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Inverness Castle

Inverness castle

Inverness Castle – the Spirit of the Highlands, overlooks the city from the highest point above the River Ness.

Today’s 19th century castle of red sandstone was built on the cliff-top site of an 11th-century fortification and where there has been a succession of castles for many centuries. As you would imagine, it is a site associated with intrigue, power struggles, murder, battles, imprisonment and betrayal through the ages.

The first castle is thought to have been built by Malcolm - Máel Coluim III of Scotland, who destroyed an earlier castle located on a hill to the north-east, adjacent to Auldcastle Road, in which legend has it Macbeth of Scotland murdered Máel Coluim's father, Donnchad I of Scotland. This ancient tale was later dramatised by Shakespeare in one his most famous tragedies “Macbeth”.

Some 400 years later, in 1428, James 1 summoned fifty Highland clan chiefs to a “parley” at Inverness Castle. However, when he had them gathered together, he had them all arrested and imprisoned and several were executed on the spot. One of those arrested was Alexander 3rd Lord of the Isles together with his mother, the Countess of Ross. After being released from a year of imprisonment, he returned with 10,000 men and set fire to the city, though he failed in his bid to take the Castle. 

A later castle, completed mid 16th century, was taken by the Clan Munro and Clan Fraser for Mary Queen of Scots, during the Siege of Inverness (1562). She later hanged the Governor, a Gordon, who had refused her entry. 

The castle is home to the Inverness Sheriff Court which will relocated in 2020, allowing the castle to be developed as a top tourist destination.

The north tower of the castle, a former jail, provides a spectacular view point which was opened in 2017 and from here you will have panoramic views of the whole of Inverness and the surrounding countryside.

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