Coordinates: / 72745) 57°28′18″N 4°13′31″W / 57.4717°N 4.2254°W / 57.4717; -4.2254

Inbhir Nis
Inverness view 3.jpg
A view of Inverness
InvernessInbhir Nis is located in Inverness
Inbhir Nis

Inbhir Nis shown within the Inverness area
Population 56,660 / 72,745 [1]
    - Density  1078.6 /sq mi
Language English
Scottish Gaelic
OS grid reference NH666450
    - Edinburgh  158 miles (254 km) 
    - London  561 miles (903 km) 
Council area Highland
Lieutenancy area Inverness
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district IV1-IV3, IV5, IV13, IV63
Dialling code 01463
Police Northern
Fire Highlands and Islands
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
Scottish Parliament Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber
Ross, Skye and Inverness West
Website City of Inverness and Area
List of places: UK • Scotland •

Inverness (from the Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Nis pronounced [iɲɪɾʲˈniʃ], meaning "Mouth of the River Ness" About this sound listen ) is a city in the Scottish Highlands. It is the administrative centre for the Highland council area,[2] and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands of Scotland. Inverness lies near two important battle sites: the 11th century battle of Blàr nam Fèinne against Norway which took place on the Aird and the 18th century Battle of Culloden which took place on Culloden Moor.[3] It is the northernmost city in the United Kingdom and lies within the Great Glen (Gleann Mòr) at its north-eastern extremity where the River Ness enters the Moray Firth. At the latest, a settlement was established by the 6th century with the first royal charter being granted by Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim (King David I) in the 12th century. The Gaelic king, Mac Bethad mac Findláich (MacBeth) nicknamed An Rígh Dearg (The Red King) held a castle within the city where he ruled as Mormaer of Moray and Ross.[4]

The population of Inverness increased by over 10% from 1991–2001 and from 1997–2007[5] with an estimated population in 2008 of 56,660 [6] or 72,745 including surrounding suburbs.[7] Inverness is one of Europe's fastest growing cities,[8] with a quarter of the Highland population living in or around the city[9] and is ranked fifth out of 189 British cities for its quality of life, the highest of any Scottish city.[10] In the recent past, Inverness has experienced rapid economic growth - between 1998 and 2008, Inverness and the rest of the Central Highlands showed the largest growth of average economic productivity per person in Scotland and the second greatest growth in the United Kingdom as a whole, with an increase of 86%.[11] Inverness is twinned with one German city, Augsburg and two French towns, La Baule and Saint-Valery-en-Caux.[12]

Inverness College is the main campus for the University of the Highlands and Islands.[13] With around 8,500 students, Inverness College hosts around a quarter of all the University of the Highlands and Islands' students, and 30% of those studying to degree level.[14]



"Prospectus Civitatis Innerness", Inverness in 1693

Inverness was one of the chief strongholds of the Picts, and in AD 565 was visited by St Columba with the intention of converting the Pictish king Brude, who is supposed to have resided in the vitrified fort on Craig Phadrig,[15] on the western edge of the city. A 93 oz (2.6 kg) silver chain dating to 500–800 was found just to the south at Torvean in 1983.[16] A church or a monk's cell is thought to have been established by early Celtic monks on St Michael's Mount, a mound close to the river, now the site of the Old High Church[17] and graveyard. The castle is said to have been built by Máel Coluim III (Malcolm III) of Scotland, after he had razed to the ground the castle in which Mac Bethad mac Findláich (Macbeth) had, according to much later tradition, murdered Máel Coluim's father Donnchad (Duncan I), and which stood on a hill around 1 km to the north-east.

The strategic location of Inverness has led to many conflicts in the area. Reputedly there was a battle in the early 11th century between King Malcolm and Thorfinn of Norway at Blar Nam Feinne, to the southwest of the city.[18]

Inverness had four traditional fairs, including Legavrik or "Leth-Gheamradh", meaning midwinter, and Faoilleach. William the Lion (d. 1214) granted Inverness four charters, by one of which it was created a royal burgh. Of the Dominican friary founded by Alexander III in 1233, only one pillar and a worn knight's effigy survive in a secluded graveyard near the town centre.

