I’ve been obsessed with the Scottish Highlands ever since I was a little girl. I read books and watched documentaries about them whenever I could. So when we had the chance to actually go and see them, I was stoked! I imagined myself walking through fields of heather, climbing over hills and dipping my toes in lochs, bagpipe music floating over the air as I became one with Scotland.
Granted very little of that happened, but I was still amazed by the astounding beauty that I found in this rugged, wild place. We drove through a decent portion of the Highlands, stopping every once in a while to take photos and stretch our legs. Since our final destination was Isle of Skye, we didn’t have too much time on the mainland to explore, which was a bummer. But I didn’t mind since Skye was absolutely wonderful.
I must note that I’ve spent hours over the last couple of days trying to virtually retrace my steps and give you names for all of the places I’ve photographed. Unfortunately I’m not able to figure out some of the shots – we stopped and took photos of too many places! So the photos that I can’t name I hope you’ll just join me in enjoying them for what they are: gorgeous shots of the Scottish Highlands.
These photos are some of the highlights of our three-day Isle of Skye tour.
Big Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK.
Ben Nevis is the UK’s highest mountain at 4,406 feet. It’s estimated that over 150,000 people climb it every single year! We stopped at the Commando Memorial for some pretty incredible views and were lucky that the summit wasn’t covered with clouds.
Fort William, an important town in the Highlands.
Fort William is the second largest town in the Highlands, following the city of Inverness. The fort of Fort William was built in 1690 by Oliver Cromwell to pacify the local clansmen; it had walls 20-feet high, a deep ditch and a bomb proof magazine. You can still see a part of the wall today.
It’s a great little town, popular with travellers on their way to the Highlands for hiking, climbing, biking and other activities. It has a cute high street full of places to stop and get some food or a drink. With many lodging choices, it also makes a great base for exploring the Highlands in depth.
Loch Ness and her monster, Nessie.
We stopped for lunch in Fort Augustus, a tiny town on the banks of Loch Ness. I can’t remember what I ate for lunch, since I was too excited to see the loch in person.
Loch Ness is actually Scotland’s second largest loch by surface area coming in at 22 square miles. At 23 miles long with an estimated depth of 755 feet it’s the largest loch by volume. Visibility is quite low in the loch due to high peat content in the surrounding soil. Low visibility, incredible depths… I don’t know about you, but I think Nessie could still be hiding from us somewhere in there.
But in reality Loch Ness didn’t quite live up to my expectations. For starters, we didn’t get a chance to see Urquhart Castle, which always seems to be featured in photos of the loch. There wasn’t much shore to stand on and explore; there was a little jetty out into the loch and a small area where you could get close to the loch. And I didn’t see any evidence of Nessie.
There are so many other lochs in the Highlands that are just as pretty!
Although Loch Ness is the most famous loch in Scotland, there are so many other lochs that you can and should stop at!
Bonny Loch Lomond is Scotland’s largest loch by surface area. This freshwater loch is found on the Highland Boundary Line and is a perfect first stop when you’re heading into the Highlands. We stopped in the little town of Luss for a stretch and some pictures.
The last loch I want to draw attention to by name is Loch Lochy, just because I love that it translates to Lake Lakey, We spent time at this loch skipping stones which was a fine way to spend part of our afternoon.
And here are some other lochs that we stopped at on our drive through the Highlands. As I’ve mentioned before, I named as many as I could, and the others that I couldn’t quite place I’m just going to include because they’re pretty!
Stay tuned for more Highlands gorgeousness.
I’ve purposely left Glencoe out of this post. Why? Because we only had one opportunity to get out of our coach in Glencoe, and this place is far too gorgeous to only show you photos taken while driving (window glare is such a terror). So be on the lookout for one last post on the Highlands, coming at you in the next few weeks!
Do you have any fun plans this week? We’re actually leaving for Paris tomorrow, and I cannot wait! The Eiffel Tower, the Canal St. Martin, all the pastries… YUM.