Terribly Good Tales : The Inverness Walking Tour

Inverness has a rich and fascinating history which is brought to life by your local guide on this entertaining walking tour.

Rated 5* on TripAdvisor TripAdvisor by more than 1750 happy customers # 1 on TripAdvisor for Scotland tours from Inverness

Tour Highlights

  • An entertaining tour which is suitable for the whole family
  • Find out why Inverness Castle isn't really a castle
  • Hear about witches, seers, body snatchers and ghosts
  • Find out about the battle that was fought over cheese
  • Learn how whisky was used to escape from jail
Prices£12 adults
£6 Under 18s
Times10.30am and 2.30pm
Free CancellationFree cancellation up to 24 hours prior to tour
DatesScheduled on request

Itinerary and Map+

Itinerary & Map

1

Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle
The tour starts at the Flora Macdonald statue, which has taken pride of place in front of Inverness Castle since 1896.

Here you will find out the story of how this remarkable heroine helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape after the Battle of Culloden. Your guide will also revel in telling you the hilarious story of the 1665 Battle of the Cheese, as well as incredible tales of flying dogs and fake castles!

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2

The Wychway and the Three Virtues

The Wychway and the Three Virtues
Find out about Inverness’ most famous witch, whose confessions are remembered the world over! You will also hear about the, “fake”, witch hunter and learn about the last legal witch hunt in Scotland.

Witch hunting is not often associated with Scotland, but it was in fact widely practised in the 1600s, with many a poor innocent soul being put to death for alleged crimes. On a local basis our witches were pretty notorious, with Isobel Goudie being the first “witch” to come up with the notion of 13 witches being counted as a coven. We’ve also got a very famous witch hunter to tell you about, and the rather dubious methods, “he”, used to extract a confession. In addition, you’ll see the location where two of the last witches in Scotland were legally executed.
Just next door to the witches are statues built to commemorate a group of more respectable ladies known as The Three Virtues; Faith, Hope and Charity. However, their stately appearance betrays one of Inverness’ greatest ever crimes!

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3

The 'bouncy' bridge and Eden Court

The 'bouncy' bridge and Eden Court
We will cross the River Ness on the Infirmary Bridge, a beautiful bridge which is steeped in, and surrounded by, a fascinating history.

We’ll take a stroll along the River Ness, where the beautiful Victorian building facades betray a less than beautiful past, with slavery and the drugs trade being used to acquire the wealth to build them. We cross over the Infirmary Bridge, another beautiful Victorian structure, whose existence was prophesied, long before it was ever built, by Kenneth Mackenzie, the legendary Brahan Seer (also referred to as the Nostradamus of the North). Across from us we’ll see the old infirmary, from which the bridge took its name, and we’ll talk about the popular advice that was issued when cholera struck in 1832.

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4

The cathedral and the drug dealer's house

The cathedral and the drug dealer's house
We'll share some of our favourite tales about the cathedral, including the story of the poor horse that died during its construction, and is commemorated on the outside of the building.

Inverness Cathedral is one of our most iconic buildings and plays an important part in the more recent history of Inverness. We’ll find out why, due to budgetary constraints, Inverness didn’t actually become a city when the cathedral was completed (whilst towns such as Dornoch and Elgin did) and how Invernessians got their own back at the millennium, when the Queen stepped in to put things right! Next door to the cathedral is the Northern Meeting park, the world’s oldest Highland Games venue and, across the road, we’ll see the one time home of the Highland’s very own Pablo Escobar!

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5

The Town House & Tollbooth Steeple

The Town House & Tollbooth Steeple
Hear a plethora of interesting stories about these two historic buildings, plus some humorous tales about the nearby McDonalds (yup, we do indeed mean the fast food chain!)

Inverness Town House was completed in 1882 and was recently the focus of a two year renovation project, reported to have cost £3.9 million. The result is stunning, and the beautiful Victorian gothic facade is a fitting exterior to a building which has hosted many key political events; in 1921 it hosted the first cabinet meeting of the British Government ever to be held outside of London, and it is still the only building which can claim to have hosted both the British and the Scottish Cabinet. Your guide will tell you the stories behind some of its features, including the camel, the elephant and the dogs!

Opposite the Town House is the Tollbooth Steeple – you’ll hear about the great prison escapes from this medieval jail, as well as the story of the gallon of whisky which is, to this day, said to be hidden in the spire!

Across the road is McDonalds – this fast food restaurant’s location is truly ironic and you’ll find out why (hint – we didn’t always get on with our West Coast cousins quite as well as we do nowQ)

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6

The home of the Loch Ness Monster

The home of the Loch Ness Monster
We'll delve into the history books and tell you why the Loch Ness Monster should really be called the River Ness Monster. We'll also show you some real life links to our most famous legend, including a monument to the monster's arch nemesis, plus the actual building in which the term the 'Loch Ness Monster' was coined!

The legend of the Loch Ness monster is known the world over, although the first mention of it back in 565 AD was actually in the River Ness (definitely not a loch)! The monster has been self-isolating before it was even trendy, and is the undisputed hide and seek world champion. We’ll find out more about our most famous resident, and recount some of the lesser known tales about her!

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7

Dunbar Hospital

Dunbar Hospital
We'll take a look at one of our oldest buildings and show you why you shouldn't always believe everything you read. We'll also tell you about the important role the building played in the development of recycling in the Highlands!

Dunbar Hospital is one of the oldest buildings in Inverness, plus the stone from which it is built dates back to much earlier buildings, having been used on two separate occasions. Some would call it recycling, others might call it stealing! We’ll find out about one of the greatest building thieves of all time, Oliver Cromwell, plus we’ll share with you one of the secret locations, from where the stones where originally taken, in case you want to explore for yourself after the tour.

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8

Old High Church

Old High Church
Our tour finishes at the Old High Church where we will recount gruesome stories of body snatchers and Jacobite executions.

The Old High church is a beautiful building, with parts of it dating back over 600 years. It is believed to be one of the earliest places of Christian worship in the Highlands, with St Columba preaching from there in the 6th Century. However, in later history, it was not just a tranquil place of worship. After the Battle of Culloden it was used a jail for Jacobites, who were summarily executed in the graveyard.

We’ll also find out about the Victorian body snatchers, and tell a tale of why you shouldn’t go digging up other people’s bodies (in case you were tempted)! Our tour concludes at the Old High Church and your guide will gladly answer any remaining questions you may have!

You will leave this tour with plenty to talk about after an entertaining hour and a half really getting to know the centre of Inverness which, as you’ll now have come to realise, is an absolute treasure trove of humorous and horrible tales through the ages!

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Meet your walking tour guides

Gordon Pearson

Founder & Tour Guide

  560 Reviews

Gordon founded WOW Scotland in 2010 and hasn’t looked back since. He loves talking about the Scottish Highlands, both on tour and on the TV and radio.

Sandy Dear

Tour Guide

  350 Reviews

Sandy has been working in Scottish tourism for over 25 years and has been a key part of team WOW since 2014. His knowledge of the Scottish Highlands is outstanding and he delights our visitors on each and every tour with his phenomenal story telling skills.

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