Inverness and the River Ness

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A Walk to the Ness Islands

Take a pleasant walk following the east or left bank of the beautiful River Ness upstream from the main road bridge nearest to the Tourist Information Office. Cross the river, after about ¼ mile, by the Infirmary footbridge – a small suspension bridge that bounces up and down alarmingly if you walk too fast! Be sure to visit the War Memorial at Cavell Gardens. Further downstream are the peaceful Ness Islands which sit in the river and are connected to each other by footbridges which are fun to explore.

Infirmary Bridge, Ness Islands

From the Ness Islands, it is easy to walk to a variety of attractions including the crazy golf course (with ice cream kiosk), the skatepark, ice rink, Inverness Leisure (sports facilities and swimming pool) and the Highlands Archive Centre.
In Whin Park you can sit by the river, or try out the miniature railway, boating lake and children's play areas.

Inverness Botanic Gardens is a must-see with its colourful gardens, cactus house and cafe. The tropical greenhouse is currently closed but there's still plenty to see. Open daily all year round. Entrance is free.

Inverness Botanic Gardens

From the Ness Islands, return to the city along the riverside, passing Eden Court Theatre (currently closed) and Inverness St Andrew’s Cathedral. The Gothic inspired cathedral finished in 1866 was originally intended to have spires but these were never added. At the top of the arched window on the river side is a carved horse, added to commemorate the horse which was used to operate the pulley raising stones to the top during building. Unfortunately the rope broke, dropping a stone which killed the horse, now remembered by the carving!
Inverness Cathedral is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm, and Sundays from 11am to 4pm. Free admission. Donations welcome.
You can enjoy coffee and cake in the old schoolhouse adjacent to the Cathedral (open Monday-Saturday 10am to 4pm). Or buy some refreshments from the kiosk on Ness Walk which sells coffees, crêpes, waffles, snacks and ice creams.
The riverside is also a pretty walk in the evenings when the trees are festooned with fairylights.

Inverness Cathedral

Canal Walks

You can also find some flat walks on the towpaths either side of the Caledonian Canal which can be accessed near the Ness Islands or at Clachnaharry where the canal enters the Firth. At the Muirtown Basin at the bottom of the canal locks, you can walk round in a loop and spot the yachts.
You can also explore the Merkinch Local Nature Reserve with views over the Firth and the Kessock Bridge.

Caledonian Canal
Caledonian Canal

Guided Walking Tours of Inverness

Guided Walking Tours:

  • WOW Scotland offers entertaining, family-friendly walking tours of Inverness. Tours are scheduled on request. Advance booking is essential. They can also provide Outlander walking tours. WOW Scotland are 5 star rated by VisitScotland and are the number one tour operator in Inverness on TripAdvisor.
  • Walk Inverness with Cath Findlay is a 2-hour guided walking tour (only for one group of people who are together). Advance booking essential.
  • Walking Tours in Inverness offer 90-minute guided walks every day at 11.30am. There is also a tour at 6pm until 13 September 2020. Maximum 14 people from 3 households. Advance booking is essential.
Ness Islands

Forestry Trails

There are some lovely forestry walks around Inverness including Craig Dunain, Craig Phadrig and Ord Hill. Just pick up a trails leaflet at Inverness Tourist Information Centre.
Inverness is also the start of the Great Glen Way - a long distance walking path which runs all the way to Fort William on the west coast. There are accessible stretches of the walk from Inverness starting along the Canal.

Inverness paths to walk

Loch Ness 360

From Torbreck on the edge of Inverness to Fort Augustus, The South Loch Ness Trail (walking, cycling or riding) now joins up with the Great Glen Way paths and creates the new 'Loch Ness 360' trail.

Loch Ness photo © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Loch Ness