11 Growing Up In Inverness Realities9 min read

11 Growing Up In Inverness Realities


Inverness, Ness, Invershnekie, The Shneck. Butter with one ‘T’ and bumpers with plenty of rubber. Those who live in Inverness are said to be the happiest in Scotland however Dundee came third which leaves me wondering who did the research.

Many of the locals are very patriotic about their home town and it isn’t entirely difficult to see why. All jokes aside, Inverness is a very picturesque and tourist friendly city. However the tourists know nothing about the realities that faced the ’90’s kid’ growing up in Inverness. If you are looking for a flashback on some of the best years of your life then ‘here’s it.’

School Closures

This affected Primary School way more than Secondary. In Secondary School in Inverness, it didn’t matter if you had 7 strains of the cold and a broken leg, you were still expected to show up and pass Maths. As I no longer live in Inverness (I escaped, jkz lol), I often hear about the Primary School closures in Inverness and it cracks me up.

Why did everything go to sh*t every time there was a sprinkling of snow? To be fair, it was a pretty great time to be alive when that TV got wheeled in to the room and we got to watch Harry Potter on VHS for the 8th time that month. The school would arrange for ‘the parents’ to be called in to collect you. God help your mother if she didn’t answer what was probably the most important phone call of her life. I still haven’t forgotten sitting there playing with bean bags on my own because someone never heard the house phone.

Straight Outta Charleston

The school divide in Inverness was real.

This started in Primary School, I cannot speak for all Primary Schools but I know that Kinmylies Primary and Muirtown Primary Schools disliked each other, mainly because Muirtown consistently pumped Kinmylies at the football. This wasn’t even slightly awkward when we all got bundled into the SAME secondary school together.

I attended Charleston Academy and the fear of walking home from school without getting gunned down by an enemy from the High School was real. OK, maybe it wasn’t quite at that extent. However there was a real running hatred between Charleston Academy and The High School, this could be put down to pure jealousy or due to the fact that Charleston was the better of two evils. Not biased, promise – Mr Cripps (History, anyone remember him?) – He taught me what the word biased meant in 1st year and now it arises in most arguments.

Millburn Academy was the posher of the schools, it sits in a nicer side of town and has less of a rough diamond catchment area. Millburn Academy took nothing to do with Charleston and The High School and outside sources tell me that they never really had any issues with Inverness Royal Academy. This was obviously a more mature area of town.

Did you attend any of these schools? Let us know!

Year of the Flood

Every time I have been back to ‘Ness’ in the last few years, there has been zero access to the Johnny Foxes road. This is because they have taken a leaf out of Trumps book and built a wall right round the river. It doesn’t look too bad and I totally get the point but where is the fun in that? It was way more exciting when the river was at ‘breaking point’ and everyone used to natter on about how it was away to burst at any second.

Whin Park looks WAY more fun. Picture: Gary Anthony.

When I was 12, I just assumed that most people lived on higher ground anyway. Whin Park might have flooded ‘a little’ but don’t they have peddle boats anyway? Cheers to the Highland Council for ruining the only controversy I understood when I was a kid!

The Aquadome

Pic By Alasdair Allen

It was worth standing in the epically long queue for a blow up doughnut and walking up the 8 flights of stairs just to spend some life on the flumes. The Aquadome is the best and only swimming pool in Inverness worth writing about.

Ironically, I nearly drowned there when I was like 7. I thought I could tackle that wave machine and I paid no attention to the ‘no non swimmers past this point’ sign. They had to throw a lifeguard ring out to me and evacuate everyone from the pool. What a joke of a child, mum was raging. It never stopped me though, I got straight back up on that horse. In fact, the next time I visit my home land, I am getting my bottom in to that outdoor pool. The Aquadome was one of the best parts of growing up in Inverness. We never had iPads and we were happy, dammit.


Downtown U.S.A

Excuse me while I just wipe away a tear in commemoration of what was everybody at Charleston Academys 16th birthday destination. Many a good night was spent in the depths of Downtown U.S.A. Alas, not only did I visit here on birthday celebrations though.