Medieval Inverness suffered regular raids from the Western Isles, particularly by the MacDonald Lords of the Isles in the fifteenth century. In 1187 one Domhnall Bán (Donald Bane) led islanders in a battle at Torvean against men from Inverness Castle led by the governor's son, Donnchadh Mac Coinnich (Duncan Mackintosh).[19] Both leaders were killed in the battle, Donald Bane is said to have been buried in a large cairn near the river, close to where the silver chain was found.[20] Local tradition says that the citizens fought off the Clan MacDonald in 1340 at the Battle of Blairnacoi on Drumderfit Hill, north of Inverness across the Beauly Firth.[21] On his way to the Battle of Harlaw in 1411, Donald of Islay harried the city, and sixteen years later James I held a parliament in the castle to which the northern chieftains were summoned, of whom three were executed for asserting an independent sovereignty.[citation needed] Clan Munro defeated Clan Mackintosh in 1454 at the Battle of Clachnaharry just west of the city.[22] The Clan MacDonald and their allies stormed the castle during the Raid on Ross in 1491.

In 1562, during the progress undertaken to suppress Huntly's insurrection, Mary, Queen of Scots, was denied admittance into Inverness Castle by the governor, who belonged to the earl's faction, and whom she afterwards caused to be hanged. The Clan Munro and Clan Fraser took the castle for her.[23] The house in which she lived meanwhile stood in Bridge Street until the 1970s, when it was demolished to make way for the second Bridge Street development.

Beyond the then northern limits of the town, Oliver Cromwell built a citadel capable of accommodating 1,000 men, but with the exception of a portion of the ramparts it was demolished at the Restoration. The only surviving modern remnant is a clock tower. In 1715 the Jacobites occupied the royal fortress as a barracks. In 1727 the government built the first Fort George here, but in 1746 it surrendered to the Jacobites and they blew it up.[24]

Culloden Moor lies nearby, and was the site of the Battle of Culloden in 1746, which ended the Jacobite Rising of 1745–1746.

On 7 September 1921, the first UK Cabinet meeting to be held outside London took place in the Town House, when David Lloyd George, on holiday in Gairloch, called an emergency meeting to discuss the situation in Ireland. The Inverness Formula composed at this meeting was the basis of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.


Inverness and its immediate hinterland have a large number of originally Gaelic place names as the area was solidly Gaelic-speaking until recently.[25]

Placename Original Gaelic Meaning
Inverness Inbhir Nis Mouth of the River Ness
Ben Wyvis Beinn Uais Mount Terror
Scorguie Sgurr Gaoithe The Windy Hill
Clachnaharry Clach na h-Aithrigh Stone of Repentance
Balloch Am Bealach The Pass
Resaurie Ruigh Samhraidh Summer Slope
Raigmore Rathaig Mhòir Big Fort
Balnafettack Baile nam Feadag Farm of the Plovers
Culloden Cùil Lodair Nook of the Marsh
Dalneigh Dail an Eich Field of the Horse
Culduthel Cuil Daothail Quiet northern spot
Culcabock Cùil na Càbaig Back of the Tillage Land
Dalmagarry Dail Mac Gearraidh Garry's Son's Haugh
Tomatin Tom Aitinn Hill of the Juniper
Dell Dail MhicEachainn MacEachen's Haugh
Diriebught Tìr nam Bochd Land of the Poor
Dochfour Dabhach Phùir Davoch of Pasture Land
Placename Original Gaelic Meaning
Dochgarroch Dabhach Gairbheach Rough Davoch
Dores Dubhras Black Wood
Drummond An Druimein The Ridge
Drumossie Druim Athaisidh Ridge of Great Haugh
Castle Heather Caisteal Leathoir Castle on the Slope
Inshes Na h-Innseagan The Meadows
Kessock Ceasaig (Saint) Ceasaig
Kinmylies Ceann a' Mhìlidh The Warrior's Head
Leachkin Leacainn Broad Hillside
Merkinch Marc Innis The Horse Meadow
Millburn Allt a' Mhuilinn The Mill River
Slackbuie An Slag Buidhe The Yellow Hollow
Smithton Baile a' Ghobhainn Smiths' Town
Tomnahurich Tom na h-Iubhraich Hill of the Yew Trees
Torvean Tòrr Bheathain MacBean's Hill
Abertarff Obar Thairbh Mouth of the Bull River
Ballifeary Baile na Faire The Guard's Farm

