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The local area guide to living in Inverness-shire

The historic county of Inverness-shire stretches across much of the Scottish Highlands and is the largest of all of Scotland’s counties. However, despite its taking up nearly 40% of the Scottish landmass, the population here is relatively modest – Inverness-shire is home to just 1.34% of the nation’s population.

Since 1996 the area has comprised of six wards: Aird and Loch Ness, Culloden and Ardersier, Inverness Central, Inverness Milburn, Inverness Ness-side, Inverness South, and Inverness West. Together, these wards form the Highland council area.

The hub of the county is Inverness, a city that boasts a whole range of fantastic amenities. Inverness is also home to some of the region’s best and highest-paid jobs, with high-tech companies in abundance. Outside of the city the landscape is predominantly rural, with agriculture playing a major role in other wards.

Loch Ness and its famous monster lie to the south of the region, and help contribute to the areas popularity with tourists.

Information about the local residents

With a population of just 222,370, residents here don’t need to worry about overcrowding. The population is growing though, with the number of residents in Inverness increasing year-on-year.

In fact, Inverness is one of Europe’s fastest growing cities, though this comes as no surprise when you consider its offerings. It’s ranked fifth out of 189 British cities for its quality of life, and over recent years has begun many developments to improve its amenities and economy. This has included a £9 million upgrade of the city’s harbour area.

As a tourist spot and predominantly rural area, the county tends to attract older residents, with almost a quarter of the population here having retired. It’s still a home for families though, with just under a sixth of the population being of school age – a similar percentage to other counties across the rest of Scotland.

Nearby schools

There are a number of schools dotted across the county, but they are few and far between. Despite the limited number, the schools here are good and performed well in recent Ofsted inspections. Recommended primary schools include Ardersier Primary School, Kilchuimen Primary School, and Kirkhill Primary School. The latter, which was last inspected by Education Scotland in 2009, received evaluations of ‘very good’ in all areas, including ‘improvements in performance,’ ‘learners’ experiences’, and ‘the curriculum’.

There are 28 state secondary schools in the Highlands. Standout secondary schools in the area include Fortrose Academy, Millburn Academy, and Gairloch High School. In its latest inspection by Education Scotland, Fortrose Academy’s curriculum was rated as ‘good’ and its performance at S5/S6 level as ‘excellent.’ Performance at all other levels was also rated highly, receiving a quality indicator of ‘very good’.

Getting around

Road transport is popular in Inverness-shire, with private cars and buses dominating much of the transport landscape. Regular buses operate around the region and there is great access to the rest of Scotland via major roads such as the A9. Glasgow, Ullapool, and Aberdeen are all within easy reach as well.

The county’s biggest city, Inverness, provides the most thorough options when it comes to public transport. In fact, it’s home to one of the region’s train stations, with the only other train station in Islay situated in Beauly. The station offers services to major Scottish cities, as well as London.

Local shops

As the majority of the county is rural, there is very little in terms of shops in most regions. However, several supermarkets can be found, as well as plenty of newsagents and convenience stores – ideal for picking up any day-to-day essentials.

For the best shopping, head to Inverness. Home to a multitude of shopping areas and malls, you’ll find all the usual high street stores at the Eastgate shopping Centre, as well as independent shops, which are mainly located in The Village. The Old Town area is another picturesque place to shop.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.

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