THE 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, palm trees and beautiful gardens, thanks to the warm Gulf Stream, which sweeps up the coast.
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 woollens and tweeds of a high quality. A short distance to the north is the village of Beauly; visit Beauly Priory, a romantic ruin. To the south, at Kingussie is the Outdoor Highland Folk Museum.
Loch Ness – does Nessie exist? Lots of people say yes. Vsit Historic Scotland's Urquhart Castle on the shores of the Loch. 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 Lewis and the town of Stornoway.
The Outer Hebrides Travel to the islands the best way - by ferry from Ullapool. The main island has two parts: Lewis and Harris and 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 - the Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous by the Harry Poetter films, but parking is limited, so take care. Before you leave Fort William drop in at the Ben Nevis Highland Centre to check out their Malt of the Mont). South of Fort William is Oban, Gateway to the Isles; Stop off at Dunstaffnage Castle en route. If you are travelling south, stop off at Histroic Scotland's Bonawe Furnace before travelling on to Inveraray on the shores of Loch Fyne and Loch Lomond, said to be the most beautiful loch in Scotland.
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 wild 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