Placename Original Gaelic Meaning
Lairgmore Luirg Mór Big slope
Essich Easaich Place of the Stream
Aldourie Allt Dobhraig River of the Water
Scaniport Sganaphort Ferry by the Crack
Croftnacreich Croit na Chrithich The Aspen Hut
Allanfearn An t-Àilean Feàrna The Alder Meadow
Bunchrew Bun Chraoibh Foot of the Tree
Craig Dunain Creag Dùn Eun Rocky Bird Hill
Loch Ness Loch Nis Lake Ness
Craggie Cragaidh Rocky Place
Dalcross Dealgros Prickle Point
Croy Chrothaigh Hard Place
Kilvean Cill Bheathain Church of St.Bain
Lochardil Loch Àrdail The Church Lake
Crown Crùn Crown
Balvonie Bhaile a'Mhonaidh Village on the hill
Bogbain Bog Ban The White Marsh

Several Gaelic place names are now largely obsolete due to the feature being removed or forgotten. Drochaid an Easain Duibh (Bridge by the Small Dark Waterfall), referred to in the tale Aonghas Mòr Thom na h-Iubhraich agus na Sìthichean (Great Angus of Tomnahurich and the Faries) has not yet been located within Inverness and Slag nam Mèirleach (meaning Robbers' hollow), adjacent to Doors Road in Holm is no longer in use. Until the late 19th century, four mussel beds existed on the delta mouth of the River Ness: 'Scalp Phàdraig Mhòir' (Scalp of Big Patrick), 'Rònach' (Place of the Seals) 'Cridhe an Uisge' (The Water Heart) and 'Scalp nan Caorach' (Scalp of the Sheep) – these mussel beds were all removed to allow better access for fishing boats and ships.[26]

Allt Muineach (The Thicket River) now runs underground between Culcabock Roundabout and Millburn Roundabout. An Loch Gorm (The Turquoise Loch), a small sea loch which was situated beside Morrisons supermarket, was filled in during the 19th century and lives on only in the name of Lochgorm Warehouse. Abban Street stems from the word àban, a word of local Gaelic dialect meaning a small channel of water.

Many prominent points around Inverness retain fully Gaelic names.

Beinn Bhuidhe Bheag – Little Yellow Hill
Beinn Uan – Lamb Hill
Cnoc na Mòine – The Peat Hill
Cnoc na Gaoithe – The Hill of the Wind
Cnoc an t-Seòmair – The Hill of the Room
Creag Liath – Grey Crag
Creag nan Sidhean – The Crag of the Fairies
Doire Mhòr – Great Oakwood
Carn a' Bhodaich – The Old Man's Cairn
Meall Mòr – Great Hill

In the colonial period the name was given by expatriates to settlements in Quebec, Nova Scotia, Montana, Florida, Illinois, and California. The name Inverness is also given to a feature on Miranda, a moon of the planet Uranus as well as a 2637m tall mountain in British Columbia, Canada.[27]
Inverness is also known by its nicknames Inversnecky or The Sneck.


Year Population
2009 56,660 increase
2001 44,180 increase
1991 41,234 increase
1981 40,011 increase
1971 34,839 increase
1961 29,774 increase
1951 28,107 increase
1881 17,365 increase
1871 14,469 increase
1861 12,509 increase
1801 -- 8732 increase
1791 -- 7930 increase


Inverness is situated at the mouth of the River Ness (which flows from nearby Loch Ness) and at the southwestern extremity of the Moray Firth. The city lies at the end of the Great Glen with Loch Ness, Loch Ashie and Loch Duntelchaig to the west. Inverness' Caledonian Canal also runs through the Great Glen connecting Loch Ness, Loch Oich, and Loch Lochy.

The Ness Islands, a publicly owned park, consist of two wooded islands connected by footbridges and has been used as a place of recreation since the 1840s.[28] Craig Phadraig, once an ancient Gaelic and Pictish hillfort is a 240m [29] hill which offers hikes on a clear pathway through the wooded terrain.

