The North Inch is a substantial low-lying area of parkland which forms part of the flood-plain of the River Tay immediately to the north of the centre of Perth. The North and South Inches were granted to the royal burgh of Perth in 1374 by King Robert II (1316-90) and continue to benefit the people of the city being administered through the Perth Common Good Fund. The Battle of the North Inch was fought here in 1396, between Clan Chattan and Clan Kay, with only twelve men left standing from sixty combatants. Monuments at the southern end of the Inch commemorate this event, together with the assembly of Jacobites in 1715 and 1745. Other memorials include the Prince Albert Monument, the Lynedoch Monument and the 51st Highland Division Monument. The Inch once represented a rather smaller area than today, but was extended to its present size following an exchange of land with the Earl of Kinnoull in 1803.
The North Inch was regularly flooded by the Tay, but is now protected by substantial embankments, pierced by flood-gates, part of a flood protection scheme which was completed in 2001. The area is notable for its sporting connections. Both the Bell's Sports Centre and Gannochy Pavilion are now located here, and cricket, rugby and football are regularly played. However, it is with the game of golf that the North Inch is particularly associated. The North Inch is one of the oldest golf courses in the world. Golf has been played here since at least the 15th century; King James II banned the game here c.1450, encouraging the people of Perth instead to practice archery in order to better defend their country. James IV may have played golf here in 1502 while, in 1599, four men had to apologise before the Kirk Session for playing golf on the Sabbath. James VI is also thought to have played here.
Today, the 18-hole North Inch Golf Course occupies the northern section of the Inch.