Short walks around interesting places where the last ice age left its mark around Inverness
The area around Inverness and Loch Ness has got lots to offer for those interested in history – amazing historic sites like Urquhart Castle, Fort George and Cawdor Castle attract thousands of visitors every year who would like to find out more about the history of the Highlands.
But if you go much, much further back in history – back all the way to the Ice Age in fact! – you will find that there are still traces of this period left to discover even today.
Loch Ness itself is a direct result of the last ice age and was formed by the melting waters of a huge glacier – of course some say that this is when Nessie was trapped in the Loch and has been the most famous local resident since, but you’ll have to judge for yourself!
If you look along the shores of Loch Ness from the water, you can still see the “raised beaches”. When the heavy glaciers melted after the last ice age, the land rose up in what scientists call “isostatic rebound” and the raised beaches show you where the level of the Loch once was.
The glaciers that once filled the Great Glen have left their mark in other places, too. Near the village of Farr you will find the Esker Trail at Littlemill, a very pleasant walk from the Forestry Commission car park. The Esker ridge here was formed by a river running underneath the glacier, leaving behind sand and gravel. The little lochs called kettleholes were also left behind by the retreating glacier. You can choose from three different walks around Littlemill, one of these takes you past the working quarry where a modern day business takes advantage of the sand and gravel left by the glacier!
These eskers and kettleholes can also be found near Torvean and Tomnahurich on the outskirts of Inverness. Today one of these eskers, Tomnahurich Hill, is the site of a fascinating 19th century cemetery. A lovely walk leads all the way to the top and it’s worth the steep climb in places, even though trees hide some of the view.
So even though the ice age might be ancient history, you will still find amazing little places like these all around Inverness and Loch Ness, we hope we’ve given you some ideas where to look!