Invermoriston, Loch Ness
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: St Columba's Holy Well
The Highland village of Invermoriston grew up around the point where the River Moriston empties into Loch Ness, about seven miles north-east of Fort Augustus. The busy A82 passes through the village, linking Inverness to Fort Augustus and on to Fort William at the southern end of the Great Glen.
At the junction of the A82 with the A887 stands the Glenmoriston Arms Hotel, and across the road from the hotel is a small village shop and a cafe.
Across from the village shop is a small garden area featuring a sculpture of a hand holding a torch aloft, a reminder that the London 2012 Olympic torch passed through the village in the buildup to the London Olympics.
Also at the road junction is the village war memorial, inscribed with the names of 14 local men who died in WWI and 6 further soldiers who gave their lives in WWII.
Invermoriston is very popular with walkers tackling the Great Glen Way long-distance walking trail.
Thomas Telford's Bridge
Almost opposite the village hall is a picturesque humpback bridge over the River Moriston, begun by the famous Scottish engineer Thomas Telford in 1805 and completed in 1813. Telford's bridge originally carried the main road between Inverness and Fort Augustus, but it was taken out of service in the 1930s when the present bridge was built.
Construction took much longer than anticipated due to a 'languid and inattentive contractor' and 'idle workers'. As a result of the delays, the bridge cost some £2,000 more than expected and the overrun had to be born personally by the project's guarantor Sir John Campbell of Ardnamurchan.
Invermoriston Old Bridge was just one of almost 1000 bridges designed by Telford to improve transportation across the Highlands. The same plan involved creating the Caledonian Canal (1803-1823).
Telford's bridge passes directly over Invermoriston Falls, which is not one waterfall but a series of striking rapids that churn the River Moriston into seething whitecaps.
Across the A82 from the large visitor parking area is an archway leading to a flight of steps. Descend the steps and follow a walkway at the bottom and you come to a stone-lined well linked to St Columba. According to legend St Columba came to Invermoriston in AD 565 on a trip to the court of the Pictish king Brude.
Before his arrival the well water was considered poisonous and caused boils if it touched your skin. St Columba cast out evil spirits that had infested the water and it turned pure and clear. He then baptised Christian converts in its waters. After that time the well waters were said to have healing qualities and were especially good at curing rheumatism and infertility.
Is there any truth to the tale?
Possibly, for it seems clear that St Columba did indeed journey up the Great Glen from his base at Iona to visit Brude on at least one occasion. It is certainly plausible that he stopped at Invermoriston and established a church near the site of the holy well.
There is a large (free) public car park beside the Millennium Hall, directly on the A82, with toilet facilities. Every time we have visited there has been plenty of space in the car park, even in summer.
Address: A82, Invermoriston, Highlands, Scotland
Attraction Type: Village
Location: Seven miles north of Fort Augustus on the A82
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
St Columba's Holy Well, Invermoriston - 0.2 miles (Historic Church)
Allt na Criche Waterfall - 4 miles (Countryside)
Wade's Bridge - 4.4 miles (Historic Building)
Fort Augustus Clansman Centre - 5.3 miles (Museum)
Falls of Foyers - 5.4 miles (Countryside)
Divach Falls - 8.1 miles (Countryside)
John Cobb Memorial - 8.8 miles (Historic Building)
Corrimony Chambered Cairn - 8.8 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Nearest Accommodation to Invermoriston:
Nearby accommodation is calculated 'as the crow flies' from Invermoriston. 'Nearest' may involve a long drive up and down glens or, if you are near the coast, may include a ferry ride! Please check the property map to make sure the location is right for you.