A brief picture of Invergordon
Invergordon is a town with a tremendous history stretching back through two World Wars and is now a centre for oil-rig refurbishment and maintenance. It is also a major port of call for cruise liners with 2004 seeing 40 visits bringing some 23,000 passengers to the area.
The view west from Invergordon (Nov. 2004)
Ideally situated in the centre of the eastern Highlands, the town has an attractive double-width High Street which this year has been upgraded to make it more pedestrian-friendly (below left). It allows shoppers room to breathe while they browse amongst the selection of local shops. These range from the essential food stores, chemist, Post Office, Banks and newsagents to gift shops, shoe shop and a beauty salon.
There are many places to eat and stay, providing quick take-away food right through to a quality country house hotel and restaurant just inland from the town.
Indian and Chinese food is also available as an alternative to more traditional fare. The Arts Centre, occupying the old Town Hall building, has exhibition facilities as well as a medium-size theatre. There are regular displays of local art and the theatre has a programme of shows throughout the year.
The Leisure and Sports Centre, located near the Academy, has a large heated swimming pool, an extensive range of modern fitness equipment, two squash courts and a large games hall providing facilities for gymnastics, fitness classes, hockey, judo, football and badminton.
The 18-hole golf course, situated at the western end of the town, has wonderful views of the Cromarty Firth and of the mountains to the West. Only recently enlarged from nine holes, the course presents an interesting challenge to the local and visiting player alike.
There is also an excellent go-kart centre - Inverbreakie Raceway - which has an indoor track together with bar and restaurant facilities. Located on the edge of the town, it is a great way to spend the day at any time of the year.
Naval Museum and Heritage Centre
This is a new development in Invergordon and is situated at the eastern end of the High Street by the British Legion. Opened in the Spring of 2004, the Centre has quickly built up an excellent collection of artifacts relating to the local history. Such is the variety of the items available for display that the exhibits are frequently changing and there is always something of interest for all ages.
There is also an interesting archive together with a library for the use of visitors. More information can be found at the Centre's own web site which can be located in the 'Useful Links' section.
Created in 2001 with an enormous amount of effort from the local community, this project formed part of the BBC TV programme series Charlie’s Garden Army. Funding came from Europe in support of the Small Towns Initiative, together with the Cromarty Firth Port Authority, The Highland Council and the BBC.
Designed to follow the nautical theme of the Cromarty Firth, the garden has become a well-used attraction for locals and visitors.
All visitors to the town may enjoy a walk starting at the Admiralty Pier area, where you get a good view eastwards along the Firth. Head westwards along Shore Road, past the Natal Garden, and at the modern Port Authority building a plaque marks an event in the town's history. Continuing along Shore Road, you reach the Queen's Dock where oil rigs undergo maintenance. If one is in port at the time of your walk, you will realise the enormous size of these structures which frequently tower over 70m (210ft) above the town.
At the junction with the High Street you can either continue along the foreshore and enjoy the views of the Cromarty Firth and the mountains beyond, or turn into the High Street to see the old anchor and display board commemorating another part of the history of Invergordon.
At the eastern end of the central shopping area, you can see the first of what is planned to be a series of heritage murals. Painted to celebrate the environmental success of Kildary Loch, it shows details connected to the site's previous activities as a source of sand and aggregates for use in the building industry.
You can see more pictures of this mural, from the beginning to its unveiling, on the Image Library.