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Going beyond the gateway cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow is a real treat. We’ve all heard how rugged and unforgiving the landscape is, how torrid the historic battles and clan warfare were, and how hospitable and wonderfully warm the Scots are. It’s time to venture out and discover the fascinating history, amazing wildlife and the impressive coastline of the Scottish Highlands, Experience the wonderful scenery and fascinating history, go Nessie hunting in Loch Ness and learn the history of the Jacobites whilst sampling the local Whisky along the way.
Scotland is a country filled with legends, and Loch Ness has the biggest of them all. Take a cruise out on the Loch and stop off to explore the ruins of Urquhart Castle.
The ancient stones of Scottish castles brim with mystery, history, romance, and stories of wars. They overlook lochs and dramatic landscapes, some are ruins, some perfectly restored. A couple of favourites are Dunrobin with fairytale architecture and extensive formal gardens; Eilean Donan, 13th century castle looking over towards the Isle of Skye and connected to the mainland via a bridge; Urquhart Castle whose 13th century ruins overlook Loch Ness.
A walker’s paradise in the heart of Scotland surrounded by beautiful scenery and with a rich clan history, fine food and always something happening – the Pitlochry Market held every 3rd Saturday (Apr-Oct); The Highland Games first held 10 Sep 1852 still happen 2nd Saturday in September; the Faskally Wood is enchanting in October with a sound and light experience. Take a tour of Blair Athol Distillery one of the oldest legal whisky-making sites in Scotland.
The imposing Grampian mountain range through the middle of the highlands includes Cairngorm National park and the highest mountain in the UK Ben Nevis 1,345m. Either self-drive or do a small group tour to see the sweeping landscape with mirror clear lochs, rugged mountains and isolated terrain.
From Fort William to Mallaig this 84mile round trip is described as the greatest railway journey in the world, travelling past the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, Loch Morar and the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis. You pass beautiful villages and can alight at Arisaig for views of Rum, Eigg, Muck and Canna Isles and at the fishing village of Mallaig to enjoy a walk and spot of lunch.
Fort William is a great base to explore the highlands from. Cruise on Loch Linnhe for awesome views of Ben Nevis and to see seals basking on the islands, or sail along the famous Caledonian Canal, and Glencoe is the highlight of any trip to Scotland. The Three Sisters mountains loom to the side and the scenery in the glen is dreamy. This is a paradise for walkers.
Just 10 km from Thurso is Dunnet Head, the most northern tip of the UK mainland with a great lighthouse and blustery winds. Down the road you’ll pass Dunnet Bay Distillery, a delightful gin distillery where you can enjoy a Rock Rose G&T with fresh rosemary by the fireside before a tour.
Here's a taste of some of our favourite hotels and lodges in The Highlands.
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