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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 capital of the Highlands. To the east, on the Moray Firth is Fort George, a huge fort built by the British Government in the years after Culloden. .From its ramparts you may spot dolphins in the Moray Firth, one of the top places in Scotland to see them; like many of Historic Scotland's properties, it is open all year.. North of Inverness is the village of Beauly, where you should visit Beauly Priory, a rather romantic-looking ruin. To the south, is the Glenmore Visitor Centre, near Aviemore; here there is a great cafe and just across the road is Loch Morlich.
Loch Ness – Is this the home of Nessie? Visit Historic Scotland's Urquhart Castle and make your way down to the shores of the Loch. Even if you can't say hello to Nessie, you'll still enjoy the castle and the story of its rather turbulent history, during which soldiers have been stationed here and it has been under siege. Have a meal in the resturant or visit the village of Drumnadrochit. .
On the west coast, south of Ullapool, is Gairloch, a fhsing village; from here you can take a a wildlife-spotting boat trip round the bay and spot dolphins and seals and perhaps whales. Ullapool on the shores of Loch Broom is where the CalMac ferries sail to the Outer Hebrides - you can get to Lewis from here.
The Outer Hebrides The main island has of two parts: Lewis and Harris. The contrast between the two is marked – on Lewis the scenery is wild and rugged. Harris is greener, with golden beaches and azure seas. Visit the Black House to find out about the crofting life of the past. Dating from even further back are the Calanais Standing Stones, no one can say for certain why our ancestors put them there.
The Southern Highlands
On the Road to the Isles, from Fort William to Mallaig, (drop in at the Ben Nevis Highland Centre for a snack) is the Glenfinnan Monument to Bonnie Prince Charlie and, close by,the Glenfinnan Viaduct, make famous by the Harry Potter films. South of Fort William is Oban - plenty to explore around here; Dunstaffnage Castle to the north and making the Oban area your centre is a good idea. On te shores of Loch Fyne is Inveraray,, a beautifully laid-out village because it was planned, way back before any of our new towns. On the way to Loch Lomond from Inveraray is Bonawe Iron Furnace, one of only a handful of places featuring Scotland's industrial heritage.
For ideas on what to see and where to go, talk with staff at the caravan parks (the locals know best!).
View the Thistle Holiday Parks in the Highlands and Islands