THE HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS OF SCOTLAND
The Highlands and Islands are famous for the stunning scenery – mountains and glens, rivers and lochs, forests and sandy beaches.
The North and West Highlands
Inverness is the main town, the starting point for visits. But before you leave the capital of the Highlands, visit the Simply the Best visitor centre and stock up on woollens and tweeds of a high quality. A short distance north of Inveress is the village of Beauly; visit Beauly Priory, a romantic ruin. To the east, on hte Moray Firth, is Fort George, an imposing fortification, built in the mid-18th century.
Loch Ness – does Nessie exist? Lots of people say yes!. Linger at Historic Scotland's Urquhart Castle on the shores of the Loch and you may spot her. Even if you don't see Nessie, you'll enjoy the Castle and the story of its turbulent history of warfare and siege. There is a good restaurant on-site.
The North Coast 500 route: If you are planning to follow this route, you should book your pitch in advance. There are few caravan parks and very few places for wild camping.
On the west coast of the Highalnds, south of Ullapool, is Gairloch, an attractive 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, docking at Stornoway.
The Outer Hebrides : Lewis and Harris (one island, but two very different landscapes); 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 (ferry port for Skye) there is a must-do stop - the Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous by the Harry Potter films. 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, Gateway to the Isles - from here CalMac sails to lots of islands; Stop off at Dunstaffnage Castle en route. On the road from Oban to Inveraray is the Bonawe Furnace - a historic site unlike any other.
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