Day 5: 15 August 2019: Exploring Inverness – Part 1
Flora MacDonald Statue
Flora MacDonald was born on the island of South Uist, in the Outer Hebrides, in 1722. After her father’s death, she was brought up under the care of the chief of her clan, the Macdonalds of Clanranald.
In 1746, 24-year-old Flora was living on the neighboring island of Benbecula. And it was here that she met Bonnie Prince Charlie – and stepped into the pages of history.
Charles Edward Stuart, better known in history as Bonnie Prince Charlie, was the leader of the Jacobite Rising in 1745. His goal was to reclaim the family title to the English, Scottish, French and Irish thrones. After barely escaping the Battle of Culloden, he was being tracked down by “The Butcher,” Prince William of Great Britain, when Flora MacDonald offered to help. She disguised him as her maid while transporting him in a boat to Skye.
This bronze statue of the Scottish heroine was created in 1896. It stands near the entrance of the Inverness Castle.
Inverness Castle is right in the heart of Inverness city overlooking the River Ness. Anyone visiting Inverness will see it dominating the River Ness which it has guarded for centuries.
Inverness Castle is largely a nineteenth century construction although fragments of the medieval fortification survive most notably the well and part of the bastion wall. The castle remains in use as a functioning court and therefore there is no public (tourist) access to the interior. Cromwell’s Fort has also been virtually obliterated although a clock tower survives as does a short stretch of the earth rampart.
Only two parts of the medieval castle survive. In between the County Hall and Sheriff’s Court is the castle well, restored in 1909. A short section of retaining wall is the only other part of the medieval structure intact today.
In front of the castle is a statue of Flora MacDonald and her dog. MacDonald is famous for her role in helping Bonnie Prince Charlie to escape capture by government forces, even though she herself was not a Jacobite supporter. The sculpture was created by an Inverness native, Andrew Davidson, and was erected in 1899.
Since the castle is still in use as a Sheriff’s Court and for government proposes only one tower is open to visitors. The tower, known as Inverness Castle Viewpoint, gives wonderful 360-degree views over Inverness and the River Ness. Even if you don’t ascend the tower you can still get outstanding views across the river to Inverness Cathedral on the far bank.
Thank you very much for taking the time to join me on my travels through Scotland. I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I did.
Till next time, safe travels and keep dreaming.
Have a fabulous day.