The Scottish Highlands is the rugged northern and north-western portion of Scotland. This is the Scotland conjured up by visions of tartan, kilts, Bonnie Prince Charlie and all.
Cities and Towns
The Scottish Highlands contains some of Europe's most extensive wilderness areas, some of which have been proclaimed as National Parks:
- The Cairngorms National Park - Scotland's largest National Park
- The Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park - Scotland's first National Park
- Loch Lomond
- Dunrobin Castle - Gorgeous castle with fantastic exterior, gardens and falconry demonstrations from 11am and 2pm every day. About an hour and a half north of Inverness. Adults £8.00, children £5.00 OAP's and students £7.00 for castle and gardens. It should be noted that there are no falconry demonstrations on Sundays.
- Applecross - See the views from Scotland's highest mountain road on the way to Applecross at about 2000 ft! Isolated peninsula known for its rugged beauty. Seal trips with Calum's at Plockton guarantees seals on your excursion or your money back. Not far from Kyle of Lochalsh area.
- Inverewe Gardens - Lovely National Trust For Scotland garden, an hour north of Kyle of Lochalsh.
English is predominant everywhere in the Scottish Highlands. Scottish Gaelic is spoken by a small minority of locals, especially in the west, but all of them speak English as well.
The main airport serving the Scottish Highland region is Inverness Airport, with scheduled flights from locations around Scotland and England as well as international scheduled flights from Amsterdam, Dublin and Düsseldorf. There are smaller airports within the Scottish Highlands at Campbeltown and Oban that offer scheduled service from connecting flights into Glasgow; as well as Wick Airport which offers connecting flights from Edinburgh Airport and Stornoway Airport that can be reached from scheduled services from Aberdeen Airport.
Scotrail offers services from Glasgow and Edinburgh (via Perth) and Edinburgh (via Aberdeen) north towards Inverness several times a day. The West Highland Railway runs from Glasgow's Queen Street Station to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig. There is also the Caledonian Sleeper from London's Euston Station to/from Fort William and Inverness via Edinburgh. This overnight service must be booked in advance. Passengers heading for Fort William in the seated carriage must change carriages at Edinburgh Waverley.
Scottish Citylink offers a relatively frequent service to many parts of the Highlands from Glasgow, Perth and Inverness. West Coast Motors offers bus services throughout the Argyll and Bute region as well as buses from Glasgow to Campbeltown and Oban. Stagecoach offers services across the Highlands. Some communities are served by Royal Mail's Postbus service.
There are numerous roads from the Central Scotland region into the Scottish Highlands. One of the most scenic involves the drive along Loch Lomond, out to Oban then north to Fort William and along Loch Ness to Inverness.
Scottish Citylink, West Coast Motors and Stagecoach should help to get you moving around the region if you are not in a car. Air service means connections in Glasgow while there are only a few train lines through the region, notably the West Highland Railway.
Many of the roads, especially in the more remote areas of the North West are single track with passing places. Driving there is a pleasure.
Hitchhiking is a good way to get around in the Highlands, with up to one in ten cars stopping for hitchhikers, but has two significant downsides. First, the road network is quite sparse in places. Also, many of the country roads that do exist have very low traffic density.
Eilean Donan castle is one of the most recognized castles in the world. It has appeared in many films including "Highlander" and James Bond film "The World Is Not Enough"
Hike in the Torridon mountains.
The Cairngorms National Park - located within the heart of the Grampian Mountains
Try cycling the highlands.
Try hiking one of the long distance footpaths that cross the Highlands:
- The West Highland Way
- The Speyside Way
- The Great Glen Way, a 73 mile (118 kilometre) hike between Fort William and Inverness. This route can also be cycled.
Take the train on the West Highland Railway.