08/04/2014
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Top attractions of northern Scotland

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Think of Scotland and the first images that spring to mind are those of snow-covered mountains, glistening lochs and men in tartan.

These are all most commonly found in the Highlands and it's to here many of us dream of escaping when life overwhelms us. Despite their apparent remoteness, most of its hills can be easily reached by road, making them a wonderful place to spend a holiday.

Glencoe

One of Scotland’s most magical places, hence its popularity with holiday-makers. Its picturesque mountains, sparkling lochs and awe-inspiring history really can’t be bettered and Glencoe has appeared in many films. It was Hagrid’s home in the Harry Potter series. The glen is on an immense scale. It measures nearly 17 miles in length from its entrance at Buachaille Etive Mòr through an impressive series of peaks before finishing in the west at the Pap of Glencoe. If you fancy a short walk, pull over at the An Torr car park and head through the woods up to Signal Rock. The nearest campsite is opposite the visitor centre. Glencoe C&CC Campsite, Ballachulish, Argyll & Bute PH49 4LA

Isle of Skye

Skye measures 50 miles in length. Its chequered history is reflected in the poems and songs it has inspired, notably those about Flora MacDonald who rescued Bonnie Prince Charlie during the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. The island’s popular with walkers, with the Cuillin Range and plenty of low-level pathways. Portree, the largest settlement, has a picturesque harbour, a wide range of shops, cafés and galleries, and a bridge to the mainland. Stay at Kinloch Campsite, Kinloch, Dunvegan IV55 8WQ.

Loch Shiel

With many famous Munros within easy reach, the area around Glenfinnan is a walker’s paradise. Loch Shiel changes in character along its length - deep, dark and brooding beneath Beinn Odhar Bheag, but shallow, lush and marshy where the river drains to the sea in Loch Moidart. Charmingly situated in the community centre in Archaracle, The Blue Parrot is a lovely café with home-baked treats and a viewing window across the loch.

The stunning scenery of GlencoeLoch Shiel

















Banff and Moray Firth

The fishing villages along the banks of the Moray Firth; Pennan, Portsoy, Banff and Macduff, have a special atmosphere, and Banff has a glorious sandy beach as well. This is a place of great natural beauty, and many artists have been drawn to the area by the clear quality of the natural light. As an added bonus, the Malt Whisky Trail (maltwhiskytrail.com) takes in eight distilleries here.

Fort George

On a promontary jutting out into the Moray Firth, Fort George was once the most imposing fortress in Britain. It was built after the Battle of Culloden. Now it has an excellent military museum and it’s simply one of the best places on land from which to see dolphins – though it’s also very much a working military barracks. Stay at Nairn, or at Rosemarkie C&CC Campsite on the opposite side of the Beauly Firth.

Stirling Castle

It was once said that whoever controlled Stirlingshire controlled Scotland. Indeed, several important battles took place here and every holiday-maker should visit Stirling Castle. It sits atop Castle Hill, an intrusive crag, and is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, giving it a strong defensive position. Stirling is a vibrant mix of the old and the new, but the most important attractions relate to the Scottish Wars of Independence. The monument to Scotland’s national hero William Wallace, which stands on the summit of Abbey Craig, is always popular. Animal-lovers should also visit Blairdrummond Safari Park. Stay at The Woods Caravan Club Campsite, Diverswell Farm, Fishcross, Alloa, Clackmannanshire FK10 3AN.

Ardnamurchan

This peninsula is one of Scotland’s hidden delights and Ardnamurchan Point is home to the UK mainland’s most westerly lighthouse. The peninsula can only be reached by a ferry or single track road and has remained unspoilt. The walking is wonderful but if you want to learn more about the region, visit the award-winning Nadurra Visitor Centre. Stay at Resipole Farm Holiday Park, Loch Sunart, Acharacle, Argyll & Bute PH36 4HX.

Sanna Bay, Ardnamurchan
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