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The Northern Highlands and the Western Isles Travel Guide

  • Photo: johnbraid/ Shutterstock
  • Photo: stocker1970 / Shutterstock
  • Photo: Tomas Rebro / Shutterstock

Plan Your The Northern Highlands and the Western Isles Vacation

Wild and remote, the Northern Highlands and the Western Isles of Scotland have a timeless grandeur. Dramatic cliffs, long beaches, and craggy mountains jutting up from moorland heighten the romance and mystery. Well-preserved Eilean Donan Castle marks a kind of gateway to the Isle of Skye, famous for the dark and brooding Cuillin Mountains and forever associated with Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Jurassic-era sites (dinosaurs left their prints here), prehistoric ruins, crumbling castles, and abandoned crofts compress the whole span of history in the islands.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Skye, the misty island The landscape ranges from the lush, undulating hills and coastal tracks of Sleat in the Garden of Skye to the deep glens that cut into the saw-toothed peaks of the Cuillin Mountains. Farther north are stunning geological features like the Old Man of Storr and Kilt Rock.
  2. Seafood Sample fresh seafood like Bracadale crab, Dunvegan Bay langoustines, and Sconser king scallops, as well as the local smoked salmon, lobster, and oysters.
  3. Coastal walks There are no wilder places in Britain to enjoy an invigorating coastal walk than on the islands of Lewis, Harris, and the Uists. Expect vast swaths of golden sand set against blue bays, or—when the weather is rough—giant waves crashing against the rocks.
  4. Wildlife viewing Seals, deer, otters, as well as an abundance of birdlife can be seen throughout the Northern Highlands and Western Isles. Don't miss a boating foray to the Handa Island bird reserve, off Scourie.
  5. Single-track roads In the Northern Highlands, take a drive on single-track roads like Destitution Road, north of Gairloch, which lead through the most dramatic scenery in Britain. The area is a primeval landscape where strange craggy mountains, with Gaelic and Nordic names like An Teallach, Suilven, and Stac Pollaidh, jut out of vast, desolate moorlands dotted with lochans.

When To Go

When to Go

The Northern Highlands and islands are best seen from May to September. The earlier in the spring or later in the autumn you go, the greater the chan...

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The Northern Highlands and the Western Isles Itineraries

Travel Tips

The Northern Highlands and the Western Isles Travel Tips

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