Inverness Castle is set to transform into a visitor attraction. The property was used as a sheriff’s court until the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service moved to a new building last year.
The current castle dates from 1836, and its transformation will include new exhibition space, cafes and a roof terrace – which could take up to five years to complete.
Mary, Queen of Scots, is linked to an earlier castle on the site. In 1562, she visited Inverness Castle – or rather she tried to. On 9 September, the gates of the castle were closed to her by Alexander Gordon on the order of the 4th Earl of Huntly. Subsequently, Mary’s supported besieged the castle for three days until it finally fell.
Alexander Gordon was hanged for treason with his head being displayed on the castle. Mary herself stayed at Inverness from 11 until 14 September before moving on to Spynie Palace. “I never saw the Queen merrier – never dismayed; nor never thought I that stomach to be in her that I find. She repented nothing but (when the Lords and others at Inverness came in the morning from the watch) that she was not a man, to know what life it was to lie all night in the fields, or to walk upon the causeway with a jack and a knapsack, a Glowgow buckler, and a broadsword.”1