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PICTURES: Inverness Castle to celebrate music, food and drink – starting with Runrig

By Andrew Dixon

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Inverness Castle Experience restaurant.
Inverness Castle Experience restaurant.

The revamped Inverness Castle will include a place dedicated to the best of Highland music, food and drink.

A Highland Music Experience and Bar will be based in the North Tower of the building which is being transformed into a tourist attraction.

This is designed to highlight and acknowledge the contribution of musicians to the rich culture of the Highlands.

Today, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the formation of the band Runrig, it was announced that the opening exhibition will feature the music and stories of Runrig, recognising the band’s impact on the area’s cultural scene over the past half century.

Brothers Calum and Rory Macdonald are two of the band's founding members.

“When we started playing together as Runrig in Skye all these years ago I wouldn’t have imagined that we’d reach this 50-year milestone," Calum said. "It’s exciting to be involved with the Inverness Castle Experience, and the new exhibition will mean people who enjoy our music will have a way to come together to share their own memories of their connection with the band over the years.”

Rory said: “Through being invited to be a part of the Highland Music Experience, we’ll have an opportunity to share some memories of the band’s journey, and to involve and acknowledge the support of the people who’ve enjoyed the music over the years – it was certainly that initial support from Highland audiences that sent us on our way, something we’ve always been acutely aware of.”

Inverness Castle Experience rose window.
Inverness Castle Experience rose window.

Also in the North Tower, visitors will be able to get up close to the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands. The tapestry is currently being crafted by people from communities across the area as part of the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project, a partnership project between the Highland Council and High Life Highland, which is being delivered in collaboration with VisitScotland.

The newly transformed castle – previously a prison and courtrooms – is due to open to the public in 2025.

The South Tower will showcase the Highland landscape and feature stories from the public, which are said to capture the spirit of the area’s past, present and future.

The gardens will celebrate the Gaelic language and culture.

Inverness Castle Experience gardens.
Inverness Castle Experience gardens.

The castle project will benefit from £30 million investment to support its re-development from the Scottish and UK governments, the council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and a range of other partners.

It is part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, which is a joint initiative supported by up to £315 million investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.’

Inverness Castle Experience roof terrace.
Inverness Castle Experience roof terrace.

The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project is supported by a grant from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund (NCHF), led by NatureScot and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It is intended that this project will encourage visitors to explore and experience all parts of the Highlands and Islands, as well as inspiring them to attend and support festivals and events, visitor attractions and outdoor locations across the area.

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