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Ideas for Inverness

Our 2022 RS Tour (8 days) starts in Inverness on a Sunday afternoon mid-June. We will be arriving in Inverness Late Saturday (coming from 4 days in Glasgow & Stirling).
Any suggestions for Sunday? The Castle is closed for renovation & the Art Museum is closed on Sunday. The tour will visit Loch Ness, Castles Urquhart & Cawdor and Culloden Battlefield on Monday. Very open to ideas/suggestions.
Thanks!

Posted by
9823 posts

I have been to Inverness three times but mainly as a base for exploring the Highlands.

In Inverness itself, there isn't much.

How are you getting from Glasgow to Inverness? Train? Car? Bus?

Posted by
9823 posts

I looked at your schedule and the tour route and both seem to miss the Highlands and the Islands--the best parts of Scotland. So here is what I am going to suggest.

Instead of taking the regular train route from Stirling to Inverness--which mimicks a lot of what you'll see on tour--I want you to go a different way. Backtrack to Glasgow and take the train to Fort William. It is probably the most beautiful train ride in all of the UK.

From Fort William you have a choice. You can stay on the train to Mallaig OR you can switch to the Jacobite Steam Train to Mallaig.

https://westcoastrailways.co.uk/jacobite/steam-train-trip

Depending on the timing of the trains, you can either spend Saturday night in Mallaig or return to Fort William for the night. (There is a Premier Inn about a five minute walk from the Fort William rail station. I've stayed there and it's nice.)

Then on Sunday, from Fort William you can catch the bus---there is no train--to Inverness. (The bus stands are next to the rail station.) I've also done this and it's a regular bus taking a scenic backroads journey stopping at small towns on the way. The bus ride is just about 2 hours and there are a few services daily.

You'll have to look at schedules to see how it will work. It's way too early to know what they will be until months from now.

As I've said, I've done this but didn't leave enough time to truly enjoy it. I might do it again as I have been to Scotland a few times and plan to return for more.

Posted by
14 posts

What a great idea!! Thank you for all of the information. It’s just what I needed!
Many thanks!

Posted by
5563 posts

Another option would be to take the train to Dunkeld or Pitlochry and then continue on to Inverness the next day. If you are interested doing a bit of walking Dunkeld is lovely for that as there easy walks into the hills or along the Tay river. Dunkeld itself has a wonderful cathedral (It was one of the early center of the church in Scotland. I can always find live music in Dunkeld. Several places that have sessions.

Pitlochry is interesting as it has the Festival Theater. Also the Atholl distillery is walkable. It is hard to say now what will be playing at the Theatre when you are ready to travel. I heard Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham in concert when I was there and it was fantastic. There is also the Explorers Garden.

If you do end up in Inverness on a Sunday, you could look into a boat ride on the Moray Firth and hunt for dolphins. And if you are there on Saturday night, you should check out the Gig Guide to find out who is playing. There are amazing fiddlers that play at these pubs. You never who drops in as well.

And if you want a preview, MacGregor's Bar is live on Face book with sessions.

Pam

Pam

Posted by
1045 posts

If you do take the bus from Fort WIlliam to Inverness and the schedule allows, I suggest you stop in Fort Augustus for lunch and watch the boats go through the locks. It is wonderfully relaxing to watch people struggle to draw their boats from lock to lock (only certified boaters may use the motor in the locks)

Posted by
14 posts

Thank you Pam! The dolphin boat watch is a great idea!
Live music would be fun too!

Posted by
1790 posts

For a night time activity, you can head to the Hootenanny for live music. We also enjoyed, on a nice day, a walk along the river Ness.

Posted by
14 posts

Pam, I made note of your Pitlochry suggestions, the RS Tour spends 2 nights there.
Thanks for your help!

Posted by
31 posts

Inverness has a beautiful set of paths along the river, which make for a lovely walk away from the city. And an opportunity to meet/talk with local residents. Not sure about Sundays specifically, but: Inverness has a great local live music scene in the pubs & clubs. Worth asking at your hotel or researching via local websites.

Posted by
14 posts

Will definitely check out the music scene!
Walking along the river sounds like a good idea on a Sunday.
Thanks!

Posted by
5563 posts

If Rick takes you to Pitlochry, then Dunkeld is another options.

Also, Fort George is another option for the Inverness area. I visited it a number of years ago and really enjoyed my visit. To begin with there are spectacular views of the Moray Firth. Second, the history is interesting. It was built in the aftermath of the 1745 Rising and so is related to the Culloden Battlefield that you'll see on the tour. I was fascinated by the structure of the Fort in addition to the history.

I am sure that there is a bus. Check with the Visit Scotland staff and they can help you. Also, I really recommend Undiscovered Scotland as site to look for all the places you are visiting. Here' the Fort George link.

Lastly, if you are just done with touring and want to walk in the woods and along the firth, ask about a bus to Culbin Sands. It is up past Nain, which itself has a lovely beach, but the forest and beach at Culbin is quite lovely. Lots of seals and sea birds to entertain you.

Pam

Posted by
260 posts

I'm in the camp that thinks Inverness is more than just as a transport hub or jumping off point for nearby adventures.

As someone else noted, the pubs and music scene are active and the riverside walk is lovely too. Since you seem to have a busy Monday, I'd just enjoy the lovely city center including views over the River Ness and some pedestrian friendly people-watching throughout the downtown area. Inverness Cathedral is underrated too, and we loved a short stop in Leakey's Bookshop which is steps from the train station and the river (expansive and housed in a former church, perfect place for a visit especially if it rains). All of this is very compact and walkable. I'm sure there's other things too that we didn't hit.

Perhaps Inverness wouldn't be a destination if it weren't so well situated in relation to other points of interest in the Highlands, but if you're there anyway then I think it is well worth a day on its own.

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks Steve! Sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday! I think we will need a break & will certainly enjoy the scenery/atmosphere!

Posted by
5563 posts

I am with you Steve! I love visiting Inverness! It gives me taste of Scotland today and what people who live there experience. There is some shopping some touristy, some not. There have been some wonderful jewelry stores that carry Scottish designers. I love Hazel Passmore's jewelry. Maybe by the time you visit her gallery will be open again! Check out Ortak as they will have outlets in Inverness. Then there are places to by sweaters...or rather jumpers. I love Judith Glue's woolens. Cawdor Castle gift shop had some back in the day. Don't know about post Pandemic.

Also, How can I have forgotten Leakey's Books! Here's an old article.

I'll try to stop now.