The app that’s bringing Nessie to life in Inverness

A tourist attraction bringing the legends of Inverness to life is proving a success.

A series of plaques depicting legends and historic events have been installed at various locations across the city. The artwork on the plaques acts as a trigger for a new exciting app which uses augmented reality to bring a story to life in 3D in your surroundings.

The eighth and final plaque in the series has now been installed on the iconic Falcon Square statue. The artwork shows a magical garden with the unicorn and falcon. The garden comes alive through the app as if you are looking through a window and delivers a few surprises.

The Mercat Cross which was unveiled in 2003 in Falcon Square is a sandstone pillar, 37 feet high adorned with a rearing unicorn and a falcon shown spiraling down the column in the four successive stages of its attacking manoeuvre. It was designed by local artist Gerald Laing and formed part of artworks that were commissioned when the Eastgate centre was extended.

A link in the app takes you to more information about the legendary unicorn and the stories of the other legends in Inverness.

Jackie Cuddy, manager of the Eastgate Centre said: ‘We are very excited to be part of this trail which I am sure will greatly enhance tourists’ visits to Inverness.

‘I am sure that it will also move people around the city centre to different areas which can only be good for the economic benefit of all businesses in the city centre. It is good to see modern technology being used to link back to historical events.’

The augmented reality trail includes plaques at the Victorian Market, the Steeple, the Castle, Ness Walk, Huntly Street and Eden Court.

The app HighlandAR Legends is part of a Highland Council project under the City-Region Deal. Communications and resilience manager Ruth Cleland who is leading the project said: ‘HighlandAR Legends is a global, mobile app which you can download from Play stores. The app uses augmented reality to bring the legends and history of Inverness to life. You can follow the trail on a map to find the location of all the legends.

‘Simply point your device at the target picture to bring the market dog to life or see Nessie swimming in the river. You can look over the shoulder of the Brahan Seer up at the castle and peer into a prisoners’ cell on the side of the steeple or watch a unicorn and fairies play in a magic garden at Falcon Square and even see a life-size unicorn at Eden Court.’

The artworks and the app will provide a rich new experience for visitors to Inverness and also brings wider economic benefits and income generation opportunities to the council.

The app HighlandAR Legends can be downloaded from Google Play and the Apple App Store. You can find out more about the new app and where the artworks are located and the history behind them at

The Highland city-region deal is a joint initiative supported by up to £315M investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highland and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.