Inverness lies on the Great Glen Fault. The last earthquake to affect Inverness occurred in 1934.[30]



In common with all of the British Isles Inverness has an oceanic climate. Despite is Northerly location, the climate is surprisingly mild due to its low lying, coastal position - in an average year under 40 frosts will be recorded.[31]

Climate data for Inverness 4m asl, 1971-2000, Extremes 1960-
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 15.0
Average high °C (°F) 6.7
Average low °C (°F) 1.0
Record low °C (°F) −11
Precipitation mm (inches) 68.25
Source no. 1: Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute/KNMI[32]
Source no. 2: MetOffice[33]


Raigmore is the main hospital in Inverness and the entire Highland authority.[34] The present hospital opened in 1970, replacing wartime wards dating from 1941.[35]

Raigmore is also a teaching hospital catering for both the Universities of Aberdeen and Stirling. A new Centre for Health Science is located behind Raigmore Hospital. This is being funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Scottish Executive and Johnson and Johnson. Phase I of this opened in early 2007, phase II is under construction and phase III has been funded. The University of Stirling is moving its operations from Raigmore Hospital to the CfHS. The UHI also has strong links with the centre through its Faculty of Health.


Most of the traditional industries such as distilling have been replaced by high-tech businesses, such as the design and manufacture of diabetes diagnostic kits. Highlands and Islands Enterprise has partly funded the Centre for Health Science with a view to attracting more businesses in the medical and medical devices business to the area.[citation needed] Inverness is home to Scottish Natural Heritage following that body's relocation from Edinburgh under the auspices of the Scottish Government's decentralisation strategy. SNH provides a large number of jobs in the area.

Inverness High Street heading towards Church Street
A view of Inverness harbour in 1999.

Inverness City Centre lies on the east bank of the river and is linked to the west side of the town by three road bridges (Ness Bridge, Friars Bridge and the Black (or Waterloo) Bridge) and by one of the town's suspension foot bridges, the Grieg Street Bridge.[36] The traditional city centre was a triangle bounded by High Street, Church Street and Academy Street, within which Union Street and Queensgate are cross streets parallel to High Street. Between Union Street and Queensgate is the Victorian Market, which contains a large number of small shops.[37] The main Inverness railway station is almost directly opposite the Academy Street entrance to the Market. From the 1970s, the Eastgate Shopping Centre was developed to the east of High Street, with a substantial extension being completed in 2003.


The city has a number of different education providers. Inverness is catered for by about a dozen primary schools including Inverness Gaelic Primary School, a specialised institution situated at Slackbuie. There are 5 secondary schools: Inverness High School, Inverness Royal Academy, Charleston Academy, Millburn Academy and Culloden Academy. Additionally there is Inverness College which offers further and higher education courses to those of school leaving age and above. The City also has a new Centre for Health Sciences adjacent to Raigmore Hospital.

University of the Highlands and Islands

Inverness College is situated in the city and is the main campus of the University of the Highlands and Islands, a federation of 15 colleges and research institutions in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland delivering higher education.

Plans for a new campus have been in place for some time with a contest between redevelopment of the current Longman site and a new development at Beechwood Farm being considered. As of May 2010 it was decided that the college shall move to a new purpose-built 200 acre campus at the Beechwood Farm location.

The planning application for phase 1 of a new campus for UHI was passed by The Highland Council in May 2010. The original outline planning application for the entire landholding submitted early 2009 remains live. This application forms a vision for the development over the next thirty years. The application includes:

  • Academic buildings – up to 70,480 sqm
  • Business and incubation units – up to 49,500 sqm
  • Indoor sports complex – up to 9,000 sqm
  • Student and other short term residences – 44,950 sqm
  • Associated landscape, open space, outdoor recreation, infrastructure and services necessary to support the development phases
  • Up to 200 residential units
  • A social enterprise-run hotel [38][39]

The 200-acre (0.81 km2) campus at Beechwood, just off the A9 south of Inverness, is considered to be one of the most important developments for the region over the next 20 years. The principal of UHI, James Fraser, said: “This is a flagship development which will provide Inverness with a university campus and vibrant student life. It will have a major impact on the city and on the Highlands and Islands. UHI is a partnership of colleges and research centres throughout the region, and the development of any one partner brings strength to the whole institution."[40]

It is estimated that the new campus would contribute more than £50m to the economy of the Highlands because it could attract innovative commercial businesses interested in research and development, while increasing the number of students who study within the city by around 3,000.[41]


Inverness is linked to the Black Isle across the Moray Firth by the Kessock Bridge. It has a railway station[42] with services to Perth, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Aberdeen, Thurso, Wick and to Kyle of Lochalsh. Inverness is connected to London by the Caledonian Sleeper, which departs six times a week and by the Highland Chieftain which runs 7 days a week. Inverness Airport[43] is located 15 km east of the city and has scheduled flights to airports across the UK including London, Manchester, Belfast and the islands to the north and west of Scotland. Flybe operate flights to Gatwick, Manchester, Belfast, Birmingham, Southampton and Jersey. Loganair, Flybe's franchise partner, operate Saab 340 aircraft to Stornoway, Kirkwall, Sumburgh, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Three trunk roads (the A9, A82 and A96) provide access to Aberdeen, Perth, Elgin, Wick, Thurso, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

A picture of a Stagecoach Group bus in Inverness, during 1999.

