There are a few parts of Europe where you can feel as far from the rest of the world as you can in the Scottish Highlands.
This vast but lightly populated region is the kind of place where you can live out your dreams while discovering glorious views, So where should you go to in this part of the world?
Loch Ness and Inverness
Is there really a giant but timid beast lurking in the deep, cold waters of Loch Ness? The truth of the matter is that all of the scientific evidence on this matter points to it being nothing more than a fascinating myth. However, you are unlikely to feel to let down if you travel to Loch Ness hoping to catch a glimpse of this creature. The beautiful setting, with the dignified ruins of Urquhart Castle on the banks, makes this a wonderful place to spend some time soaking up the atmosphere.
The nearby city of Inverness is the capital of this region and an enjoyable place to spend some time. It lacks some of the thrills and excitement of the bigger lowland Scottish cities but it is the sort of place where it is easy to pass a couple of days listening to the lilting local accent and feeling very remote. Inverness has a lovely castle, some specialty shops, and a few quality restaurants with typical Scottish food.
Ben Nevis and Fort William
So what else does the best of the Scottish Highlands got to offer? It is Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK. It looms over the town of Fort William at a height of 1,344 meters (4,409 feet). Interestingly, it is possible to walk all the way up to the summit without doing any climbing at all. Having said that, the big danger here lies in under-estimating the mountain. The weather can turn bad very quickly and a number of people run into serious problems here every year. If you plan to get to the top safely then expect to take at least 4 hours to get up and a little bit less to get back down.
The town of Fort William is a quaint little place and a nice base from which to tackle Ben Nevis. It is the second biggest settlement in the Highlands but the population only runs to around 10,000, giving some idea of how sparsely populated the region is. A good idea here is to look out for a shinty game being played. This town is one of the strongholds of the rough and tumbles sport, meaning that going to see it being played is an excellent way of seeing some of the local cultures.
Away from these two settlements, you will find a lot of open spaces, cool islands, mountains, sheep and tiny villages in the Scottish Highlands. If you have enough time then the best bet is to hire a car and explore it on your terms, as the public transport round here isn’t all that extensive. if you’re thinking of visiting somewhere remote seeped in traditional culture amidst natural surroundings, think of Scotland.