Pinsteps. The Architectural Grandeur and Historical Legacy of St. Andrew's Cathedral in Inverness
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St. Andrew’s Cathedral, situated south of the Ness Bridge in Inverness, is a grand testament to faith and architectural innovation. Completed in 1869 and consecrated in 1874, it was envisioned by Robert Eden, who became the Bishop of Moray and Ross in 1851 and Primus in 1862. After adding Caitlmess to the Diocese in 1864, Bishop Eden moved to Inverness, believing it to be a more suitable centre for the Diocese.

Bishop Eden's desire to build a Cathedral in Inverness was an ambitious task. A man of great faith, enthusiasm, and energy, he managed to rally support not only from Episcopalians but also from others in the community. Dr Alexander Ross, often referred to as the Christopher Wren of the Highlands, was soon appointed as the architect, and the design underwent several iterations.

The contract drawings, dated 1866, depict the Cathedral more or less as it stands today, although with added spires. The towers rise to a height of 100 feet, and the spires would have extended another 100 feet. An early plan, found on linen drawings, revealed an even more grand design, but financial constraints led to scaling back. This original vision included a semi-circular apse with ambulatory and flying buttresses, with the choir extending 54 feet beyond its current length.

The Cathedral, designed in the Gothic Revival style, showcases nave arcades supported by polished granite columns, arches with clerestory windows above, and a nave roof adorned with scissors trusses and wood-lined ceilings. A cast-iron flèche that had been removed in 1963 for structural reasons was replaced by a copper Celtic cross.

Of particular interest are the horse and wheel sculptures outside the transept window facing the river. These commemorate a horse that was killed by a falling stone, a tragic accident that occurred during the lifting of rocks by a pulley and horizontal wheel. Inside the Cathedral, sculptured heads, including those of St. Margaret, King Charles I, Dr. Ross, and Bishop Eden, add character and history to the space. The altar and reredos are crafted from coloured marble and tiles, and the Cathedral houses several intriguing memorials.

Among the Cathedral's features are eleven bells, ten hung for ringing and one for tolling, restored as a memorial to Bishop Maclnnes. These bells can also be chimed. In addition, Eden Court, built just after the Cathedral, served as the residence for the Bishops and now forms part of Eden Court Theatre, housing offices and rooms for small gatherings and rehearsals. The impressive Cathedral is a timeless piece of Inverness's rich architectural heritage and a living tribute to the faith and vision of those who conceived and built it.

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Evgeny Praisman
Fairy Glen, Skye Ferry, Inverness, Nairn, Beauly of Jul 18, 2023

Embarking on a journey through some of the most striking and historically rich locations in the Scottish Highlands promises an unforgettable adventure filled with enchantment, lore, and natural beauty. Here's how you might enjoy such a trip, encompassing the mystical, historical, and cultural gems of the region:

Morning: Skye's Mystical Landscape

Fairy Glen: Folklore and Geology on the Isle of Skye Start your day on the Isle of Skye, exploring the Fairy Glen. This surreal landscape of peculiar conical hills and twisted rocks is imbued with local folklore, hinting at a supernatural presence. Legend has it that fairies created this magical landscape, and they still inhabit it today.

Skye Ferry: Navigating the Kylerhea Straits Between Skye and Mainland Scotland Hop on the Skye Ferry to cross the Kylerhea Straits, a picturesque journey steeped in tradition. The small ferry presents a chance to experience a genuine connection with the Scottish maritime heritage, adding a touch of nostalgia to the trip.

Midday: The West Coast's Rich Tapestry

Glenelg, Highland: A Historical and Natural Tapestry of Scotland's West Coast Arriving at Glenelg, you'll discover an area brimming with historical intrigue and natural beauty. Explore the ancient brochs and learn about the region's Viking history while admiring the breathtaking coastal scenery.

Lunch at Redburn Cafe & Gifts A relaxing lunch at Redburn Cafe allows one to enjoy locally sourced cuisine. The attached gift shop offers unique local crafts, perfect for a keepsake.

Afternoon: Loch Ness and Historical Explorations

Loch Ness: A Majestic Lake of Myths and Milestones A trip to the Highlands wouldn't be complete without visiting Loch Ness. Famous for its legendary monster, Nessie, this deep freshwater loch also offers stunning views and opportunities for boat tours.

History of Urquhart Castle: Early Beginnings to 15th Century Conflicts Nearby, explore the ruins of Urquhart Castle, which stands as a testament to Scotland's turbulent history. Its strategic location provides a glimpse into the early beginnings and 15th-century conflicts that shaped the nation.

Inverness: The Castle's Legacy and the Leaning Town Steeple Arriving in Inverness, explore the town's rich history, including the Castle's legacy and the intriguing leaning steeple.

Highland Heritage Unveiled: A Journey Through the Scottish Kiltmaker Visitor Center Don't miss the Scottish Kiltmaker Visitor Center for a hands-on experience of the country's textile heritage.

Evening: Literary Havens and Culinary Delights

Leakey's Bookshop: A Literary Haven in the Heart of Inverness Browse the extensive collection at Leakey's Bookshop, a must-see for book lovers.

The Downright Gabbler of Beauly: Tradition, Taste, and Tales End the day in Beauly at The Downright Gabbler, where the fusion of historical and modern cuisine by the skilled daughter of a former Speaker of the Parliament combines with the storytelling artistry of her father for a unique dining experience.

Night: Luxury Highland Rest

Sandown House: A Luxury Highland Haven Retire to Sandown House, where luxury and comfort await, providing the perfect end to a day filled with the diverse and rich tapestry of the Scottish Highlands.

This day trip offers a fascinating blend of natural wonders, historical treasures, culinary delights, and local craftsmanship. Every stop reveals a different facet of Scottish culture and heritage, creating a truly immersive experience. Whether you're drawn to the mystical landscapes of Skye, the historical narratives of Glenelg and Inverness, or the bespoke tailoring of Campbell's in Beauly, this journey offers something for every traveller's taste.

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Evgeny Praisman (author)
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