Not of all of us dream of sun, sea and sand when it comes to our holidays and if you prefer peace and quiet to noisy crowds then a sunshine break might not be the thing that you’re after. To feel refreshed and to discover somewhere new, you don’t always have to jet off abroad; here in the UK there are so many beautiful spots to discover that it could be high time to get out there and start exploring them. One of the top outdoor destinations has to be of course Scotland which boasts more than a third of the total landmass of the UK but just a small portion of the population with just over 5 million inhabitants. So if the great outdoors are for you but haven’t yet visited Scotland, then it is high time that you did! And where else should you be visiting for beautiful scenery and wild rugged landscapes than the Highlands of course.
Part of the charm of the Highlands is the fact that they are so untamed with cities tending to hug the coasts leaving the bens, braes and glens pretty much as they have looked for thousands of years. Don’t think that they are completely inaccessible though since this is simply not the case; around a one hour train ride north of Glasgow and you can find yourself on the edge of the Loch Lomond which is the largest loch in Scotland at 71km sq. This is also the start of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park which is the 4th largest in the UK.
From the edge of Glasgow itself you can start to hike along the West Highland Way which is over 150km and will take you from Milngavie in the north of the city to Fort William in the west of the highlands. Serious hikers can complete this route in 5 days, if not take an extra couple of days. There are plenty of camping sites and hotels along the route too. This is a really popular walking route with around 80,000 visitors per year, so if you want a bit more solitude, then try the 127km Great Glen Way which runs from Fort William to Inverness.
If you are a keen nature enthusiast then you can spot some during breath-taking wildlife in the Highlands from huge red deer, to the Scottish wildcat, birds of prey and even if you are super lucky, the elusive but majestic capercaillie. And if you are a whisky lover then the Highlands could be the perfect place to take in a whisky distillery or two. Scotland is of course renowned for making the best whisky in the world, so why not enjoy a dram or two of the finest single malt amidst its original settings.
The great thing about the Highlands is that you don’t necessarily need your own transport to be able to enjoy it; one of the most iconic train journeys of all time has to be on the West Highland Line which is also notably the one that is used by the Hogwarts Express! So get thee to the Highlands!