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Merkinch Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in Inverness is one of over 50 in Scotland. Local Nature Reserves are generally within or close to a community and are a more natural environment than city parks.
Merkinch Local Nature Reserve lies just over a mile from Inverness city centre on the shore of the Beauly Firth. The small visitor centre was once the old ticket office for the Ferry (Eilean Dubh) to North Kessock on the Black Isle. As well as visiting the engaging exhibition you can pick up a map of the nature reserve to guide you through the reserve.
The West Field Loop Trail takes you along the sea wall with views over the Beauly Firth to the Black Isle. You'll arrive close to the end of the Caledonian Canal. On the way back you can take a diversion through the tidal pools using the wooden walkway, into the Small Wood and back to the centre. As well as an enjoyable walk, there's wildlife and birdlife to enjoy. You're likely to see birds including terns, ducks and heron. If you're lucky you might see dolphins, osprey or kingfishers.
It's quite a short walk but easy to extend e.g. by walking along the Caledonian Canal Towpath, past the marina to Muirtown Locks.
The impressive wooden sculptures near the visitor centre are actually benches. Take a seat beside the Loch Ness monster or Dolphins and enjoy the views of the Kessock Bridge, which replaced the ferry in the 1980's