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The Highlands

Map of the Highland Regions

The Highlands of Scotland has something for everyone. For people who like to travel, there's a different view around every corner. Each area of the region has its own character and appeal, attractions and activities.

The Highlands is a land shaped by successive peoples as much as the geological turbulence that created its stunning landscape. They cleared much of it for fuel, to protect themselves from bear and wolf, to grow food and to build communities.

These people have passed a unique and colourful heritage to the Highlanders of today. Ancient structures give a glimpse into the past. Place names echo the impact of invaders. The native language and culture lives on to enrich Highland life.

King Brude ruled the Picts, the earliest people, from a fortress on Craig Phadrig, overlooking Inverness. Chambered cairns, stone circles and the remains of duns and crannogs pepper the Highlands, marking burials, the activities of the mysterious Druids and community defences. There are many historic places to see in the Highlands

The Scots arrived from Ireland in the sixth century. They established Dalriada (The Kingdom of the Scots) in Argyll and moved north to introduce the Gaelic language, which gives much of today's Highlands a special flavour and plays a vital role in the region's culture.

The Vikings, fierce invaders of the ninth century, became farmers and fishers and left an indelible mark. Place names including -ster, deriving from the Norse word bolstathr meaning homestead, portray their heritage in Caithness where Scandinavian links are celebrated in the annual Northlands Festival.

As the clan system developed, feuds led to often bloody strife and the building of great castles from which the Clan Chiefs controlled their lands. The Battle of Culloden, however, signalled the end of the clan system. It was followed by the infamous Highland Clearances, particularly in Sutherland. Sheep became more valuable than people, who were forcibly moved from the land.

Highlanders value their land, heritage and culture, and are keen to share them with visitors. You will discover fascinating museums and interpretative centres presenting Highland history and enjoy traditional ceilichs which relate romance and bygone events in story, song and music.

You will enjoy an unrivalled bounty from land and sea - venison and grouse from the high moors, salmon and trout from the rushing rivers and succulent shellfish which, in many places, reach your dinner table soon after being landed in front of your hotel or guest house. The agriculture of the area also produces high quality ingredients for a range of vegetarian dishes.

Enjoy walking the glens, mountains, lochs, coasts and islands which are home to a range of wildlife probably unmatched in Europe. Seals bask on rocky outcrops, stags roam the hills under the all seeing eyes of golden eagles, ospreys take fish in front of envious anglers and skua, gannet, fulmar and puffin wheel around cliffs accessible in some instances by foot or boat. When you visit the Isle of Skye and the land of Lochalsh you will find historic castles and standing stones, craft shops and old croft museums.

The Highlands of Scotland is renowned as one of the last great unspoiled areas of Europe. It offers a holiday adventure you will want to repeat.

Take a closer look at the Highlands - you will enjoy the adventure.

Highlands of Scotland

Highlands of Scotland

Highlands of Scotland

Highlands of Scotland

Highlands of Scotland

Highlands of Scotland

Highlands of Scotland

Highlands of Scotland

Kyleakin on Isle of Skye

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