A Tarbat Discovery Centre local history resource

Inver lies on the south shore of the Dornoch Firth, one of Britain's most attractive and unspoilt river estuaries. Although the distance from Dornoch to Inverness is only 25 miles as the crow flies, the coastline between them is about 150 miles - eight times as long. This geography meant that, until recent times, the area relied heavily on transport by water.


By 1700 many fishing communities had been established on the shores of the Dornoch and Cromarty Firths. Originally they were small settlements for estate fish-boats, which not only provided fish but were also a means of transport by sea. The fishers and their families were an extra source of labour at harvest and other busy time. Indeed some lairds considered that the fishers were bound, like serfs, to the estate fish-boat. Despite this, fisher communities were often seen as hardy, enterprising and fiercely independent.

Later these settlements grew into larger fishing villages. Here two early communities Inver (Tarbat estate) and Skinnerton (Arboll estate) have joined, but the parish boundary still divides the village.


In the 1830s cholera struck Inver and victims were buried in a common grave on the shore, now marked by a memorial. The grave is planted with Burnet Rose the little white rose of Scotland, which also grows wild on the dunes.


The Little White Rose

The rose of all the world is nor for me.

I want for my part

Only the little white rose of Scotland

That smells sharp and sweet and breaks the heart.

Hugh MacDiarmid


The village is laid out in rows of fisher cottages, originally thatched, each with its garden ground on the opposite side of the narrow road to the house.


From November 1943 to April 1944 the village of Inver and the surrounding area was evacuated to allow the shore to be used as a training ground for the D-Day landings. 900 people and all farm animals were moved out.


The village is sheltered by a great sand-dune complex - the Morrich Mor - and the salt marshes along the coast are rich in wild flowers.