On the site of Forres Castle stands an obelisk commemorating James Thomson, who served as a surgeon in the Crimea and saved many lives.
Although born in Cromarty the townsfolk, at that time, did not wish to have the monument placed there so it was erected in Forres and the reflected sunlight from the top stones can be seen in Cromarty across the Moray Firth.
Made of granite, the monument stands some 16m tall.
It bears the followinf inscription:-
"To the memory of Assistant-Surgeon James Thomson, born at Cromarty on the 8th March, 1823, and deceased in the Crimea on the 5th October, 1854. He was with the 44th Regiment in Malta in 1850 when the cholera broke out and shortly proved fatal to all surgeons of the corps, himself alone excepted.
The skill, fortitude, and humanity displayed by him in arresting the progress of that disease gained for him the praise of the Commander-in Chief. He was present with the same regiment at the Battle of Alma in 1854, and a few days afterwards, when the British were leaving the field, he volunteered to remain behind with seven hundred desparately wounded Russians.
Isolated from his countrymen, endangered by the vicinity of large bodies of Cossacks, ill supplied with food, and exposed to the risk of pestilence, he succeeded in restoring to health about four hundred of the enemy and embarking them for Odessa.  He then died from the effects of excessive hardship and privation.
This public monument is erected as a tribute of respect for the virtue of an officer whose life was useful and whose death was glorious"
Built in 1806 to commemorate Admiral Lord Nelson and his victory at Trafalgar. The Tower gives a superb view of Forres, Findhorn Bay and the Moray Firth.
It wasn't open when we were there so we didn't bother walking up the hill - hence rubbish photo!
May to September - 2.00pm - 4.00pm Closed Mondays
There are many fine buildings in Forres, but none dominates it quite like St Laurence Church, a magnificent neo-Gothic building towering over the centre of this ancient town.
Today's St Laurence Church is the latest in a line of churches on the site. Its foundation stone was laid on 17 August 1904 and it was first used for worship just over 18 months later on 28 February 1906. The church cost just £9,600 to build: it is estimated that it would cost £6m to replace today.
What emerged was a truly wonderful church built on a grand scale. The spire is some 40m high and the exterior is a riot of pinnacles and beautiful stonework.
Part of grant park, the Sunken Garden is part of the magnificent gardens that make Forres one of the UK's best floral towns. Nearby are also Floral Sculptures, Woodland Walks, Children's Play Area, Bowling Club, Cricket Pitch, and Picnic Areas.
Unfortunately we were there in April, so it was just the bulbs and shrubs in flower, must come back one summer.
Founded in 1871, the museum displays objects relating to Forres including musical instruments and memorabilia belonging to the late Roy Williamson of The Corries.
Opening Admission: Free
Hours of opening
May to September
10.00 to 17.00 Monday to Saturday
Restricted opening in winter
11-13.00 and 14.00 to 16.00
The Mercat Cross signifies the towns right to hold a market. It stands in the centre of the High Street in front of the Tolbooth Building.
It is in the Gothic style of architecture and stands some 13m high.
The Cross is a miniature version of the Sir Walter Scott's Monument in Edinburgh.
Work on the present day Tolbooth began in 1838 but there has been a Tolbooth on this site since the twelfth century.
The principal purpose of the Tolbooth throughout its history has been as a prison, courtroom, council chamber, collection office, treasury and archive storage.
It is now used as a rent collection office for The Moray Council with the Court Room being used to display items from The Falconer Museum and to host Community Council meetings.
This is what we came primarily to Forres to see. An ancient pictish standing stone - Sueno's Stone stands some 7 m tall. It was most likely erected just before the start of this millennium, possibly by Kenneth Mac Alpin - first king of the Scots after he defeated the kings of the seven northern Pictish kingdoms. It has recently been encased in glass to prevent erosion and further damage, but remains an impressive sight.
Local legend says this was the crossroads where Macbeth originally met the three witches. In the legend, they were eventually imprisoned inside the stone—should the stone be broken they would be released.
This is the town where the opening scenes of Macbeth are played out and there's also a "welcoming" reminder that it's a town where witches were burnt at the stake in the 17th century. Fortunately, times appear to have moved on.
Driving into Forres, for the second time, the first on sunset, we couldn't help but be impressed by some of the wonderful homes. There is an air of wealth about the town and of cleanliness and pride.
Some of the abodes, such as this one here, were bordering on the palatial.
The first shot is of a bridal gown shop but the second is of much more interest as it is the main church, St Laurence, which stands on a site which has been used for Christian worship since the middle of the 13th century, when Scots King Alexander III erected a chapel in honour of St Laurence as a memorial to his late wife Margaret.
The present building is relatively modern. Its foundation stone was laid on 17th August 1904 and the building was first opened for worship on 28th February 1906.
It was designed by architect John Robertson of Inverness and is in Neo-Gothic style. The building cost ?9,600 at that time and now has a current insurance value of over five and a half million pounds.
The stone came from Newton Quarries, and the stonework is a fine example of the stonemason's craft, which, at least on this scale, is no longer practised in Scotland today.
The main tower and spire reach a height of 120 feet and major repairs on the spire and roof pinnacles etc cost over ?23,000 in early 1990.
