Standing high on Cluny Hill, Nelson’s Tower looks down, with some presence, over Forres. Erected by public subscription, the tower was built as a memorial to Admiral Lord Nelson.
The foundation stone was laid by James Brodie of Brodie on the 26 August 1806 with coins and a parchment being laid beneath it. The Forres Volunteers then fired three volleys into the air and the procession marched off down the hill for a celebration dinner in the town.
However, the costs of the subsequent works were such that two further calls were made to subscribers in 1807 and 1810 to complete the structure.
In the meanwhile, many of the subscribers joined together to form The Trafalgar Club to celebrate annually the famous naval victory. Finally, on Trafalgar Day 21 October 1812 at 1:00 p.m. the flag was run up and the tower opened to the public.
To celebrate the opening, a couple of four-pounder cannon had been donated and these fired a twenty-one gun salute.
The cannon were said to have been with the fleet at the bombardment of Alexandria and can still be seen today at the entrance door to the tower.
In the years following the opening, the Trafalgar Club accepted a number of gifts from patrons including an elegant silver cup from The Duke of Gordon, a handsome bronze medal embellished with the likeness of Nelson from the Reverend Gordon of Banff and a very fine print of Nelson’s death scene from The Marquis of Huntly.
In particular, a sculpted bust of Lord Nelson was commissioned by a number of supporters and placed in the tower in 1837. Visitors to the tower can still see this impressive piece of sculpture.
By far the most popular feature of the tower is the absolutely stunning view from the top deck. The 360-degree vista, particularly north over the broad reaches of the Moray Firth to the far hills of Caithness and west towards Ullapool, provides an unforgettable experience.
You will not regret the woodland walk up to the tower from Forres.
The Tower is normally open to the public for the season 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm every day from the beginning of April to the end of September.
When we are open the Red Ensign will be flying from the tower mast.
Entry is by donation.