There were many phases of growing up in Inverness that I went through. One of these was to wear the skinniest jeans imaginable and buy the whole range of ‘starry hoodies’ from H&M in the Eastgate Centre. Yep, I was a ‘scene kid’ for about a year. Or so I thought I was… Downtown U.S.A was where I indulged in ‘choons’ by Enter Shikari and The Gallows. It was when I crushed on guys who had more eye liner on than me. Adele knows nothing about an eye liner flick, these guys did. Downtown U.S.A is now a karate centre and I am no longer a ‘scene kid.’ R.I.P MySpace.

What does Johnnys’ Fox say?

This is taking me from teen to boozy teen, it would only be fair to kick in to the boozier side of Inverness with the best and only beer garden that isn’t an actual garden in Inverness. Growing up in Inverness, there were two ways to appreciate good weather. One of which was at Dores Inn but this left the problem of assigning a designated driver.

The other was to take to the 5 benches outside Johnny Foxes and end up sitting on the stairs in line for a decent seat. Johnny Foxes in the Summer usually consisted of Inverness’ finest uploading photos to Facebook of the inevitable pint.

Love2Love/Studio 25

If the throwbacks aren’t already whacking you in the face then this one will. Love2Love is where I spent some of the best nights of my pre-20s life. I still have the Love2Love membership card in my purse that I signed up to when I was 16 (the bouncers weren’t the best at seeing past extensions and 3 layers of foundation)… and I am keeping it in the hope that one day, ‘G’s’ or ‘Digital’ or whatever the hell its non Love2Love name is will reopen.

Walking up those beautiful stairs and ordering my first blue VK of the night and getting ridiculously shipwrecked whilst belting out Taio Cruz or Akon at the top of my lungs is what makes for a decent memory. I was one of the lucky ones, I got to experience Love2Love when it was in its prime. The kids today know nothing.

Caley Thistle VIPs

I don’t think I will ever forget Dougie Imrie and Ian Black sauntering up the stairs to the VIP section in Love2Love like they owned the place. It makes me cringe on a whole new level as they were our local celebrities. We were the VIPS, not you Dougie, Dougie Imrie.

I’m in Miami Bitch

Miami nightclub

Trying to explain to my other half who is Aberdeen born and bred that people in Inverness used to go to Miami for a night out caused more confusion than is necessary. Only Inverness would have a nightclub called Miami on the High Street. The problem I have is that I have been to Miami (the real one) and it is incredible in so many ways. Unfortunately the nightclub has absolutely nothing in common and just sat in the middle of the High Street where some of the epic dregs of society still hang out today.

Rumour tells me that Inverness is getting a Club Tropicana and a Vogue. If they do it any justice with the décor and sticky floors then Inverness is in for a good time. Maybe there is still hope for the millennials.

Private Thighs, sorry, Eyes

After all the struggles that Inverness had with dropping the curfew plus the fact that they aren’t allowed an Ann Summers, it was a shock that Private Eyes opened in Inverness. I have never been to the place, I swear that wasn’t me that you seen on that pole.

Although when I lived there, I was put off by the fact that it sat between a D.E Shoes and a Farmfoods. Not sure if that still is the case. Maybe if Private Eyes was placed between somewhere more upmarket like Waitrose and Kurt Geiger Shoes, I would have more respect for the place. Here is a photo below that I have got from an outside source of one of the dancers though.


The 2.50am Max’s Run

This was about the only part of the night out that made me happy about leaving Love2Love. Max’s chips and cheese were that of angels. I have to give thanks to any friends that piled me out of the door at 2.50am to ensure we made Max’s before it shut.

I think there were was another chippy down the back of the previous Cactus Jacks but that was not only further away but that street resembled the Wild West at 3 in the morning.

Harry Gows

In Aberdeen, we have Greggs. Greggs sucks. I will eat Greggs but I will not be happy about it. Every time I come up to Inverness, I eat so many tattie pies and marzipan apples. Growing up in Inverness, Harry Gows was the absolute highlight of my dad going out to the bookies on a Saturday morning. Why don’t they open on a Sunday? He always came home with a number of Harry Gows options.

There is something special about that Harry Gow smell and the hangovers that it didn’t help but it still fed over the years. Why is Harry Gows not a UK wide venture?


Oh well, there’s it! I hope you all enjoyed my post about growing up in Inverness. Leave us a cheeky comment if you found it sound. Inverness, my bumpers will forever be rubber and my crack will always be nae badger. If you want more Invernesian chat, checkout 37 Inverness Points of Interest.



The Chief.
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