The interior of the church has many features not commonly found in a Church of Scotland building. The marble Baptismal Font (a copy of its prototype in Dryburgh Abbey), within what is in effect a private Baptistry the marble Communion Table, in design and position more akin to an Anglican Altar, and the great brass Eagle Lectern. All these reflect the ideas of Rev Alexander C Buchanan, minister of the parish from 1899 - 1912, who later left the Church of Scotland to become a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church.
One cannot help but be aware that this town has community pride. Any that labours to garner this many awards must have something going for it, though I did note the 21st century awards were a little on the sparse side.
Naturally enough, I was there when there were no blooms but you could certainly get the idea that it would indeed be glorious come springtime.
To be frank, Forres surprised me and I wish that I had had a little more time there, especially to do the walks mentioned elsewhere.
The falconer Museum faces the High Street at the end of Tolbooth Street in the centre of the town and is home to an interesting range of exhibitions focusing on the heritage of Forres and the surrounding local areas.
There are some exhibits we found interesting, especially for Rosemarie when we both noted the telephone exchange (pic 2) and were somewhat mortified to realize that these were now museum pieces and Rosemarie used to have a job working one down in Melbourne.
It was around that time that we felt decidedly old.
Admission to the Museum is free, though you are encouraged to leave a donation.
April - October - Monday to Saturday
10.00am - 5.00pm
November to March - Monday to Thursday
11.00am - 12.30pm
1.00pm - 3.30pm
I love it when you're in a foreign country, especially the villages and small towns. You can walk freely about and, if you're interested and have a keen eye, you'll notice lots of quirky things. You'll have many questions posed, some answered, some remaining a mystery and the stories that do unfold are often fascinating, mostly interesting and rarely, if ever, boring.
Thus it was as I glanced around Forres, the pharmacy (pic 2) had a different way of promoting itself and the recommended (by Maggie who else) tea rooms (pic 3) were old and atmospheric.
As for the main picture, I studiously avoided the place, just in case they were looking for guinea pigs or such. Of course, it turns out that it's only a charitable organization helping old farts like me who have had a heart attack, stroke or similar.
CHSS operates Volunteer Stroke Service (VSS) groups . The aim of the VSS is to provide a range of services which meets the needs of a person who has had a stroke. What you see here is their voluntary shop outlet where clothing and such is sold.
Here I have blatantly plagiarized my friends at the "Undiscovered Scotland" web site whom I have ended up developing an ongoing relationship with. 'On the eastern outskirts of Forres lies a real surprise. Between the old and new routes of the A96 as they converge on the B9011 roundabout, is Sueno's Stone. This 20ft high Pictish cross-slab is the tallest surviving stone - and one of the richest examples of Pictish art - in Scotland. It was discovered, buried, in 1726, and given the name, mistakenly, after Swein Forkbeard, King of Norway.
The front of the stone is largely occupied by a ring-headed cross. The background and the area of the cross itself are filled in with intricate interlaced decorations. Even more highly detailed decorations occupy the two sides of Sueno' Stone. The artistic style of the stone suggests it was carved in the 800s or 900s. The rear of the stone is divided horizontally into four panels, all depicting scenes from some great battle. You can think of it as a stone forerunner to the Bayeaux Tapestry, produced to a century or two later and carrying many battle scenes.
Ironically, however, while the story behind the Bayeaux Tapestry is very well known, the battle being depicted on the Sueno Stone is a mystery. One possibility is that is shows the defeat by the Scots under Kenneth mac Alpin in the mid 800s. Others feel it shows a battle between resident Picto-Scottish forces and invading Norsemen in the years either side of 900, around the time the nearby Pictish fortress of Burghead was destroyed. And a third interpretation suggests it shows a battle fought in 966 at Forres in which the Scottish King Dubh was killed by the men of Moray. Take your pick: the stone lacks an inscription so it's likely we will never know for sure.'
One thing I can tell you, it's very impressive when you're standing next to it and, if you're in the area it's definitely a must-see.
The foundation stone of the new court house and public offices was laid " with Masonic Honours by the Honourable John Hoyes as officiating Grand Master" on 30th March 1838. The following items were placed in the foundation, which was laid in the south-east corner of the Tower:-
An inscription on parchment,
Coins of the day comprising - a gold sovereign, a silver crown, a silver half-crown, a silver shilling, a silver sixpence, a silver groat, a copper penny and a copper farthing
a Victoria medal
a chronological table
a copy of the Act of Parliament for erecting New Jails, Court Houses etc, for the County of Elgin and Forres and for the Burgh of Forres, an almanac for 1838
an extract of the funds, properties and revenue of the Burgh of Forres 1837,
an extract of the funds and expenditure of Andersons Institution,
three " Forres Gazettes, and Elgin Courant
a copy of the rules and regulations of the Forres Gas Company.
The building was completed in 1849 at a cost of Two thousand and seventy six pounds, 2 shillings and sixpence.
The town council met in the building until its demise in 1976 and since 6th April 1977 the Courtroom has been the home of the Community Council for the Royal Burgh of Forres.
Despite major reconstruction of the Tolbooth which started 1992 the building is seldom used except for monthly meetings of the Community Council, who meet in the Courtroom. The Rent Office is situated downstairs and is used to collect council housing rent and Council Tax payments. The building used to house the Moray Council Archivists but they were deemed unnecessary in 1997 and their work is now undertaken by the Council's Library Section in Elgin.
Despite a controversial choice of colour scheme the Courtroom still holds some vestiges of its former glory.
The listed Town Hall is today the neo-classical facaded building shown in this picture.