrial double cantilever bridge. Now in the care of Historic Scotland, this site gives an insight into Scotland’s industrial heritage. MoreBack to top

7. Torr Dhuin

Torr Dhuin fortified dunThe fortified dun known as Torr Dhuin lies on the high ground overlooking River Oich and the Great Glen. This later prehistoric fort will have been seen as a symbol of power by the people who lived in the valley below. A network of Forestry Commission paths extends through the woods to this hillfort where the visitor can experience breath-taking views up the strath and towards the Monadhliath and Cairngorm Mountains. MoreBack to top

8. Mackenzie’s Cairn and Grave

Grave of Roderick MackenzieRoderick Mackenzie (who was renowned as a look-a-like of Bonnie Prince Charlie) died at the hands of Cumberland’s government forces in July 1746, three months after Culloden. Roderick was beheaded and his head was taken to Fort Augustus for formal identification which allowed Prince Charlie the precious time he needed to escape. This cairn marks where Roderick was said to have been slain; the grave holds his body – minus his head. MoreBack to top

9. Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle © Andrew TaylorUrquhart Castle was once one of Scotland’s greatest castles and still dominates the banks of Loch Ness. It has been lying in ruins since 1691, when government forces destroyed it to prevent the castle falling into enemy hands. Historic Scotland now cares for this site and provides a visitor centre that explains the castle’s history. MoreBack to top

10. Corrimony Cairn

Central chamber of cairnCorrimony Cairn is a Clava-type cairn and was excavated in 1952. Today the site is maintained by The National Trust for Scotland and it is possible to enter the cairn chamber to see the curious stone cup-markings. MoreBack to top

11. Kiltarlity Old Parish Church

Kiltarlity Old Parish ChurchThere are references to a church on this site dating back to 1227, but the ruins visible today are relatively new, dating only to the 16th Century. The site lies within a beautiful setting with wonderful riverside views and the Kilmorack hydro-electric power station lies just up river. The graveyard is still used today. MoreBack to top

12. Beauly Priory

Beauly PrioryBeauly Priory was founded in 1230 as one of only three Valliscaulian abbeys in Scotland. However by the end of the Middle Ages its allegiances changed and it became a Cistercian abbey . Beauly Mercat Cross lies close to the Priory and was erected in 1430 when Beauly acquired the rights to hold its own markets. MoreBack to top

13. Abriachan Roundhouse

Reconstructed roundhouseA well maintained reconstruction of a Bronze Age house lies in woodland near Abriachan (such sites are often described as Hut Circles). The reconstruction is built close to the remains of a prehistoric settlement and field system. The reconstruction forms part of a woodland interpretation project which includes numerous other activities to keep you amused. Back to top

14. Wardlaw Mausoleum

Wardlaw MausoleumWardlaw Mausoleum dates back to 1722 and has a rich history which refers to an earlier church on this site from the early 17th Century. This site is an excellent example of Highland burial tradition, displaying many extremely ornate gravestones. MoreBack to top

15. Craig Phadrig Hillfort

View from fort towards Beauly Firth © Forestry Commission ScotlandThe striking landmark of Craig Phadrig hillfort is believed to have once been the stronghold of the Pictish King, Brude. Tradition holds that Craig Phadrig is where St Columba met King Brude to bring Christianity to this area. MoreBack to top

The sites listed here are the most accessible as defined in the Rural Inverness Access to Archaeology Audit of 1999.