Stagecoach Highlands is the division of the Stagecoach Group which covers most of the former Rapson Group operations after the take-over by Stagecoach. It covers the following depots of the Stagecoach Group.

  • Fort William (Ardgour Road, Caol) (t/a Stagecoach in Lochaber)
  • Kirkwall (Scott's Road Hatson Industrial Estate) (t/a Stagecoach in Orkney)
  • Portree (Park Road) (t/a Stagecoach in Skye)
  • Thurso (Janet Street) (t/a Stagecoach in Caithness)

There are various outstations over the division area due to the rural nature of the area covered.

The operation from Aviemore depot comes under the East Scotland division as it trades as Stagecoach in Inverness.

Inverness Trunk Road Link

Plans are in place to convert the A96 between Inverness and Nairn to a dual carriageway and to construct a southern bypass that would link the A9, A82 and A96 together involving crossings of the Caledonian Canal and the River Ness in the Torvean area, southwest of the town.[44]

The bypass, known as the Inverness Trunk Road Link (TRL), is aimed at resolving Inverness’s transport problems and has been split into two separate projects, the east and west sections. The east section will bypass Inshes Roundabout, a notorious traffic bottleneck, using a new road linking the existing Southern Distributor with the A9 and the A96, both via grade separated interchanges. This proposed new link road would bypass Inshes roundabout, as stated before, and separate strategic traffic from local traffic as well as accommodating proposals for new development at the West Seafield Retail and Business Park and also a new UHI campus.

At the west end, two options for crossing the river and canal were developed. One involving a high level vertical opening bridge which will allow the majority of canal traffic to pass under without the need for opening. The other involved a bridge over the river and an aqueduct under the canal. Both of these designs are technically complex and were considered in detail along by the key stakeholders involved in the project. Ultimately it was decided that a bridge over the river and a tunnel under the canal were the best option, allow more expensive.[45]

In late 2008 the controversial decision by the Scottish Government not to include the full Inverness bypass in its transport plan for the next 20 years was made. The government's Strategic Transport Projects Review did include the eastern section of the route, which will see the A9 at Inshes linked to the A96.

But the absence of the TRL's western section, which would include a permanent crossing over the Caledonian Canal and River Ness, sparked dismay among several Highland councillors and business leaders in Inverness who feel the bypass is vital for the city's future economic growth.[46]

Upgrading of the A9 South

In late 2008 the Scottish Government's transport plan for the next 20 years was announced. It brings forward planned improvements to the A9 in an attempt to stimulate the economy and protect jobs.

Work costing a total of £8.5 million will take place at Moy, Carrbridge and Bankfoot. Northbound overtaking lanes will be created and the carriageways reconstructed at both Moy and Carrbridge. Junction improvements will also be made at Moy, with work due to get under way in September 2009. With the Carrbridge scheme is due to be begin in February 2009.

Nationally an extra £38 million is to be spent this financial year, followed by a further £232 million in 2009 and 2010.

It is estimated the move will help support in the region of around 4000 jobs across Scotland.[47]

Politics 2002–2012

Local government

Inverness was an autonomous royal burgh, and county town for the county of Inverness (also known as Inverness-shire) until 1975, when local government counties and burghs were abolished, under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, in favour of two-tier regions and districts and unitary islands council areas. The royal burgh was then absorbed into a new district of Inverness, which was one of eight districts within the Highland region. The new district combined in one area the royal burgh, the Inverness district of the county and the Aird district of the county. The rest of the county was divided between other new districts within the Highland region and the Western Isles. Therefore, although much larger than the royal burgh, the new Inverness district was much smaller than the county.

