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Scottish Highlands

Travel Guide Europe United Kingdom Scotland Scottish Highlands

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Introduction

Near summit of Ben Nevis

Near summit of Ben Nevis

© All Rights Reserved cstevenson

The Scottish Highlands refers to a historic regional, as opposed to the lower parts of Scotland. Basically, it's the northwestern area of Scotland.

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Sub-Regions

Northern Highlands

The area covered here does not include the far northeast. Many will still think of this in terms of older names - Wester Ross and Sutherland. Much of it is taken by the wonderful Torridonian Sandstone Area. Further north there is gneiss as found in the Outer Hebrides.

Fort William and Lochaber

This is the area that contains the UK's highest peak, Ben Nevis and its range. However this is by no means the end - some would say not even the greatest - of its charms. The Pass of Glencoe is remembered for a terrible massacre but that has not diminished the awesome beauty of the mountains on each side of the glen. These include Aonoch Eagach, one of the two finest ridge walks on the UK mainland.

Further west lies the somewhat softer but staggeringly beautiful area of Ardnamurchan.

Aviemore and the Cairngorms

The Cairngorms are very different from Scotland's other highland areas. They comprise a huge plateau of some of the UK's highest peaks, split by the incomparable (in the UK) Lairig Ghru, a high level pass.

Inverness, Loch Ness and Lochalsh

The mainland part of the area 'Skye and Lochalsh' is inserted into the 'Inverness, Loch Ness and Nairn' area. Nairn is treated as part of the north-eastern area. Inverness itself is not much above sea level and marks the end of the Caledonian Canal through the Great Glen from Fort William. The lovely areas of Glen Affric, Kinitail and Lochalsh are all included here.

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Towns and villages

N.B. Sometimes a village is so small that you may not realise you have already gone past!

Northern Highlands

as well as Scourie, Achiltibuie, Poolewe, Gairloch, Skieldaig, Diabaig, Torridon, Applecross, Kinlochbervie and Stoer.

Fort William and Lochaber

as well as Ballachulish, Beauly, Spean Bridge, Arisaig, Glenfinnan, Strontian, Glenuig, Lochaline, Glencoe and Kinlochleven.

Aviemore and the Cairngorms

  • Aviemore
  • Carrbridge
  • Kingussie

as well as Kincraig and Boat of Garten.

Inverness, Loch Ness and Lochalsh

  • Inverness
  • Kyle of Lochalsh
  • Fort Augustus
  • Pitlochry

as well as Dornie, Foyers, Drumnadrochit, Kinlochourn, Invergarry, Glenelg, Plockton

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Sights and Activities

Northern Highlands

  • Handa Island - off Scourie - a wonderful RSPB seabird reserve.
  • Cape Wrath - ferry and minibus from near Durness - farthest northwest point - lighthouse and puffins.
  • Faraidh Head - walk from Durness - see seals in rock pools - and female eiders swimming in with their young in season.
  • Smoo Cave - Durness.
  • Torridon, Aligin and Diabaig area - see Torridonian Sandstone Area.
  • Corrieshallock Gorge - near Ullapool.
  • Summer Isles - trips from Ullapool or Achiltibuie.
  • Inverewe Gardens - near Poolewe.
  • An Teallach - excellent ridge walk.

Fort William and Lochaber

Aviemore and the Cairngorms

Inverness, Loch Ness and Lochalsh

  • Loch Hourn

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Events and Festivals

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Weather

Spring is the best time for a visit with generally dry but cool weather with some showers now and then. Other times there is always a chance of rain and temperatures rarely go above 20 °C. Snow and frost are common in winter, but not that heavy.

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Getting There

By Plane

The main airports into Scotland are:

Airlines flying into Scotland are mainly from regional destinations. There are also seasonal flights from North America. Major airlines include British Airways, easyJet, First Choice Airways, Flybe, Flyglobespan, MyTravel Airways, Ryanair, Thompsonfly, Thomas Cook Airlines.

To travel to the Highlands (and the Isles) by plane, there are a number of national flights that go to the smaller airports. The airport at Inverness is regarded as the gateway to the Highlands. It is served by British Airways (in the form of Logan Air, a franchise partner), Easyjet, BMI, Eastern Airways, Aer Arann, Ryanair, Highland Airways, and Lufthansa, although the latter only in the summer shedule.

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Sleep

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This is version 28. Last edited at 13:21 on Aug 26, 13 by Utrecht. 12 articles link to this page.

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