Why The Highlands?
The spectacular landscapes of Scotland seem magnified in the Highlands. With staggering mountains, vast coastline and beautiful sea lochs, the region offers some fantastic walking sites and delivers on a grand scale. It’s not surprising that this glorious corner of Scotland is a favourite of walkers given the sheer range of routes to explore. Although varying in terrain, the Highlands are the most mountainous area in Scotland, popular with climbers and hill walkers alike. Many of the tallest mountains in Scotland can be found near the picturesque town of Fort William, which sits at the foot of the Nevis range. As the name suggests, it is the home to Britain’s tallest mountain Ben Nevis, which towers at 4,409 ft.
There are many available routes which give a flavour of what makes the Highlands what they are. Here is a small selection of the many walks you can partake in, in the Highlands.
Located near Aviemore, Glenmore Forest has some of the best preserved areas of ancient Caledonian forestry in the country. Stolen for industry, much of the area’s former woodland was destroyed but Glenmore retains many pristine pine, juniper and birch trees from the old forests. Enjoy the privacy and quiet as you roam among these proud trees.
Arguably one of the most delightful beaches in the world, the walk to the sands of Sandwood Bay can seem dreary at first as you trek along moorland paths. The views of the bay when it comes into view are definitely worth the all the effort, so make sure to spend some time exploring the rocky sea cliffs and the sand dunes.
Overlooking the landscape of Moray, the summit of Ben Rinnes is a recognizable sight to visitors of Speyside. There are a number of routes you can take to get to the summit of this 840m Corbett and is popular with hikers for the waterfalls and the many rivers which flow through it.
Cycling in the highlands is a great way to discover the many pretty villages and beautiful countryside of the Scottish Highlands. You can find miles upon miles of cycling routes and forest trails to choose from. Many of the routes are linked so you can embark on grand journeys or if you prefer you can tackle some of the smaller, more manageable sections. There are a number of National Cycle Network routes which navigate through the Highlands, allowing you to explore the area at your own speed.
Discover Loch Ness on the south Loch Ness Trail, this is an exceptional 18 mile cycling journey from Loch Tarff in the south west to Torbeck on the border of Inverness. It’s suitable for all abilities and offers beautiful wildlife and wonderfully inspiring views.
The Aviemore Loop is a fantastic way to travel around one of Scotland’s most beautiful areas, the Cairngorms National Park. This 33 mile path passes through forests and moors along the Speyside Way to the delightful town of Boat of Garten, the historic town of Carrbridge and Slochd before returning to Aviemore.
If you really want a challenge then cycle the Great Glen Way. This 73 mile route from Fort William on the west coast to Inverness can either offer a testing experience to mountain bikers, or offer many scenic miles of peaceful road. This route can also be broken down to smaller manageable sections if you want to take kids out for a gentle afternoon pedal.
The past is written all over the Highlands landscape which features famous battlefields, majestic monuments and fascinating ancient relics. Glencoe is a place of great importance in Scottish history. Learn all about the notorious massacre of 1692 at the Glencoe Visitor Centre and Glencoe & North Lorn Folk Museum. Fort George was built by the government in the wake of Culloden and is one of the finest achievements of 18th century military engineering. It took 20 years to complete and to this day, remains unaltered. Discover the history and heritage of Highland villages. Newtonmore has the Highland Folk Museum and the Skye portrays life on the island during the 19th century. Explore your roots in the Highlands too, with family records held in the Highland Archive Centre in Inverness and the North Highland Archive in Wick.
If you are visiting The Highlands with your family and have youngsters to keep amused, do not worry! There is plenty to do in The Highlands including activities and events all year round that will keep the whole family engaged. Everything from the The Highland Wildlife Park to the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition. There really is something for everyone, no matter what the ages are or the interests. To find out more please visit our Things To Do section.