Adventures around Invernesswith PlusBus

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The Highland city of Inverness is surrounded by countryside and wildlife. You could spot red squirrels in the woods and seals in the water. You’ll certainly see all kinds of birds, from seagulls to herons. The city’s name means Mouth of the River Ness and the river runs right through the middle. A PlusBus ticket gives you unlimited bus travel all over the city all day long so you can eat cake among flowery gardens in the morning and take a nature walk with a chance of seeing dolphins in the afternoon.

  • County: with PlusBus
  • Great for: flowers and gardens | good cafés and pubs | nature reserve | tropical greenhouse | waterside walks | wildlife |
  • Refreshments: lots of fabulous restaurants, pubs and cafes
  • Please note: researched/updated in July 2023. If anything’s changed or you have more tips to share, do get in touch: features@goodjourney.org.uk
  1. 3. Caledonian Canal, Clachnaharry Inn and Merkinch nature reserve

    The Botanic Gardens are a a good place to start a walk along the Caledonian canal to Clachnaharry, where the canal meets the sea. Follow the Great Glen way signs, cross over and turn right along the canal, keeping the water on your right. When the Great Glen Way heads off through the forest towards legendary Loch Ness, keep straight beside the canal to reach the little, whitewashed Clachnaharry Inn, which is a great place for supper or a pint.

    • After about a mile on the way to the inn, the path leaves the canal for a little while, but keep following the signs to Muirtown Locks. Beyond this flight of locks, keep on along the waterside path beside Muitown Basin. Reaching another lock ahead, follow High Street left to the Clachnaharry Inn. The whole walk is just over two miles. Alternatively, you can take the bus straight there.
    • How do I get to Clachnaharry by bus? From Inverness railway station, hop on bus 28 towards Dingwall from the neighbouring bus station (Stance 1) and get off, after about 5 minutes, at the stop called Clachnaharry (opposite inn).
    • Across the canal from the inn is the marshy Merkinch nature reserve, where there are benches and boardwalks for watching the wildlife. Among the tidal pools and reedbeds, you have a good chance of seeing all kinds of wading birds as well as deer, herons, cormorants and more.
    • Keep looking and you might spot the turquoise flash of a kingfisher. From the waterside path beyond the railway, you could also catch a glimpse of the area’s bottlenose dolphins. The beaches around Inverness are the best places in the UK to see dolphins from land.
    • To return to the station, either walk back to Clachnaharry for bus 28 or keep going towards the far side of the reserve, about half a mile away. Bus 3 calls twice an hour (hourly on Sundays) at the turning circle where the path meets Kessock Road. It runs, across the River Ness, to Queensgate near the railway station.