Exploring the UK

Highlands & Islands

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The image of the Highlands is Scotland, or so many people around the world believe and they are truly magnificent, pine forests, lochs, depicting a whole world in one. You will find outstanding natural beauty in the cairngorms national park, Ben Nevis dominating over the town of Fort William, and whilst it is natural to think of mountains in the Highland Region, there are miles of coastline where you can enjoy your own sandy beach and you can cross the shimmering turquoise waters and visit one of the many islands. Not all of the Highland Region is mountainous the area around Caithness and Sutherland is flat but is also a haven of wildlife where it is possible to see dolphins, whales, eagles, deer, otters in what is one of Europe’s last great wildlife places.

Inverness is the thriving city at the head of the Caledonian Canal leading in to Loch Ness and it is here in this delightful place which is crowned by a pink crenellated castle, and lavishly decorated with flowers, that you can relax, have a drink, do some shopping and plan your visit Ross and Cromarty and maybe watch a school of dolphins at play in the Moray Firth. Inverness is an ideal base to explore the Highland Region and it could be combined with seeing the spectacle of the Highland Games, the city is host to one of the world’s biggest. The Invernesshire area has much to offer the visitor and the delightful seaside resort of Nairn is claimed to be one of the driest and sunniest places in Scotland. There are pleasure boats, museums depicting the history of the town and telling of its importance as a major herring fishing port, there are two championship golf courses nearby and all of this with the renowned dry climate.

Within the Highland Region of Scotland lay the islands of Orkney and Shetland which will provide the visitor a true picture of a different style of life. Take the ferry from the mainland port of Scrabster where you will pass the impressive red stone sea-stack of the Old Man of Hoy, then on below the cliffs of St John's Head which is the highest vertical cliff in the UK. Orkney offers a rich variety of activities on land, loch and sea to suit all abilities and interests, from golfing to walking, and from sailing to cycling and there are excellent ferry services between all the islands. With almost 600 miles of coast and some great unspoilt areas, the islands are superb for wildlife watching and for rich and varied angling. Shetland is a great place for an active family holiday and the scenery is surprisingly varied, a mixture of Scotland and Norway! Well maintained roads make Shetland’s scenery easy to see and the side roads are a special delight in spring and early summer with verges full of wild flowers. Bird watchers can witness over one million birds and Shetland is a haven for all wildlife, with 19 hours of daylight in the midsummer, you can be active all day long, fishing, scuba diving, golf or cycling, something for everyone.