HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS OF SCOTLAND
The Highlands and Islands have stunning scenery – mountains, glens, rivers, lochs and sandy beaches.
On the west coast there are sandy beaches and palm trees and beautiful gardens, thanks to the warm Gulf Stream.
The North and West Highlands
Inverness is the main town, the starting point for trips to the north, east, west and south. But before you leave, visit the Simply the Best visitor centre and stock up on woollen snad tweeds of a high quality and find out how the kilt is made. A short distance to the north is Beauly village - visit Beauly Priory, a romanti ruin. To the south, at Kingussie is the Outdoor Highland Folk Museum.
Loch Ness – does Nessie exist? Lots say yes, so visit Historic Scotland's Urquhart Castle and make your way down to the shores of the Loch. Even if you don't see Nessie, you'll enjoy the castle and the story of its turbulent history of warfare and siege. Nearby is Drumnadrochit, with a couple of good places for a meal. .
On the west coast of the Highalnds, south of Ullapool, is Gairloch, a fishing village; with boat trips round the bay to spot dolphins and seals and perhaps whales. Ullapool on the shores of Loch Broom is where the CalMac ferries sail to the Outer Hebrides, including Lewis and the town of Stornoway.
The Outer Hebrides You get to the the islands the best way - by from Ullapool. The main island has two parts: Lewis and Harris. The contrast between the two is interesting – on Lewis the scenery is wild and rugged, whilst Harris is greener, with golden beaches and azure seas. Visit Historic Scotland's Black House to find out about the crofting life of the past. Dating from even further back are the Calanais Standing Stones,, Scotland's answer to Stonehenge, but without the crowds!
The Southern Highlands
On the Road to the Isles, from Fort William to Mallaig there is a must-do stop; it is the Glenfinnan Viaduct, but take care where you park. Before you leave Fort William drop in at the Ben Nevis Highland Centre to check out their Malt of the Month). South of Fort William is Oban - plenty to explore around here e.g. Dunstaffnage Castle so making the Oban area your centre is a good idea. On the shores of Loch Fyne is Inveraray,, a laid-out village where everything is within walking distance, including the Simply the Best visitor centre, in what used to be the blacksmith's forge and workshop.
On the way from Inverness to Fort William, along Loch Ness, at Spean Bridge, is the imposing monument to the Commandos, who trained in this area before going to fight in World War II, three figures looking ot over the rugged moorland.
For ideas on what to see and where to go, talk with staff at the caravan parks, because the locals know best!. To find out where you can stay, go to Self-Catering or Touring Thistle Holiday Parks in the Highlands and Islands