There are many parts of Scotland I would like to tell you about, but for me the best can be found in the Highlands, I hope you will agree.

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The Highlands of Scotland

As well as being a wonderful holiday destination the Highlands are home to a quarter of a million people living in communities spread throughout the area. From the vibrant city of Inverness to remote crofting communities and sparsely populated islands.
What these communities do have in common and something that is particularly apparent to visitors is that they are all part of an area which is culturally distinct - influenced by our often violent history, a strong cultural heritage, and the gaelic language.
The natural world is also different - the varied climate leads to a wide range of habitats and the relatively sparse population makes this the premier area in Britain, if not Europe for wildlife.

Natural Attractions

You could say that the Highlands themselves were just one big natural attraction. Take the sheer variety of mountain landscape as an example. You can soak up the atmosphere of Glencoe, or take in the craggy rock terraces of the Torridon hills or, say, the weird mountain profiles of Inverpolly which lies in the Northwest Highlands Geopark - and see all this without even leaving your car! You can peer dizzyingly down and into the depths of the Corrieshalloch Gorge (from a nice safe viewing platform and bridge!), or admire the curious stack of the Old Man of Storr beyond Portree. You will need your walking boots for two of our spectacular waterfalls, the Falls of Glomach in Kintail, and the Eas Coul Aulin by Kylesku (but there are lots more within a few moments of the road).
Clothing all this spectacular rock are other features worth getting to know. The pinewoods of Speyside, descendants of the ancient woodlands; the oakwoods on the way to Ardnamurchan, Scotland's own temperate rainforest; or the unique landscape of the Flow Country of Caithness. All of these are magical places.

Aviemore & the Cairngorms

With its mountains, pine-clad slopes and wide river valley setting, Aviemore and the Cairngorms area is yet another very distinctive Highland setting. Loch  
AvonThe high plateau of the Cairngorms is a backdrop to every view, and ever-changing throughout the day as sun and shadow move across these high hills. These high places lie at the core of the Cairngorms National Park which, at 3800 sq km, is the largest in Britain and was established in 2003.
At a lower level, the area is also a stronghold of the ancient Caledonian pinewoods - the descendants of the natural forests of old. As well as high mountain tundra and rocky passes, moorlands and forest, there are also extensive marshlands and lochs, whose best-known visitor in summer is the osprey - and one that is quite easy to spot, particularly around the Boat of Garten area.
This is an area which has a huge range of activities for visitors right through the year. A chain of attractive little towns and villages along the river valley, from Grantown-on-Spey upstream to Dalwhinnie, make good bases to discover the huge choice of walking at all levels, the winter skiing at Cairngorm, watersports and golf, plus the equally wide range of visitor attractions, which even includes the world's highest distillery, and a steam railway with, arguably, the best views of any preserved railway in Britain.
Then there is the coast. Dazzling beaches by Morar, endless sands by Nairn, Dornoch, Thurso - and special, secret coves along the north coast to Durness and beyond. The Clo Mor cliffs (also by Durness) are the highest in mainland Britain, the Stacks of Duncansby are another icon of the north.
From the roadless wilds of Knoydart to the gentle firths of the east, the natural Highlands are a visual delight.


Though lochs, glens and mountains may spring first to mind, the Highland coastline is equally spectacular and in many places the rugged landscapes give way to superb, unspoilt and mostly undeveloped beaches. Perhaps the most famous of these are the White Sands of Morar on the Road to the Isles. However, travelling north around the coast there are plenty more, with the Gairloch area another noted location. Then there is a further choice north of Ullapool at places like Achmelvich (Gold Flag award), Clashnessie and Clachtoll, as well as Sandwood Bay (which even manages to be haunted as well!)
The north coast has some very special places: small enclosed bays with dazzling white sands, sometimes completely deserted - around Durness or Melvich for example. Further east Dunnet Bay, near Thurso is a two mile (three km) stretch of golden sand well-known to surfing enthusiasts.
Beach near Dornoch The east coast, facing into the Moray Firth, also has some excellent and extensive stretches, particularly south of Brora. (Dornoch Beach, for instance, is a Blue/Gold Flag commended beach.) There are also sandy beaches on the Black Isle easily accessible from Inverness, as are the extensive sandy shores around the Moray Firth resort of Nairn to the east.

North West Highlands Geopark - a first for Scotland

The Geopark is located in the far north of the Scottish mainland in north west Sutherland and Wester Ross and contains the villages of Achiltibuie, Lochinver, Kinlochbervie, Scourie and Durness. What is a Geopark? It's a place where you will experience the incredible legacy left by an extraordinary geological past. The mountains and coasts, the flora and fauna, the communities that live here and their culture - all owe a great deal to the difference which this geology makes.
This is the most sparsely populated corner of Europe, where the eagles and peregrines soar. There's so much space - landscapes so ancient our minds cannot begin to grasp the enormity of time wrapped up in these rocks; quiet glens, windswept summits and aquamarine waves on gilded sands.
At 3,000 million years old, the rocks at the seashore are even older than the hills - and what hills they are. Where else can you experience a skyline that compares to the ridges of Foinaven and Arkle or classic hills like Suilven or Stac Pollaidh?
Walk away your worries and cares; stay far from the maddening crowd. Luxuriate in the long light of a summer evening when night never quite falls. There's space here in every season.
This is a great place for walking, rambling, climbing, angling, archaeology, music, birdwatching, watersports, wildlife, sight-seeing, history, quiet and contemplation, genealogy, watersports and, of course, geology. There are guided walks and activities led by local Rangers and special activity programmes during spring and autumn.


With its mix of mountain, river and loch it should come as no surprise that the Highlands is home to most of Britain's most spectacular waterfalls.
Falls of GlomachThe highest falls in Britain, falling over 600 feet (200m) are Eas a Chual Aluinn near Kylesku while the largest single drop can be found at the Falls of Glomach in Kintail which are over 400 feet high. The falls of Glomach are fairly remote requiring a round trip on foot of about while Eas Chual Aluinn can be reached by a slightly shorter 5 mile return walk but taking a boat from Kylesku is a more common option. Steall Falls in Glen Nevis or Plodda Falls near Tomich are much shorter walks.
Fortunately many other significant falls are much more easily accessible - the Falls of Measach in Corrieshalloch Gorge near Ullapool, Divach Falls at Drumnadrochit, the Falls of Foyers, Grey Mare's fall at Kinlochleven and Pattack Falls near Laggan are all virtually at the roadside while on Skye, Kilt rock and Mealt Falls which drop straight into the sea can be viewed from the clifftop carpark.
A number of other smaller falls, some taking the form of steep rapids also attract many visitors and often have path networks around them - notable ones being Dog Falls in Glen Affric, Rogie Falls near Contin, Moriston Falls at Invermoriston or Shin Falls near Lairg.

Don't just take my word for it, come and enjoy Scotland too.


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