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Invergordon - - 46760.jpg
Invergordon is located in Ross and Cromarty
Location within the Ross and Cromarty area
Population3,930 (mid-2020 est.)[1]
OS grid referenceNH715685
• Edinburgh125 mi (201 km)
• London456 mi (734 km)
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtIV18
Dialling code01349
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
57°41′17″N 4°09′25″W / 57.68792°N 4.15704°W / 57.68792; -4.15704Coordinates: 57°41′17″N 4°09′25″W / 57.68792°N 4.15704°W / 57.68792; -4.15704

Invergordon (/ˌɪnvərˈɡɔːrdən/; Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Ghòrdain or An Rubha) is a town and port in Easter Ross, in Ross and Cromarty, Highland, Scotland.[2] It lies in the parish of Rosskeen.


The town is well known for the Invergordon Mutiny of 1931. More recently it has also become known for the repair of oil rigs which line up in the Cromarty Firth on which the town is situated. In the 1970s and 1980s nearby Nigg was known for the construction of these rigs. The yard used for this is now attempting to re-establish itself as a fabricator of large offshore wind turbines and oil rig refurbishment since being purchased by Global Energy Group.

For a number of years Invergordon was the site of an aluminium smelter until 1981 when British Aluminium closed it down. The pipeline that covered the conveyor belt from the smelter to the BA pier was not dismantled until the early 2000s and the two large tanks still stand today as well as a water tower.

It still has a grain whisky distillery, operated by Philippines-owned whisky giant Whyte and Mackay, the output of which contributes to many blended whiskies. Connected to the distillery was the Invergordon Distillery Pipe Band.

At present the port is visited by many large cruise liners each year, as the deep water port allows disembarkation for coach tours in the northern Highlands.

Since the 1970s some would perceive the town as a 'Glasgow colony', since many workers were recruited from southern Scotland to work in the oil rig fabrication and aluminium smelting industries. As a result, the residents' accents often show more influence from Glasgow, than the surrounding Easter Ross dialect of Highland English although this has changed in recent years.

In 1971, the British Aluminium Company, which was 47% owned by Reynolds Metals, opened an aluminum smelter here.[3]

In recent years Global Energy Group have been expanding, with the purchase of the Nigg fabrication yard it has also brought much appreciated work to Invergordon's Docks with the town again full of oil company workers through the day.

Naval Base[edit]

The naval institute was designed in 1914 by Edinburgh architect Stewart Kaye in reaction to the known oncoming war.[4]

Remains of the naval base are evidenced in the tank farm lying behind the town centre, the port used to contain fuel oil and water supplies for Admiralty ships, and the Admiralty Pier, where once warships docked and which is now used for cruise ships in the summer and oil-field support vessels through the year (see Inchindown oil tanks).

One German bomb hit one of the tanks during the Second World War when a large flying boat base occupied much of the northerly coast of the Cromarty Firth, the result of this being that the fuel oil flowed onto the railway tracks. According to town history the bomb did not explode.

On 27–28 May 1957 the Royal Navy held a fleet review in the waters off the town.

The port renewed its military connections in the summer of 2017, when it was visited by the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth during her sea trials.[5]

On 19 June 2021 the last of the Batch-2 River-class offshore patrol vessel, HMS Spey (P234) was commissioned at a ceremony at the former naval base. Her Majesty's Royal Marines Band Scotland was at the ceremony providing musical support.[6]


Invergordon is now the premier mural town of the Highlands and hopes to emulate the success of her mentor in Chemainus, British Columbia. Currently, the town is adorned with a series of 17 murals. The paintwork created by a selection of artists tells the stories of the local community and the area. This trail is a result of a community project which was initially designed to integrate local community groups (17 in total took part). The trail was opened by the Princess Royal and now acts as a major tourist draw.[7]

Invergordon is home to Invergordon F.C., a football club founded in 1870.

In Season 3 of Amazon Prime motoring series The Grand Tour, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond visited Invergordon as part of their journey along the NC500.[8] They notably described the pebble-dash clad houses as "battered" and briefly showed local convenience shop Reid Road Stores. While many locals were pleased to see Invergordon in the public eye, many criticised the comments made by the TV hosts, which were said to "mercillessly mock" the town.


Panorama of Invergordon

The town is served by Invergordon railway station which lies on the Far North Line, and is in close proximity to the A9 trunk road.

As of 2012, there is a controversial scheme for a waste incinerator at the Cromarty Firth Industrial Park in Invergordon, which the Scottish government are now reviewing following protests by the local community. The £43 million plant would be built by Combined Power and Heat (Highlands) Ltd.[9]


Invergordon has one secondary school, Invergordon Academy, which is fed by three primary schools, Newmore Primary School, South Lodge Primary School and Milton Primary School. Formerly, the academy was also fed by nearby Park Primary School until it was closed following a fire.

In 2013 the Highland Council announced plans for a new "super school" to serve Ross-shire with the preferred option being that it be built in Invergordon. This has seen protests by some locals and is currently under review. If it went ahead Alness and Tain academies would close and there would also be a change to the local primary schools.

On February 24, 2020, Park Primary school suffered severe fire damage as a result of a fire caused by a faulty laptop. The classrooms suffered a lot of damage, but fortunately, all of the students and staff were safely evacuated to nearby Invergordon Academy. Since then, the charred remains have seen multiple smaller fires, both from arson and damaged electrical wiring. These included a major blaze exactly 12 months after the initial fire. A contract has been granted, and the building is due to be demolished in April-May 2022.


  • Invergordon Mural Trail
  • Invergordon Free Church
  • Rosskeen Free Church
  • Invergordon Castle (ruins)
  • Clach a’ Mheirlich (Thief’s Stone), a bronze age Pictish standing stone
  • Polish War Memorial

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ "Mid-2020 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland". National Records of Scotland. 31 March 2022. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  2. ^ Gittings, Bruce; Munro, David. "Invergordon". The Gazetteer for Scotland. School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh and The Royal Scottish Geographical Society. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  3. ^ Lee, John M. (29 May 1971). "British Aluminum Debut Faces World Glut". The New York Times Company.
  4. ^ Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Stewart Kaye
  5. ^ Allison, George (15 January 2017). "MoD deny rumours that a new aircraft carrier will be mothballed". UK Defence Journal.
  6. ^ HMS SPEY Commissioned Into ROYAL NAVY 🌊 🚢, archived from the original on 21 December 2021, retrieved 19 June 2021
  7. ^ "Invergordon Museum | Gallery". Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Jeremy Clarkson and Grand Tour co-hosts ridicule Scots town during NC500 road trip".
  9. ^ Scotsman article by Frank Urquart, 1 December 2012

External links[edit]