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Moving north and west from Inverness toward land's end at John o'Groats, this rugged land includes the old counties of Ross and Cromarty (sometimes called Easter and Wester Ross), Sutherland, and Caithness and together they constitute the most northern portion of mainland Scotland. To the west, to get to Skye, you can travel from Kyle of Lochalsh across the Skye Bridge or take a short summer ferry ride from Mallaig to Armadale. From Skye you can hop from island to island, taking in the Isles of Lewis, Harris, and the Uists.
The Northern Landscapes. North of Inverness, northwest Scotland is known for its dramatic coastlines and desolate landscapes. It's no wonder that this part of the country has been designated as Scotland's first UNESCO Geopark. You'll want to explore Storr Lighthouse, the beaches north of Lochinver, and islandlike hills such as Suilven.
Torridon. An hour's drive west of Inverness, Torridon has cool glens, mysterious lochs, impressive mountains, and tantalizing glimpses across to the Isle of Skye. Single-track roads lead to lighthouses on promontories battered by the sea. Glen Torridon is worth a visit.
Isle of Skye. Scotland's most famous island is home to the Cuillin Mountains, the quiet gardens of Sleat, and the dramatic peninsulas of Waternish and Trotternish. You can take a day trip to Skye, but it's worth spending a few days exploring its shores. Skye is often called Scotland in miniature, as the terrain varies from lush valleys in the south to craggy mountains in the north.
The Outer Hebrides. Extending about 130 mi from north to south, this archipelago is reached by ferry from the mainland and from the Isle of Skye. Lewis has wonderful historic attractions, such as the Calanais Standing Stones, and sandy beaches. The Uists are dotted with old cairns and ruined forts and chapels. Barra is so small you can walk from one end to the other without breaking a sweat.
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