Inverness has got a castle... oops, wait a minute... oh, I see... it's a
prison... no? It's not? It's council offices? A court? Okay okay okay,
let me get this right: Inverness has not
got a castle. It's got
something that looks
like a castle, a big red sandstoney thing
with towers and turrets and battlements. It features prominently on much
of the town's tourist bumf, looking very grand and majestic and almost
Windsoresque in its castleishness. But it's not a castle
Inverness did once have a castle; in fact, quite a few castles, all
right at this very spot. But they couldn't have been very good at being
castles as they were forever being attacked and destroyed. The last
person to have a go, so to speak, was Bonnie Prince Charlie, who razed
it to the ground in 1746. This, I have to say, is a bit of a shame
because if you look at a picture by John Clerk in the early 18th century
it was clearly a fairytale castle of dreams and legends. Now all that
remains for visitors who make the climb to the top of Castle Hill is a
bit of a wall and a well. But it's a very nice well. Inverness has a
well; full of water and wishes.
Once up on Castle Hill the small disappointment at not finding a
real castle is tempered by great views and a bronze statue of Flora
MacDonald, gazing towards a horizon, eternally wondering when Charlie
will be home for his tea.
Will ye no' come back again?