Port of Invergordon all you need to know 2023

Ceud Mile Failte (A Hundred Thousand Welcomes)

Why Cath’s guide to Invergordon?

Cath enjoying an Ice cream
Cath enjoying an Ice cream

Welcome to Cath’s Guide to Invergordon. Let me explain why I’m writing Port of Invergordon all you need to know in 2023. I’m an “Invernessian” which means that I was born and bred in Inverness. Inverness is 25 miles away from Invergordon. Also, I’m a member of the Scottish Tourist Guides Association and I’ve been guiding in the Highland area since 2018.

Viking Cruise Invergordon
Viking Cruise Invergordon 2022

You can find me guiding groups of cruise liner passengers around the Highlands of Scotland every year. Visitors have lots of questions about the area. Read on for all you need to know about the Port of Invergordon.

Where is Invergordon?

Situated in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland you will find Invergordon. As you arrive by ship you will see the small cottages which were part of its historic port and fishing village. Invergordon sits on the Cromarty Firth, a renowned natural landscape you can spot seals, a plethora of seabirds, and if you are lucky a dolphin or two.

Cromarty Firth, Invergordon
Cromarty Firth, Invergordon

What is Invergordon known for?

In the 1820s the first real harbor was built. During WWI and WWII the port was a major player in defending the North of Scotland from invaders. To give refuge and to help refuel the warships the basin was widened and made deeper to allow access.

OIl Rig in for repair Cromarty Firth
OIl Rig in for repair Cromarty Firth

Invergordon was at the forefront of the oil industry when oil was found in the North Sea in the 1970s.  Fabricators’ yards were built in Invergordon, Nigg, and at Ardersier. Oil rigs can be viewed in the bay for servicing and decommissioning. Now the oil yards are used to build wind turbines, they generate green energy across Scotland.

How many cruise ships are coming to Invergordon in 2023?

Cruise boat Invergordon 2022
Tui Cruises Invergordon

Cruise boat Invergordon 2022

Mein Schiff Cruise liner Invergordon
Mein Schiff Cruise liner Invergordon

This year we have a total of 133 cruise ships visiting us on the Northeast coast of Scotland. Bringing us 240,000 visitors and 92,000 crew. Phew, it’s going to be a busy year for us all. Let’s have a look at what you can do on your arrival.

Can you get from Invergordon Port to Dunrobin Castle?

Yes, you can. Dunrobin Castle is 30 miles north of Invergordon and is one of the oldest inhabited houses in the Highlands dating from the 1300s. You can look around the chateau-style house and spectacular gardens. Visit the museum, which houses Pictish stones, dating from 300-900AD, and has many souvenirs from the Dukes of Sutherands hunting trips! Twice daily there are falconry displays, a shop, and a cafe too.

Picture of Dunrobin castle from the Gardens
Dunrobin Castle and Gardens

Luxury private car tour from Invergordon

Let’s begin with my own tour. Take a once-in-a-lifetime private drive tour to discover some of Scotland’s most spectacular landmarks! Visit the Millionaires View, Struie Hill, Dunrobin Castle and Gardens, and Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve Dornoch in the comfort of your own car. With an experienced tour guide to show you around, you’ll get a unique perspective on Scotland’s rich history and stunning scenery. My luxury saloon car takes 2-3 guests but you can contact me if you would like to take a larger group. You will also be safe in the knowledge that you will be guaranteed to be back on your ship with at least an hour to spare before departure.

Getting to Dunrobin Castle and Gardens by train

Invergordon Train Station
Invergordon Train Station

Invergordon Train Station Mural

Invergordon Train Station Mural

Daily there are several trains going to Dunrobin Castle from Invergordon train station. You can walk from your cruise liner to Invergordon train station in 10 minutes. The train takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes and there is a stop directly opposite the castle entrance. Then just a 10-minute stroll straight down to the front of the castle. The 3rd Duke of Sutherland had the train line built to help open up his estate in the 1860s. The railway North to Helmsdale and Dunrobin Station was paid for by the Duke.  If you want to see some of the original documents from the time you can take some time to visit the Dunrobin railway museum. To book your train you can go to Trainline and book your ticket.