In 1996, under the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994,[48] the districts were abolished and the region became a unitary council area. The new unitary Highland Council, however, adopted the areas of the former districts as council management areas, and created area committees to represent each. The Inverness committee represents 23 out of the 80 Highland Council wards, with each ward electing one councillor by the first past the post system of election. However, management area and committee area boundaries have been out of alignment since 1999, as a result of changes to ward boundaries. Also, ward boundaries are changing again this year, 2007, and the council management areas are being replaced with three new corporate management areas.

Ward boundary changes in 2007, under the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004,[49] create 22 new Highland Council wards, each electing three or four councillors by the single transferable vote system of election, a system designed to produce a form of proportional representation. The total number of councillors remains the same. Also, the Inverness management area is being merged into the new Inverness, Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey corporate management area, covering nine of the new wards and electing 34 of the 80 councillors. As well as the Inverness area, the new area includes the former Nairn management area and the former Badenoch and Strathspey management area. The corporate area name is also that of a constituency, but boundaries are different.

Within the corporate area there is a city management area covering seven of the nine wards, the Aird and Loch Ness ward, the Culloden and Ardersier ward, the Inverness Central ward, the Inverness Millburn ward, the Inverness Ness-side ward, the Inverness South ward and the Inverness West ward. The Nairn ward and the Badenoch and Strathspey ward complete the corporate area. Wards in the city management area are to be represented on a city committee as well as corporate area committees.

Distribution of Highland Council Seats by Party in Inverness
   Party Seats
  Scottish National Party 6                                    
  Independent 5                                    
  Liberal Democrats 7                                    
  Labour Party 4                                    

City status

In 2001 city status was granted to the Town of Inverness, and letters patent were taken into the possession of the Highland Council by the convener of the Inverness area committee.[50] These letters patent, which were sealed in March 2001 and are held by Inverness Museum and Art Gallery,[51] create a city of Inverness, but do not refer to anywhere with defined boundaries, except that Town of Inverness may be taken as a reference to the burgh of Inverness. As a local government area the burgh was abolished 26 years earlier, in 1975, and so was the county of Inverness for which the burgh was the county town. Nor do they refer to the former district or to the royal burgh.

The Highland area was created as a two-tier local government region in 1975, and became a unitary local government area in 1996. The region consisted of eight districts, of which one was called Inverness. The districts were all merged into the unitary area. As the new local government authority, the Highland Council then adopted the areas of the districts as council management areas. The management areas were abolished in 2007, in favour of three new corporate management areas. The council has defined a large part of the Inverness, Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey corporate area as the Inverness city management area.[52] This council-defined city area includes Loch Ness and numerous towns and villages apart from the former burgh of Inverness.

In January 2008 a petition to matriculate armorial bearings for the City of Inverness was refused by Lord Lyon King of Arms on the grounds that there is no legal persona to which arms can be granted.[53]

Parliamentary representation

There are three existing parliamentary constituencies with Inverness as an element in their names:

These existing constituencies are effectively subdivisions of the Highland council area, but boundaries for Westminster elections are now very different from those for Holyrood elections. The Holyrood constituencies are also subdivisions of the Highlands and Islands electoral region.

Historically there have been six Westminster constituencies:

Inverness Burghs was a district of burghs constituency, covering the parliamentary burghs of Inverness, Fortrose, Forres and Nairn. Inverness-shire covered, at least nominally, the county of Inverness minus the Inverness parliamentary burgh. As created in 1918, Inverness covered the county minus Outer Hebridean areas, which were merged into the Western Isles constituency. The Inverness constituency included the former parliamentary burgh of Inverness. As created in 1983, Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber was one of three constituencies covering the Highland region, which had been created in 1975. As first used in 1997, the Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber, and Ross, Skye and Inverness West constituencies were effectively two of three constituencies covering the Highland unitary council area, which had been created in 1996.

Town twinning

Culture and sports

River Ness

Inverness is an important centre for bagpipe players and lovers, since every September the city hosts the Northern Meeting. The Inverness cape, a garment worn in the rain by pipers the world over, is not necessarily made in Inverness.

Another major event in calendar is the annual City of Inverness Highland Games. In 2006 Inverness hosted Scotland's biggest ever Highland Games over two days in July, featuring the Masters' World Championships, the showcase event for heavies aged over 40 years. 2006 was the first year that the Masters' World Championships had been held outside the United States, and it attracted many top heavies from around the world to the Inverness area.

