Feb 05

Leakey’s, a Great Little Scottish Bookshop with Oodles of Character


I confess. I have a thing for used bookstores housed in old stone churches. I love watching the play of light filtering through the stained glass windows. I can savor (for hours) the smell of the used books mixing with a hint of incense and oil from rituals past. And the sound of the aged wooden floors creaking under foot reminds me of a simpler time when our buildings and cultural trappings were fashioned by artisans, and not so far removed from the land.
Imagine my excitement, then, when I stumbled upon Leakey’s Bookshop in Inverness, Scotland. Leakey’s sells thousands of used and rare books, on “most subjects,” and best of all, they’re housed in an old church. 
A small placard on the outside of the building reads: Old Gaelic Church. Built 1649 for Gaelic Speakers. Rebuilt in 1792 and reconstructed in 1822 (Architect James Smith). Served as Greyfriars Free Church.
This place is heaven for people that love old stuff. 
They also have piles of antique prints (old engravings) from 18th and 19th century Scotland. The prints offer an intriguing window into the past, showing how people dressed, worked and carried out their lives. I especially enjoyed the old books on Scottish mountaineering. They were filled with illustrations and maps that could have kept me occupied for hours.
Here’s another shot of the interior. They have a huge wood stove that keeps the place warm. What could be finer than a good book and the warmth of a crackling log fire on a cold day?!
Leakey’s buys and sells modern books too. Be forewarned, however. This place is stacked to the rafters with rare tomes, antique maps and arcane tales. You’ll need time, and you’ll feel a desire to take pictures once you’re inside. There’s something about the color scheme of the interior and the quirkiness of the place that begs for photo-taking. Do yourself a favor though, and buy one of their postcards. You’ll never catch the essence of the place as well as their photographer did. 
Go There.
Our Scottish Highlands and Islands hiking tour begins, and finishes, in Inverness this year. (We changed up the itinerary.) If you join our hike, then make sure to visit Leakey’s when you’re in town. They’re located on the corner of Church Street and Friar’s Lane.
Check out their Facebook Page, and give them a big thumbs up.  
You can also see a 360 degree view of the upstairs by clicking here
Photos: by Carolyn Costin-Martin and Chris Pranskatis

You Might Also Like...
At Ryder-Walker, we are all missing the flavors of the Alps. It’s a rare dinner
Ryder-Walker’s Best Guided and Self-Guided Walking Tours Everyone at Ryder-Walker is eagerly awaiting our next
Ryder-Walker’s private guided tours are the ultimate experience in terms of personal customization. Private guided
While the world is slowed to a stop, at Ryder-Walker we have been reminiscing about
Quarantine Routine with Babsi Glanznig The intention of this short sequence is to ground and
Six Yoga Postures for Hikers, Backpacker’s & Stay-at-Homers Easy but very effective yoga asanas (postures)
The Health Benefits of Hiking When you are thinking about how to keep healthy where
Five Reasons to Choose a Guided Group Trek If you aspire to experience an unforgettable
4 reasons singles should book a guided Ryder-Walker trek! For years, Ryder-Walker has attracted couples,
Ryder-Walker’s Tips on Trekking Poles, Boots and Hiking Techniques Do you ever find yourself questioning
The Advantages to Booking Early for Your Ryder-Walker Adventure You might not be thinking about
The Perfect Holiday Gift This holiday season give the gift of a life-changing vacation with

Travel and the Coronavirus for Ryder-Walker Guests

Ryder-Walker is monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and acknowledges that there is growing uncertainty about the safety of traveling right now. Currently, our guided and self-guided treks are on schedule to run. Should travel restrictions be implemented by local or global authorities we will post updates on this link.

For more information please visit the websites of the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.