The city of Inverness sits at the northerly end of the Great Glen, a fault line in the earth's crust that runs from one side of Scotland to the other. The current city's origins date back to Pictish times; however there is evidence of the area being habited long before then, with the Clava Cairns, which sit just a short distance from the city, dating back to between 1500 and 200 BC, giving it a long and often forgotten history. Inverness has connections with several major figures in early Scottish history including St Columba, who `tamed' the fabled Loch Ness Monster; MacBeth, who lived in a castle in the city; and David I, who built the first stone castle on the site of the earlier timber stronghold. The city grew to become an important trading port, which in turn brought conflict with others including the Vikings and Clan MacDonald, the Earls of the Isles. Despite this the city continued to grow, yet due to its remoteness from Edinburgh it was notable for not bowing to the political powers of the country. This was perhaps best demonstrated when Mary, Queen of Scots visited and was forced to stay in a small house after having been refused entry to the castle.
The `Capital of the Highlands' has many secrets just waiting to be discovered. In Secret Inverness, author Gregor Stewart pulls back the curtains of history to peer into the distant and not-so-distant past to reveal the forgotten, the strange and the unlikely.
Gregor was born and raised in St Andrews, Fife, where he first became interested in history. He initially started out writing books about the paranormal, however, for Gregor, saying a place was haunted was not enough; he wanted to delve into the history behind the haunting. The levels of research carried out inevitably uncovered many other stories and facts, which were not related to the supernatural, that lead Gregor to start to write local history books. Having worked in Dundee for around two decades, Gregor welcomed the opportunity to research the industrial past of the city and explore how this has helped shape the city.