The main theatre in Inverness is called Eden Court Theatre. Actress Karen Gillan is the ambassador for Theatre Art Education.

The current music scene within Inverness generally leans towards an emo/punk/hardcore style, but there are also bands who show features of different genres such as rock, metal, pop, classical, grunge, industrial and traditional Scottish music.

Inverness is home to two summer music festivals, Rockness and the Tartan Heart Festival, that bring a variety of different music to the town.

The team celebrating winning the First Division title in May 2010 at the Caledonian Stadium.

The city is home to three football clubs. Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C. was formed in 1994 from the merger of two Highland League clubs, Caledonian F.C. and Inverness Thistle. "Caley Thistle" of the Scottish Premier League plays at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. The town's second football club, Clachnacuddin F.C., plays in the Highland League. Inverness Citadel F.C. was another popular side which became defunct, but had its name revived. The third football side is Inverness City F.C. who play in the North Region Juniors and were formed in 2006.

Highland RFC is the local rugby union club that competes regularly in the Caledonia Regional League Division One.

Highland HC is the local hockey team with both Mens & Ladies 1st teams in Scottish National Division 2. The Mens 1st team successfully gained promotion from Scottish National Division 3 in 2011.[57]

Inverness Blitz is a charity that promotes the development of American football in Inverness and the surrounding area.[58] Bught Park, located in the centre of Inverness is the finishing point of the annual Loch Ness Marathon and home of Inverness Shinty Club.

In 2011, Inverness hosted professional golf with the Scottish Open on the European Tour, played at Castle Stuart the week before The Open Championship.

Cricket is also played in Inverness, with both Highland CC and Northern Counties playing in the North of Scotland Cricket Association League and 7 welfare league teams playing midweek cricket at Fraser Park. Both teams have been very successful over the years.

Stock car racing was staged in Inverness circa 1973.

In 2007, the city hosted Highland 2007, a celebration of the culture of the Highlands, and will also host the World Highland Games Heavy Championships (21 & 22 July) and European Pipe Band Championships (28 July).[59] 2008 saw the first Hi-Ex (Highlands International Comics Expo), held at the Eden Court Theatre.[60][61]

Inverness is the location of Macbeth's castle in Shakespeare's play.

Gaelic in Inverness

Historically, Inverness had a solidly Gaelic speaking population, with the majority of the population having Gaelic as their first language. From approximately the end of the end of the 19th century, following the 1872 Education Act, Inverness suffered a decline in the number of Gaelic speakers in line with the rest of the once Gaidhealtachd / Scottish Highlands. Despite the local dialect of Scottish Gaelic gradually falling out of use (although it continued to affect local English language dialect), the language is still spoken in other dialects and standardised forms. By the end of the 19th century, some rural areas to the south east of Inverness still had completely Gaelic speaking populations, such as Strath Dearn where the majority of the population had acquired fluency in both English and Gaelic.

1677: Inverness was described as "overwhelmingly" Gaelic speaking by the traveller Thomas Kirk.

1704: 57% of the city's population spoke only Gaelic with the remaining 43% also speaking Gaelic with Scots as mainly a second language. Edward Lhuyd published major work on Inverness Gaelic and after collecting data from between 1699 and 1700, his findings showed a distinct dialect in the area.[62] Gaelic remained the principal language of Invernessians for the rest of the 18th century, despite growing pressure from outwith the Highlands in both political and social contexts.

1798: Thomas Garnett (Professor of Natural Philosophy and Chemistry in the Royal Institution of Great Britain) observed that Inverness had become largely bilingual with Invernessians using Gaelic as the language of the home but English as the language of foreign trade – however, the older generation at the time generally only had the Gaelic. Speaking of those in the countryside immediately surrounding Inverness, Garnett stated that although in Inverness both Gaelic and English “are spoken promiscuously...the language of the country people is Gaelic.”

1828: John Wood praised the standard of both the Gaelic and English spoken in Inverness stating the both languages were spoken with "utmost purity." He noted that children would casually flit between the two languages while playing, asking questions in Gaelic while receiving answers in English and vice-versa.

1882: The Celtic Magazine, published in Inverness, complained that enumerators of the 1881 census who assessed whether families were Gaelic speaking, English speaking or both, had supplied false information. The magazine wrote that "whole families .... scarcely any member of whom can express the commonest idea intelligently in English – who are in every sense Gaelic-speaking people only – were returned by the enumerators as English-speaking."

