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Inverness is situated on both banks of the River Ness. Owing to its situation at the north-eastern extremity of Glen More, the beauty of its environment and its fine buildings, it is held to be the capital of the Highlands; and throughout the summer it is the headquarters of an immense tourist traffic. The present castle, designed by William Burn (1789-1870), dates from 1835, and is a picturesque structure effectively placed on a hill by the rivers side; it now contains offices.

Of the churches. the High or Parish Church has a square tower surmounted with a steeple, containing one of the bells which Cromwell removed from Fortrose cathedral. On the left bank of the river stands St Andrews Episcopal Cathedral, in the Decorated Gothic, erected in 1866 from designs by Dr Alexander Ross.

Half a mile to the west of the Ness is the hill of Tomnahurich (Gaelic, The Hill of the Fairies ), upon which is one of the most beautifully situated cemeteries in Great Britain. The open spaces in the town include Victoria park, Maggot Green and the ground where the Northern Meetingthe most important athletic gathering in Scotland is held at the end of September.

The Caledonian Canal passes through the town on its western side. In Muirtown Basin are wharves for the loading and unloading of vessels, and at Clachnaharry the Canal enters Beauly Firth. There is little anchorage in the Ness, but at Kessock on the left bank of the river-mouth, where there are piers, a breakwater and a coastguard station, there are several acres of deep water. The river at Inverness is crossed by four bridges, two of them for pedestrians only, and a railway viaduct.

Inverness was one of the chief strongholds of the Picts, and in 565 was visited by Columba with the intention of converting the Pictish king Brude, who is supposed to have resided in the vitrified fort on Craig Phadrick west of the town. The castle is said to have been built by Malcolm Canmore, after he had razed to the ground the castle in which Macbeth according to tradition murdered Duncan, and which stood on a hill 1/2 mile to the north-east. William the Lion (d. 1214) granted the town four charters, by one of which it was created a royal burgh. Of the Dominican abbey founded by Alexander III. in 1233 hardly a trace remains.

On his way to the battle of Hariaw in 1411 Donald of the Isles hurried the town, and sixteen years later James I. held a parliament in the castle to which the northern chieftains were summoned, of whom three were executed for asserting an independent sovereignty. In 1562, during the progress undertaken to suppress Huntlys insurrection, Queen Mary was denied admittance into the castle by the governor, who belonged to the earls faction, and whom she afterwards therefor caused to be hanged. The house in which she lived meanwhile stands in Bridge Street. Beyond the northern limits of the town Cromwell built a fort capable of accommodating 1000 men, but with the exception of a portion of the ramparts it was demolished at the Restoration. In 1715 the Jacobites occupied the royal fortress as barracks, and in 1746 they blew it up.

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