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About the Highlands
The Highlands of Scotland are romantic, rugged and inviting. At one time the highlanders were vastly different to the lowlanders of Scotland. The Highlands were notoriously difficult to police so, in effect, they remained seperate from Scotland until very recently. Inverness is called the "Capital of the Highlands" and remains the only city. Loch Ness is the number one destination for many in search of Nessie the famous Loch Ness Monster whereas those interested in rock climbing and mountaineering head for Fort William and the mighty Ben Nevis.
Few places are considered more romantic than the Isle of Skye and the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie but mountaineers will have their breath taken away by the jagged edges and imposing sight of the Cuillins of Skye. Imortalised in song many seek to cross over to Skye via boat but access is by the astounding new bridge.
Although the Highlands are renowned for the excellent hill walking and mountain climbing opportunities there is muc, much more to see and do. Salmon fishing is excellent due to the unspoilt unpolluted crystal clear waters and fly fishing for trout is enhanced by the surrounding countryside. There are many golf courses with unique challenges for the golfer, not least the variable weather! There are countless castles and fortified houses in various states of repair with most accessible to the public. There are world famous whisky distilleries offering visitor tours and are thoroughly enjoyable, especially the tasting.
The highland flora and fauna is unique and highly accessible. Driving through the highlands in the very early hours of the morning it is highly likely that you will witness many roadside appearances of deer and, if you are very lucky you will see a mighty red deer stag - "The Monarch of the Glen". One of my most exciting experiences was in the middle of winter in the highlands when my car became surrounded by deer walking calmly in the snow. Having little option other than to sit and wait I decided to get out of the vehicle and, surprisingly, the deer just moved away gently rather than bolt off into the distance - a very surreal experience.
Other wildlife abounds. The natural, unspoilt environment of the Highlands support a wide variety of habitats for many species of plants and animals. This is further enhanced by the extremely low density of the human population. Twitchers (bird watchers) will delight at the many appearances of Golden Eagles and buzzards which happily sit at the roadside and allow you to get surprisingly close before retreat - perfect for the budding photographer. The Highlands is the last real stronghold of the native red squirrel but they are often difficult to spot. If you are extremely lucky you will spot pine marten or a wildcat but you will more likely find otters who can be spotted inland around lochs or playing about in the sea. There is much to do around the coast which has plenty of sea birds, seals, dolphins and whales and sea tours are easily found.
Things to see and do around the Highlands
The Ben Nevis Distillery was founded in 1825 and is one of the oldest licensed distilleries in Scotland. The Ben Nevis Distillery is only two miles north of Fort William and visitors are well cattered for with regular tours, an audio-visual presentation and the obligitory tasting. The disitillery is open to the public from Easter to October.
Tel: 01397 700200
Cawdor Castle is famed for its romantic fairytale medieval tower and drawbridge and is considered to be the most romantic in the Highlands. It has been the home of the Thanes of Cawdor since the 14th Century and over the generations the family has accumulated an interesting collection of Flemish tapestries, paintings, weapons, furniture, books and other items which can be viewed between May and October. Visitors are allowed access to areas such as the sitting-room, kitchens and the dungeon. The gardens include a number of planned nature trails, a mini golf course and putting green, restaurant and shop.
Tel: 01667 404401
Fax: 01667 404674
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