Inverness (Invergordon), Scotland
The disabled cruiser visiting Inverness will first dock in Invergordon. The town is small and easy to move around in. The streets are smooth with only slight inclines. But Invergordon is just the jumping off point to visit the Loch Ness monster, Culloden Battlefield, the town of Inverness, a castle or perhaps a whisky distillery.
Inside the city of Inverness, the streets are smooth with slight inclines. However, there are some streets that have major inclines, the street to Inverness Castle for example can be a challenge for the Disabled Cruiser in a manual wheelchair.
Inverness (Invergordon), Scotland
Invergordon is a town and port in Easter Ross, Highland, in Scotland, part of the United Kingdom.
The village lies near the head of a Firth on an arm of the North Sea, and is surrounded by mountains and gentle rolling farmland.
Cawdor Castle in Nairn dates from the late 14th century and was built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor. The ancient medieval tower was built around the legendary holly tree.
Brodie Castle, part of the National Trust for Scotland, dates back to the 16th century. The 71 hectare estate has landscaped gardens, a large pond, a walled garden, a woodland walk, an adventure playground and a nature trail with observation hides for watching wildlife.
Another Trust property is Inverewe Gardens, the lush, tropical oasis perched on a peninsula at the edge of Loch Ewe.
Loch Ness is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands and is best known for alleged sightings of the Loch Ness Monster, also known affectionately as “Nessie”.
Fort George is a large 18th century fortress near Ardersier, to the north-east of Inverness and has remained in continuous use as a garrison.
Take a tour of the Glenmorangie Distillery and learn about all the stages of whisky making.
For golfers, both courses are open to the public at the Royal Dornoch Golf Course although there are pre booked times on the Championship Course which are reserved for members only. Day tickets for each course, or a daily combination ticket for 1 round on each course, are available.
The surrounding area is suited to activities such as cycling, hill walking, mountain biking and nature spotting.
Where You’re Docked
Cruise ships dock at the Port of Invergordon, which is around ½ a mile from the town center. If the port is particularly busy, ships may anchor and tender passengers ashore.
Near the foot of the pier is a small shop selling crafts, jewelry, Scottish food and whiskey.
The train station is a 10 minute walk away.
Good to Know
If you decide to drive, remember that the Scottish drive on the left-hand side of the road. Be particularly careful when you make a right turn, because you have to cross oncoming traffic. Be a cautious pedestrian, too, when crossing streets — though Invergordon doesn’t have much traffic to worry about.
On Foot: You can pretty much stroll to any place of interest in Invergordon, but to head for the Highlands, you’ll need to organize transport or sign up for an excursion.
By Train: It will take you about 15 minutes to walk to the Invergordon train station. Head for High Street, then turn left. Toward the end of High Street, the train station will be to your right, down Station Road. A 50-minute journey gets you to Inverness. For the Disabled Cruiser the train station does not require any tunnels, stairs, or elevators to get to the platforms. There is a ramp for train access.
By Bus: Buses can also take you to Inverness. It takes between 45 minutes and one hour to reach Inverness. For the Disabled Cruiser most bus lines run low floor buses that are wheelchair and mobility scooter accessible, however not all buses have disabled access.
By Taxi: Taxis should be waiting at the pier, and four companies offer taxi or private-car touring: Scotland Taxi Tours, Invergordon Shore Excursions, Invergordon Tours and Highland Classique Tours. All have set itineraries or will do custom tours; they provide four-seat cars or six- to eight-seat vehicles.
The pound is Scotland’s currency, comparable to, and interchangeable with, the British pound. A few shops in Invergordon will accept U.S. dollars and euros, and credit cards are usually accepted, too. There are no ATMs at the port, but you’ll find several along High Street.
The official language in Inverness is English, but you may have to listen closely because of the accent. Gaelic is spoken by 1.2 percent of the Scottish population, but most Gaelic-speakers live on the islands.
A boggling number of bottled Scotches can be found in town, including airline-sized bottles that make it easy to sample a wide array and see what you like. Quality tartan plaid blankets and an interesting assortment of handmade walking sticks are among the popular items.
Traditional Scottish dishes include the renowned haggis, sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, minced with onion, oatmeal and spices, cooked in a sheep’s stomach and traditionally served with a shot of whisky; tatties and neeps (mashed potatoes and turnips), black pudding (blood sausage with oatmeal); and a less-scary assortment of baked goods, including scones, shortbread and oat cakes.
Points of Interest
- Urquhart Castle – The jagged ruins of Urquhart Castle, once one of the largest strongholds of medieval Scotland, is an impressive structure overlooking Loch Ness. For the Disabled Cruiser, disabled access is very good with a lift from the car park to the visitor center and loan scooters for the limited mobility visitors. Note that the path down to the castle is a 30% slope so a scooter or motorized wheelchair is strongly advised. The visitor center is impressive and the walkways are nicely done, wheelchair friendly to most of the castle where it is possible. However, there are a lot of steps to the parts of the castle that is not wheelchair accessible.
- Inverness – This northernmost city in the United Kingdom dates back to the 6th century. The early 19th-century castle, built on the same site of its medieval predecessor, is now a sheriff court.
- Culloden Moor – The Culloden Visitor Center features a state of the art exhibition bringing the battle alive in an immersion film and accounts from genuine characters involved in the events when the British troops defeated Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Highland clans in 1746. For the Disabled Cruiser the battlefield is well equipped with paths and easy access for wheelchair users. Mobility scooters are available to make the exploration of the battlefields an enjoyable experience and a wheelchair is available for viewing the internal displays.
- Cawdor Castle – This fine medieval tower house is still the seat of the Earls of Cawdor. Famous as the setting for Duncan’s murder in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, it offers elegant rooms and magnificent gardens. For the Disabled Cruiser visiting the castle only the ground floor has wheelchair access. It is a Grade A listed building which means that elevators cannot be installed. Most parts of the garden are wheelchair accessible but there are a few steeper and rougher sections where help may be needed.
- Dunrobin Castle – This majestic Castle is one of Britain’s oldest continuously inhabited houses, dating back to the early 1300s. Tour the home and its gardens and get a glimpse of the Earls’ and Dukes’ lives. The Disabled Cruiser should note that Dunrobin Castle is a historic building. As a consequence, there are a number of areas where access is not possible for visitors using a wheelchair or with limited mobility. Wheelchair access to the gardens can be arranged on request.
- Castle of Mey – The late Queen Mother purchased what was Barrogill Castle in 1952. The restored 16th-century estate was her home until 1996. Today, you can tour the gardens, the animal farm and visitor’s center. For the Disabled Cruiser visiting the Castle of Mey, it is an historic building and, consequently, disabled access is not possible to all parts of it. Wheelchair access is limited to the principal floor only and you must be able to get out of your wheelchair to use a very small lift. Located beside the car park is the Visitor Center where the tearoom, shop and toilets are completely accessible.
- Dornoch – This seaside resort town boasts the 13th-century Dornoch Cathedral, the Old Town Jail, and the Bishop’s Palace, which is now the well-known hotel. It’s also home to a world-class golf course.
Inverness Accessible Excursions
Inverness is known as the capital of the Scottish highlands. It is also known for its colorful floral displays. Escape the hustle and bustle of the shops as you walk down the riverbank to the Ness Islands. Some believe that the castle in Shakespeare’s Macbeth was actually located in Inverness. Whatever the truth, the town’s architecture is quite lovely.
There are no organized accessible shore excursions in Inverness. Disabled Cruisers are encouraged to use the handicapped accessible taxis for a private tour of Inverness.