One of the most charming towns I’ve ever visited, Invergordon, Scotland gives off the vibe that not many unpleasant things happen there. Located off the Port of Invergordon, it’s a quaint, cheerful, colorful little Scottish town with a population of approximately 4,000. However, while small, it’s known world-wide for its vibrant and colorful public murals sprinkled throughout the town. Aside from the murals, the town is well-known for the Invergordon Mutiny of 1931, which was a two-day strike of about 1,000 sailors in the British Atlantic Fleet. The mutiny was spurred on by pay cuts due to the Great Depression. It’s one of just a few military strikes in British history.
An area rich in history, records show that a village of some sort was established on the Ness of Invergordon as far back as 1760. It’s only a 3 ½ hour drive from both Glasgow and Edinburgh (Scotland’s 1st and 2nd largest cities, respectively), and less than an hour’s drive from the famed Loch Ness. However, Invergordon could not be any more different from the big city. While places like Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Scotland: All Hail Mr. Boots.) are much more palatable than cities like London or New York, it’s still a large city nonetheless, and you feel it. Invergordon is the exact opposite. Edinburgh is a loud, flashy Ferrari while Invergordon is a cute, little Volkswagen Beetle with a flower in the dash.
We arrived on the day of a small street fair, complete with food trucks selling “confections” like ice cream, fun games for children, and booths, like those put on by the police and firefighters who had a bunch of information and free merch. While the townsfolk were extremely nice and welcoming, and the free merch was appreciated, we had limited time to see everything so off we went.
There are numerous murals painted throughout Invergordon, and they’re not there because a few artists got bored. Before Invergordon was a vibrant tourist magnet, it was a pretty regular Scottish town known for a British Royal Navy naval base. Starting as far back as the 1st World War, Invergordon was a strategic stronghold for the Royal Navy, and was often called “the best natural harbor in Europe”. After the World Wars ended, the naval base was closed in 1956, resulting in a steady decline of the town. Various industries came and went, with none sticking, and none bringing in the desperately needed economic stimulus the area needed to flourish.
Then in 2002, a small group of volunteers calling themselves “Invergordon Off the Wall” decided to address the town’s declining state, both economically and physically, and desperately wanted to find a way to bring in much-needed tourism. So, they came up with the “mural trail”, a loose path throughout the town showcasing 17 magnificent, vivid murals. These murals depict many things – mainly various occupations, animals, and the people of Invergordon and Scotland. According to the official Invergordon website, “… each was commissioned by a different local community group, all united in their enthusiasm to transform our town through the power of our heritage.”
After enjoying a leisurely stroll around town enjoying the murals, we headed to the Invergordon Museum, which is more or less a recreated 1950’s-era tuberculosis hospital with a few other things commemorating the history of the town and area sprinkled throughout. Located at 140 High St, Invergordon IV18 0AE, UK, it’s open between the end of March to October only when a cruise ship is in port. During the rest of the year, its open at various times and will even accommodate visitors to Invengordon if they call ahead. Check out their website for more detail: https://www.invergordonmuseum.co.uk
One last super cool thing happened right before we left. The Invergordon firefighters began doing what I can only assume was a training exercise in the harbor. A man dangled from a helicopter, over the open water, swinging around. We did not see anyone in distress or actually being rescued, so who knows, perhaps they were just showing off for us – it worked!
Overall, I really loved this delightful little Scottish town, and strongly suggest visiting if you get the chance. The murals are beautiful, and knowing the back story and purpose makes them even more charming. I fully plan on one day returning to Scotland and visiting Loch Ness, so I’ll be back in this corner of the world eventually, and wouldn’t mind visiting again one day. Until then Invergordon, stay colorful. ❤️💛🧡💚💙💜