Tucked away in the Scottish Highlands, Invergordon is surrounded by picture-perfect scenery. You can look forward to rolling countryside, grey mountains and sand-coloured buildings. Complete with a golf course, a museum, and several ancient castles, this port provides a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
• Stroll along the shoreline of Cromarty Firth and breathe in the salty sea air, or hike up into the hills for panoramic views.
• See the patchwork of multicoloured murals, which brighten up the town. Each one represents a different community group, including the fire brigade and the Highland Games Committee.
• Visit the Invergordon Naval Museum and Heritage Centre to find out all about the village history and culture.
SHORE EXCURSIONS► View all EXCURSIONS
Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle Ruins►
You’ll trace a path alongside the mysterious Loch Ness on this driving tour. Legend has it, it’s where the prehistoric monster ‘Nessie’ roams the waters. The loch itself is pretty incredible, too. The 23-mile body of water is overlooked by steep, wood-cloaked banks and, in some parts, reaches depths of 900 feet. This trip is all about taking in the Scottish scenery, and you’ll journey through Inverness – also known as the ‘capital of the highlands’ – and pass by salmon rivers, valleys and glens on your way. When you reach the village of Drumnadrochit, there’ll be a stop at Urquhart Castle, a medieval fortress that was used in the Scots’ struggle for independence from England in the 15th century. It was blown up in 1692 and, nowadays, only the crumbling walls remain. Keep an eye out for Nessie here, too – according to locals, she lives in a shallow cave beneath the castle.
Scenic Moorland Drive, Shin Falls & Dornoch►
When it comes to taking in a place as vast and as open as the Scottish Highlands, your best bet is a driving tour. Leaving Invergordon behind, you’ll set off on a coach, heading through hills and farmland and up over the moors. There’ll be a photo stop at the Struie viewpoint, also known as the million-dollar view. When you see the mountains in the distance, and the glens and valleys stretching out beneath you, you’ll see how it earned its nickname. Your next stop is the Falls of Shin Visitor Centre. The River Shin is quite small – only about five miles long, in fact. But it’s home to Shin Falls, a cascade of water the salmon of the river can be seen hurling themselves against in a bid to reach their birthplace upstream. From here, you’ll head towards the coast to the pretty town of Dornoch, where little stone houses dot the broad, tree-lined streets. Here, you can spend the time as you like. The old jail is worth a visit – it shows you what it would have been like to be imprisoned in the last century. Plus, there’s a small cathedral here, complete with rainbow-coloured stained-glass windows.
Dunrobin Castle, Gardens & Falconry Display►
You’ll find out how people lived back in the 19th century on this tour, with a visit to Dunrobin Castle. One of the oldest of its kind in Scotland, this place is the opposite of the dark-stone medieval strongholds the nation is famous for. Instead, it showcases sky-high turrets and Cinderella-like towers, which are surrounded by immaculate Victorian gardens that overlook the sea. Inside, take a look at the elegant piano and huge paintings in the music room. Then, breathe in the scent of the 10,000 dusty books stacked in the library. As for the dining room, it’s like walking into a period film set, with its wood-panelled walls, grand fireplace and oak chairs. The table is even set with shining Georgian silverware, so you can see how the lords and ladies dined once upon a time. After a tour of the castle, you’ll head out to the gardens to watch a birds of prey demonstration. The castle’s professional falconer will give you an insight into the hunting methods of the owls, hawks and falcons, as they perform an exciting flying display overhead.