Inverness (Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Nis) is the self-proclaimed capital of the Scottish Highlands. Inverness lies at the mouth of the River Ness.

In about 580 Craig Phadrig (on the western edge of Inverness) was the stronghold of the Pictish King Brude when St Columba embarked on his quest to convert the Picts to Christianity. It is said that King Brude denied St Columba entry when he arrived at Craig Phadrig: but the gates opened themselves when Columba knocked. Brude, suitably impressed, quickly converted with his people.

The red stone Inverness Castle you see today was built in the 1830s to house courts and administrative buildings. Its arrival was part of a boom in the 1800s that saw Inverness truly establish itself as the capital of the Highlands. The Caledonian Canal may never have been a huge commercial success, but it did add to the importance of the town and to its already thriving harbour. By the 1870s railways were in place linking Inverness to Perth, Aberdeen, Kyle of Lochalsh, Wick and Thurso. All of these still operate as Inverness enters the third millennium.


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