Vendor City Guide: Inverness

Street secrets revealed by the people who know them best. This week we're dropping by Inverness with Big Issue vendor Daniel MacKenzie

Our guide this week: Daniel MacKenzie, 38, was born and raised in Inverness and has been selling The Big Issue for around six years. His pitch is at the railway station so he is always on hand to give directions to visitors and answer their questions.

Why I like living in Inverness

There’s so much to do

Inverness is a nice place with plenty to do to keep you busy. I’ve lived here all my life and have memories so every part of the city is famous to me. I enjoy going out in the evenings and meeting friends and there are plenty of places to go. The best time to visit is when there is a lot happening, which I would say is the summer.

What tourists ask me

How to get to the castle

I’m always happy to help out tourists if they’re lost or if they need advice. When they’re looking at street signs I offer them help. Most often they want to know how to get to the castle, the cathedral, Eden Court Theatre, the bus station or the river. I tell them what happens inside the castle – it’s also where our court is. It isn’t deemed appropriate to take pictures because people are there to find out if they’re getting community service, a fine or a jail term. It’s the only castle in Scotland that has a court inside.

DID YOU KNOW…

Our vendors buy every copy of the magazine from us for £1.25 and sell it on to you for £2.50. Which is why we ask you to ALWAYS take your copy of the magazine. We believe in trade not aid.

The best places to eat and drink

If you like steak pie, head to the Castle

There’s Wetherspoon’s where people can go for a coffee for £1.25 then get as many refills as you want. Then there’s Coffee Affair, the Red Pepper, the cafe in Debenhams. The Castle Restaurant is just down from the castle. They do practically everything you can think of. Last time I was there I had steak pie, and that was filling.

Where to hear good music

Check out the pubs near my pitch

There are outdoors festivals like the Tartan Heart Festival in August, with people like Jess Glynne, Chvrches and Lewis Capaldi playing this year. But there’s music on every night at pubs like MacCallums and Gunsmiths, on Union Street right across from where I sell at the train station. Hootananny is a Scottish pub that has live music and ceilidhs too.

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The local teams

Inverness Caley Thistle and Ross County

I’m a Celtic fan but I do like to see how the local teams are getting on. Celtic haven’t been up here for ages because Inverness and Ross County are both down in the Championship [though Ross County have just been promoted].

How to get out of town

It’s easiest if you’ve got a car

To get to Culloden Battlefield, take the Croy bus. It’s cheaper to get a day rider ticket. And to get to Loch Ness, head for Drumnadrochit where the visitor centre and Urquhart Castle are. If you’re in a car it’s easier, otherwise you have to get a taxi or bus. One question I haven’t been asked by tourists is whether there have been any recent Nessie sightings. But they still go to look for it.