The viaduct near Clava Cairns

2016 has been designated as a year in which Scotland's achievements in Innovation, Architecture and Design will be showcased and celebrated. We have put together a selection of buildings and structures in our area for you with interesting architectural and design elements - how many more can you discover?


1. Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre

Hoskins Architects won an international competition in 2004 to design the National Trust for Scotland’s new visitor centre for Culloden Battlefield, the site of the last battle to be fought on mainland Britain.
The centre is defined by a wave-form roof and a long wall that passes through the building and out into the landscape. Visitors can take an interpretive journey through the exhibition culminating in a view of the site from the planted roof or enter the battlefield via a portal between a gently sloping berm, and a memorial wall for the fallen. The heavily insulated building is clad with local larch, Caithness stone and site-salvaged stone. The visitor centre was officially opened to the public on 16 April 2008 (Information courtesy of Hoskins Architects).

2. Bona Lighthouse

Bona Lighthouse, one of only two inland lighthouses in Scotland, was built in 1815 by Thomas Telford and was operational for more than 160 years but was vacated after its function had been replaced by a marker beacon.
What was once Britain’s smallest manned lighthouse fell into disrepair but now the lighthouse, which has an unusual octagonal tower, has been fully restored and is available to let from Scottish Canals as a holiday let.

3. Aldourie Castle

First recorded as a laird’s house in 1626, Aldourie Castle is a classic example of Scottish Baronial architecture and an authentic historic Castle, having achieved that status in the 19th century. Sir Robert Lorimer designed one of the castle’s wings in the 19th century. The property has evolved, both physically and in its use, over a period of around 220 years and today is available to rent as an exclusive use property.

4. Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns is the site of an exceptionally well preserved group of prehistoric burial cairns that were built about 4,000 years ago. The Bronze Age cemetery complex comprises of passage graves, ring cairns, kerb cairn, standing stones in a beautiful setting and the remains of a chapel of unknown date.
The three well-preserved cairns each have a central chamber. But while the two outer cairns have entrance passages, the chamber of the central one is completely enclosed. The outer kerb of each cairn is well defined by large boulders, and each is surrounded by a ring of standing stones.

5. Clava Viaduct

The Clava (or Nairn) Viaduct was opened in 1898 as part of the Inverness and Aviemore Direct Railway. The 29 span viaduct crosses the wide valley of the River Nairn. At 1800 ft (549 m) in length, it is the longest masonry viaduct in Scotland.
The viaduct is a Category A listed building and remains in regular use for passenger traffic to this day.

6. Kessock Bridge

The Kessock Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge across the Beauly Firth, an inlet of the Moray Firth, between the village of North Kessock and the city of Inverness.
The bridge has a total length of 1,056 metres (3,465 feet) with a main span of 240 metres (787 feet). Designed by German engineer Hellmut Homberg and built by Cleveland Bridge, it is similar to a bridge across the Rhine in Düsseldorf. The Beauly Firth is a navigable waterway and hence the bridge is raised high over sea level. The four bridge towers dominate the Inverness skyline, especially at night when they are lit.
The bridge carries the A9 trunk road north from Inverness to the Black Isle. It is the southernmost of the "Three Firths" crossings (Beauly, Cromarty and Dornoch) which has transformed road transport in the Highlands. It has proved a key factor in the growth of the city of Inverness.
To protect against any potential seismic activity of the Great Glen Fault, the bridge includes seismic buffers in its construction (Information courtesy of Wikipedia).

7. Fort George

Following the 1746 defeat at Culloden of Bonnie Prince Charlie, George II created the ultimate defence against further Jacobite unrest. The result, Fort George, was the mightiest artillery fortification in Britain, if not Europe.
Its garrison buildings, artillery defences bristling with cannon, and superb collection of arms - including bayoneted muskets, pikes, swords and ammunition pouches - provide a fascinating insight into 18th century military life.

