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The Great Outdoors: History, artillery, dolphins and dog graves… Fort George is a great day out

© Shutterstock / grafxartDolphins at Fort George near Inverness.
Dolphins at Fort George near Inverness.

Perched on a peninsula in the Moray Firth, Fort George is an impressive military edifice.

It dates back to the days of Bonnie Prince Charlie and was commissioned in 1746 by George II following the prince’s defeat at Culloden.

Its original purpose was to protect against further Jacobite unrest, and it is now the most extensive artillery fortification in Britain. Previously home to the Queen’s Own Highlanders (Seaforth & Cameron) regiment and now the base for the Black Watch, Fort George is packed with history.

A trip to Fort George allows visitors to discover the daily life of a working barracks while also taking in the 250 years of military history. The fort itself is a sight to behold, sprawled across the peninsula with manicured lawns, imposing ramparts and a warren of buildings to explore.

John Gibbon, monument manager at Fort George, is looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the site when restrictions allow.

“Fort George is one of Europe’s most outstanding fortifications and was built in the wake of the Battle of Culloden, more than 250 years ago.

“Visitors get a fantastic illustration of life at the fort through the ages by exploring the beautiful garrison chapel, Grand Magazine and historic barrack rooms, among others.

“The Highlanders Museum is also a must-see and tells the story of the regiments that have been based at the fort and their many campaigns.”

There is plenty to keep the family entertained. The barrack rooms are a particular hit with younger visitors, offering the opportunity to discover how soldiers have lived throughout the ages.

The towering ramparts surrounding the fort make for a brilliant walk with outstanding views over the North Sea.

Dolphins and salmon can regularly be spotted leaping from the waters, and while you’re navigating the edge of the fort you will spot one other peculiar attraction – one of only two dog cemeteries in Scotland. To describe it as an attraction may seem macabre, but the headstones of Fort George’s past faithful canine residents are oddly heart-warming, many imparting uplifting stories.

There isn’t a corner of Fort George that isn’t worth exploring. From the artillery of the Grand Magazine to the sweeping views from the ramparts, it is a place that you won’t quickly forget.


Location: Fort George, near Ardersier, Inverness IV2 7TD

Details: Due to Covid restrictions, Fort George has only recently reopened. Check historicenvironment.scot for further information.

Price: adults £9, children £5.40, concessions £7.20.

Call: 01667 460 232.