Military robes at Dunrobin castle
Robe Room at Dunrobin Castle

Getting to Dunrobin Castle by bus

You can get a bus from Invergordon to Dunrobin Railway Station.   As I wrote earlier, it’s then just a 10-minute stroll straight down to the front of the castle. Depending on the time of year, you may have to change buses, this could take anywhere from 1 hour 20 minutes to 2 hours. The bus stop is just a 10-minute walk from your ship.

Large stuffed stag in the main hall of Dunrobin Castle
The Monarch of the Glen at Dunrobin castle

Shore excursions from the Port of Invergordon

There are several great tour providers if you want to go on a mini coach or coach. A couple of operators I would recommend are Avril’s Travels and WOW Scotland Tours. They have been operating in the area for a number of years and offer the guarantee that you will get back to your cruise boat on time, well in advance of departure.

Shore excursions where do we meet up?

All of the tour guides will be standing opposite the main port exit into Invergordon. All the tour guides know each other so if you’re lost just ask someone and they will be able to point you in the right direction.

What is Invergordon famous for?

Invergordon Welcome sign
Invergordon Welcome sign

Invergordon is famous for its involvement during the two World Wars. On the 30th of December 1915, the Captain of HMS Natal was hosting a film party on board for local dignitaries and the wives and children of the officers. During the afternoon’s entertainment, an internal explosion happened, and the ship sank in five minutes. Various estimates from 390-421 soles were lost. The hull of the ship sat in the entrance to Cromarty Firth and was visible at low tide until the 1970s. To make the passage past the wreck safer some of the ship was salvaged and the rest was blown up.

At the moment our most famous residents are the Stoltman brothers. well-loved local celebrities. The super-fit Tom and Luke Stoltman have held the titles of  World, European, and UK’s strongest men. They have a shop in Invergordon, have a look for it when you are in port, or you can support them by buying their merchandise online. So no nonsense when you are visiting Invergordon, you might bang into the brothers Stoltman!

What’s the story behind all the Invergordon Murals?

Invergordon Highland Games Mural

Invergordon Highland Games Mural

The Invergordon “Off the Wall” project started in 2002 to celebrate the heritage of Invergordon. You will see murals all over the town with themes such as the Highlands Games, the Pipe Band mural, and the Evolution sculpture. The train station depicts ” The Long Goodbye” paintings of local soldiers leaving for WWII.  The mural portrays the Seaforth Highlanders, 51st Highland Division, and their time in St Valery-en-Caux during the Second World War.  

Invergordon King Street Pipe Band mural

Invergordon King Street Pipe Band mural

How to get to Inverness from Invergordon?

As with the tours to Dunrobin Castle, there are private tours, coach tours, and public transport to convey you to Inverness, just 25 miles away. If you wanted to visit Loch Ness this would be difficult to do on public transport. It would be best to book a private tour or coach tour.

Are there whisky distilleries near the Port of Invergordon?

Invergordon Distillery
Invergordon Distillery

Built in the 1960s the new Invergordon distillery. It produces a  whisky using grains such as corn or wheat. It is not a single malt distillery, which only uses barley in its production. The plant produces 40 million liters of whisky a year. You will see the bonded warehouses but unfortunately, it is not open to the public.

You may also pass Dalmore Distillery on your tour it is only 3 miles from Invergordon. It has recently started building a visitor center it will be open to the public in 2024.

Glenmorangie Distillery shop
Glenmorangie Distillery shop

Visit a Highland Malt Distillery

There are two distilleries that you can visit while in Invergordon they are the Singleton at Glen Ord Distillery and Glenmorangie Distillery. It would be difficult to reach them using public transport but a private tour or taxi would be a better option. If you are planning to visit either you are best booking well in advance as they are small Highlands venues and on cruise day they are very busy.

Cath's Inverness Tours Car
Cath’s Inverness Tours Car

And finally, my top tips for your visit to The Port of Invergordon 2023 are:-

  • Plan your trip before you arrive, the Highlands are busy during the summer months ad ultra-busy on cruise days
  • Book a tour if you want to cover everything in the short visit
  • Don’t forget you will be driving on a part of the https://www.northcoast500.com/ world-famous driving route
  •  Keep your eye out for wildlife particularly seals, birds of prey, and deer
  • Lastly, Come back and spend more time with us in the future
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