8. Eden Court

Eden Court was opened in April 1976. At the time, the design was strikingly modern. As the only large scale performance venue in the region, the building was designed by architects Law & Dunbar-Nasmith to house all types of performing arts from opera to popular music, concerts, ballet, modern dance, drama and films.
The theatre is sited in the grounds of what had been the official residence of the Bishops of Moray. Built in the nineteenth century for Bishop Robert Eden, the house was incorporated into the new arts centre providing dressing rooms and offices and later on, a small cinema. It gave up its name to the arts complex and was renamed the Bishop’s Palace.
Following a major appeal and two years of closure Eden Court reopened in November 2007 as the one of the best equipped arts centres in the country. (Information courtesy of Eden Court)

9. Highland Archive Centre

The Highland Archive Centre is responsible for collecting and preserving the historic record of the Highlands. The archives date from the 14th century to the present day and consist of original documents in different formats from charters, minutes, correspondence and accounts to maps, photographs and films.
The Highland Archive Centre was designed by LDN Architects in Forres and opened in 2009. In 2010 it won the RIAS Best New Building Award.

10. Point Clair House

Point Clair House near Invermoriston on Loch Ness was built in the 1930's by a ship's captain. The nautical influence is evident in the design of the house where the bow ended front of the property, which overlooks the loch, resembles the bridge of a ship. Today Point Clair House is available to rent as a holiday let.

11. Fort Augustus Abbey

The buildings of St. Benedict’s Abbey in Fort Augustus follow the lines of the old fort, which enclosed a central square. The frontage towards the Canal is that of the School wing, adapted for the accommodation of fifty or sixty secular students. Its architecture is consequently less ecclesiastical in character than that of some of the other portions. The lofty central tower is of Scottish Baronial style and is 100 feet high.
The long front visible from Loch Ness is that of the monastery proper. It has accommodation for about sixty monks. The greater part of this wing, as well as that intended for a school, was designed by Mr Joseph Hansom (inventor of the Hansom cab). (Information courtesy of Highland Club Scotland)

12. Eagle Brae

Using the finest Western Red Cedar logs, each one of Eagle Brae’s log cabins has been hand-built by master craftsmen using authentic Norwegian techniques. Specially sourced from sustainably managed forests in British Columbia, Canada, none of the logs have been through a saw-mill meaning every log’s natural beauty from the forest is retained in the cabin.
Eagle Brae’s log cabins are made by Pioneer Log Homes of British Columbia, Williams Lake, BC, Canada. The timber used by Pioneer in Canada is totally sustainable. (Information courtesy of Eagle Brae)

13. St. Andrew’s Cathedral

Inverness Cathedral began as the Mission in 1853, on the opposite side of the River Ness. Bishop Robert Eden decided that the Cathedral for the united Diocese should be in Inverness and in July 1862 excavations for the new Cathedral began, to plans by Alexander Ross, which were to prove to be his masterpiece. The foundation stone of this, the first new Cathedral to be completed in Great Britain since the Reformation, was laid in 1866 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Cathedral was opened for public worship in 1869. (Information courtesy of United Diocese of Moray, Ross & Caithness)

14. Urquhart Castle Visitor Centre

Urquhart Castle, dating from the 13th century is Scotland’s most visited Highland castle.
The castle has a distinctly Highland heritage and the site has witnessed some of the most dramatic chapters in Scotland’s history.
The Visitor Centre, designed to minimise both its own impact and that of car-parking on the setting of the castle, includes exhibition areas, a community/education room, a shop, tea room and a lecture theatre, the screen of which slides back to reveal a dramatic view of the castle.

15. Torguish House

Torguish House dates back to 1705, built some 40 years before the Battle of Culloden, and was extended in the 1860’s.
Torguish served as the manse for the nearby Daviot Church of Scotland and was the former Highland home of renowned thriller author Alistair MacLean.
The writer, who penned bestsellers such as The Guns of Navarone and Where Eagles Dare, spent most of his childhood at Torguish House as his father was the minister at the local church.