For its size, Inverness today still has a relatively high density of Gaelic speakers and a relatively lively Gaelic scene, making it one of the centres of the Scottish Gaelic Renaissance. According to the 2001 census, 5.47% spoke Gaelic (approx. 2,200 speakers), compared to 1.2% nationally.[63]

The number of Gaelic speakers has fluctuated over the last century. In 1881, the census reported 4,047 Gaelic speakes in Inverness (23.3% of the population) which by 1891 had risen to 6,356 speakers (30.47%).[64] By 1901 this figure had dropped to 5,072 speakers (23.88%) of the population, from which it continued to drop to present day numbers through emigration and language shift.[64]

Scottish Gaelic is slowly re-appearing in the linguistic landscape, appearing on some signs around Inverness. Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis, which opened in August 2007 offering primary school education through the medium of Gaelic, is nearing full capacity and was extended to allow for more pupils in August 2010.[65]

Bòrd na Gàidhlig, an organisation responsible for supporting and promoting the use of Scottish Gaelic, has its main office in Inverness.[66] Other Gaelic related groups include the Inverness Gaelic Choir which has existed for over 70 years.[67] Inverness will also host the Royal National Mòd in 2014, a festival celebrating Gaelic culture.[68]


St. Andrew's Cathedral on the banks of the River Ness

Important buildings in Inverness include Inverness Castle, Inverness College and various churches.

The castle was built in 1835 on the site of its medieval predecessor. It is now a sheriff court.

Inverness Cathedral, dedicated to St Andrew, is a cathedral of the Scottish Episcopal Church and seat of the ordinary of the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness. The cathedral has a curiously square-topped look to its spires, as funds ran out before they could be completed.

The oldest church is the Old High Church,[69] on St Michael's Mount by the riverside, a site perhaps used for worship since Celtic times. The church tower dates from mediaeval times, making it the oldest surviving building in Inverness. It is used by the Church of Scotland congregation of Old High St Stephen's, Inverness,[70] and it is the venue for the annual Kirking of the Council, which is attended by local councillors.

Inverness College is the hub campus for the UHI Millennium Institute.[71]

Porterfield Prison, officially HMP Inverness, serves the courts of the Highlands, Western Isles, Orkney Isles and Moray, providing secure custody for all remand prisoners and short term adult prisoners, both male and female (segregated).[72]

Towns and villages

Apart from the former burgh of Inverness, the Highland Council's city management area includes Ardersier, Beauly, Culloden, Balloch, Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus, Invermoriston, Smithton, Tomatin, Kirkhill and Kiltarlity.


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  16. ^ Site Record for Torvaine, Caledonian Canal, Inverness; Torvean. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. . Silver chain was found at grid reference NH65424346 when digging the Caledonian Canal in 1809.
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  22. ^ Site Record for Clachnaharry, Clan Battle Monument, Clachnaharry Memorial. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. . Battle of Clachnaharry took place at grid reference NH6454946448.
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  42. ^ The Highland Main Line, the Aberdeen-Inverness Line and the Far North Line meet at Inverness (Ordnance Survey grid reference NH667454). Also, Kyle of Lochalsh services run to and from Inverness via the Far North Line to Dingwall.
  43. ^ Ordnance Survey grid reference for Inverness Airport (access from A96 road): NH776508.
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  50. ^ Helen Liddell joins Inverness celebrations as Scotland’s Millennium City, Scotland Office press release 19 Mar 2001[dead link]
  51. ^ Ordnance Survey grid reference for Inverness Museum and Art Gallery: NH666451
  52. ^ Key Decisions Taken on Council Post 2007, Highland Council news release, 15 December 2006, includes a list of wards within the Inverness management area
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    Website of Danny Alexander MP. Retrieved 10 July 2007.
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  60. ^ First superheroes expo for north, BBC, 18 January 2008
  61. ^ Scots' impact on comics examined, BBC, 18 January 2008
  62. ^ Campbell, JL & Thomson, D. Edward Lhuyd in the Scottish Highlands 1699–1700 Oxford (1963)
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  64. ^ a b Withers, C. Gaelic in Scotland (1984) John Donald Publishers ISBN 0-85976-097-9
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  66. ^ Bòrd na Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic)
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    Ordnance Survey grid reference: NH668449

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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