Best Things to See in the Scottish Highland

 

The Scottish Highland is a region in Scotland unparalleled in natural beauty. It covers eight counties and a cluster of islands over a 10,000-square-miles of undulating terrain, north-west of the country. This area of Scotland, steep in Gaelic heritage, boasts of wild mountains, rugged cliffs, verdant glens (valleys), beautiful lochs (lakes), and historic castles. This is the place where Scottish folklores were made, where lairdship and clan-feuding once prevailed, where folks wore tartan and Highland hospitality hitherto is in full display sometimes to a fault. This is the part of Scotland that you need to see. I’ve rounded up the best things to see in the Scottish Highland.

 

Fairy Glen (Isle of Sky)


Tisha Colibao

Fairy Glen is a stretch of surreal landscape on the Isle of Skye. The area, about a 15-minute drive from the small village of Portree, is shrouded in fairy folklore and it’s easy to see why ─ its beauty is otherworldly: wildflowers ornament its glens, thicket and brambles flank its rivers, sheep chomping on grass dot its grassy knolls, there is an air of mystique wafting in the air, its meadows a lush greenIt’s like being transported into a mythical Fairyland. Enjoy a day exploring its nook and cranny and don’t forget to climb the ruins of Castle Ewen.



The land where Castle Ewen sits is privately owned by a local farmer. Be respectful and courteous when visiting and do not remove stones from the glen.

 

Neist point lighthouse (Isle of Sky)


 

The Neist Point Lighthouse is one of the most famous light houses in Scotland. It is located on the western point of the Isle of Sky. Sans tempestuous weather, it offers panoramic view of rugged cliffs, sea birds and at times, passing sharks, whales, and dolphins. There is also an ancient settlement ruins nearby that’s worth exploring. Be warned that it is a steep descent from the car park to the lighthouse and quite a hike back up.


Three Sisters of Glencoe (Glencoe)



The area of Glencoe features some of the most dramatic scenery in the Scottish Highland. Think rugged mountains, cascading waterfalls, and meandering streams. The snow-clad peaks of the 3 Sisters of Glencoe (part of a mountain complex) are some of its most stunning. There are beautiful hiking and walking trails around the Three Sisters. Locals and tourists come here to hike and enjoy the glorious mountain scenery. Glencoe is also the site of the infamous Glencoe massacre. A grim history that haunts this region even up to this day.

 

Loch Ness Lake (Inverness)



Loch Ness is a freshwater lake said to be the home of a pre-historic marine reptile named ‘Nessie’. The Loch Ness monster myth is one of Scotland’s most intriguing, and the main reason people are drawn to Inverness. It is only a mile wide, but it is a very deep lake. The oldest reported sighting of the Ness monster is said to be that of the Irish missionary St Columba’s back in 565AD. Today, dozens of theories trying to explain the Lock Ness monster myth have surfaced: from gigantic eel, to frolicking circus elephants to floating branches. But besides the monster myth, Lock Ness is actually a pretty and peaceful lake. While there you can take a boat tour on the lake and who knows, you might just spot the infamous creature.

 

Hairy Highland Coo (Scottish Highlands)



They are strong, hardy, fluffy and adorable. Sounds like your spirit animal? Native to the Scottish Highland, the hairy Highland cows are a hardy breed of cattle. Their fluffy, wooly coat which can range from brown, black to red, grows long to protect them from the unforgiving elements of the Highlands. They are breed for their meat as it is lower in cholesterol than regular cattle. These docile, gentle creatures are quite human-friendly. You can find them peppered all over pastures in the Highlands.

 

Eilean Donan Castle (Isle of Skye)


This beautiful castle, built in the 13th century, is one of the most famous and widely photographed castles in Scotland. It has been featured in many movies. The castle is tucked on an islet on Loch Duich and originally belonged to the Clan Mackenzie (Outlander junkies – you know who I’m talking about). The castle was destroyed during the 3rd Jacobite rebellion and had gone under massive rebuilding by the Macrae family, who owns it today.

 

It is amazing to watch the changing scenery surrounding the castle with the ebb and flow of the waters of the three lochs that meet around it. For £10.00, you can go inside and explore it. Most parts of the castle are accessible and open to visitors.

 

Dalwhinnie Distillery (Cairngorm National Park)



Scots love their whisky.  A drink that’s been enjoyed here as far back as the 11th century. In fact, it is Scotland’s national drink. And the Highland single malt whisky is the pride of the Highlands. Get to see the makings of a true Scotch whisky at the Dalwhinnie Distillery. Set on the hills in the midst of the Cairngorm National Park, the high altitude of the area and presence of natural spring water creates the perfect environs for distilling the famous Highland single malt whisky. For a few extra pounds, you can sample different types of whisky. They also teach you the proper way of drinking it, so you get the most out of the flavor. This is a nice, little whisky experience and where better place to enjoy it than in the Scottish Highlands. 

 

Portree



This beautiful coastal village is the capital and largest town on Skye. There are several hotels and bed-and-breakfasts in this village, and many travelers stay here to see the rest of the isle. There’s limited number of restaurants in Portree, so be sure to make reservations first before heading out. This is especially true during peak season.

 

Featured Blogger:


MJ is the vivacious half of the dynamic sister duo behind thirtysomethingtourist travel blog. She is a travel nurse by day and a blogger at night. When she is not burping cuddly babies, she is busy exploring the current city she lives in. Born and bred in the Philippines, she now resides in California with her dog.