The River Ness

The River Ness is about seven miles long flowing north-north-eastward from the northern end of Loch Dochfour at the top of Loch Ness to the Beauly and Moray Firths.

Only 7 miles long the river is the main natural feature of the city if Inverness, the capital of the highlands, and its banks are steeped in a wealth of history.

Inverness CastleThe origins of "Ness"
The origin of the name of the river Ness is not very clear. The Gaelic for Inverness is Inbhirnis, Inbhir or "Inver" means mouth (as in river mouth not the mouth on your face) so Inbhirnis ..... more

Loch Ness and Loch Dochfour
There are many websites, books, magazine articles, scientific journals and so on already written about Loch Ness, and deservedly so. This website is not about Loch Ness but ....... more

The Caledonian Canal and Dochgarroch weir
At the top end of Loch Dochfour the water becomes the Inverness section of the Caledonian canal. Work began on the canal in 1803 and was ..... more

The upper river
From Dochgarroch Weir down as far as Holm Mills the river is surrounded by fields and woodland. The canal runs along the left bank, remaining level as the river falls away downstream. The river and canal are ..... more

Opposite the Holm Mills, across the canal up on the hill are the remains of an ancient fort. This area is known as Torvean or Tor-a-Bhean ..... more

Holm mills and the mill lade
The Holm Woollen mills were powered by water until the mid 1930's, the weir for the mill of Bught also directed water into the lade ..... more

Ness islands
The Ness Islands, although just inside the city are very much "outside" the city. There are two islands, both wooded, connected by footbridges, two of these are suspension bridges connecting to each bank ..... more

Infirmary BridgeInfirmary bridge and the War Memorial The Infirmary bridge crosses the Ness between the Royal Northern Infirmary (now UHI) and Cavell gardens. This suspension footbridge was erected at ..... more

Inverness Castle
Inverness was the Pictish capital of King Brude, King of the northern Picts. Exactly where his day to day residence was located is not clear. The forts at Craig Phadraig ..... more

Ness bridge
The Ness bridge extends from the High Street to the A82 road to Fort William. There has been a bridge crossing the Ness at or near ..... more

Greig Street bridge
The suspension footbridge crosses the river opposite Church Lane on the town side over to Greig Street on the other side. This is the largest of the footbridges ..... more

Ben WyvisFriars bridge
Friars bridge takes its name from the nearby site of the Dominican Friary. The friars in 1233 were granted a piece of land by Alexander II stretching from ..... more

Waterloo Bridge
Waterloo bridge is known locally as the Black Bridge, due to the original bridge being built of a very dark coloured wood. The wooden bridge was constructed in 1808 to connect the village of ..... more

Railway Bridge
The railway bridge, about 80 yards downstream from the Waterloo bridge, is currently (2007) the newest bridge spanning the Ness. This was opened in April 1990. The original railway bridge was swept away ..... more

Inverness harbour
The first quay in Inverness, the Shore Street Quay was built in 1675, running 540 feet northwards along Shore street from where the Railway bridge is now. A tax on ale and beer was ..... more

Cromwell's Citadel
Cromwell's citadel was constructed in an attempt to subdue the highlands. It could hold a garrison of up to one thousand men and was active for about seven years. The garrison was withdrawn after ..... more

Carnarc point
Carnarc point is on the western bank and the final piece of dry land which the river passes as it runs into the Beauly Firth. The point is at the end of a narrow ..... more