The Landscape

Superlatives are, quite simply, inadequate when describing the scenery which defines the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

view down the Great Glen at sunset

waterfall "Majesty", "beauty" and "grandeur" are all appropriate but those descriptions alone fail to convey, for instance, the atmosphere and sense of deja vu one feels when driving through Glencoe.

In the long shadow of the mountain Buachaille Etive Mor ("the Great Shepherd of Etive") one can almost taste the tragedy of that hauntingly beautiful place. Here treachery was enacted, not that long ago, forever leaving an indelible stain on the wonderful tradition of Highland Hospitality.

Mountains overlooking Glencoe

Torridon Mountains Experience the sense of wonder at climbing the Bealach Nam Bo ("the Pass of the Cattle"). This, the longest stretch of one in three gradient in the British Isles, rises one thousand feet in a mere mile and a half from the shores of Loch Kishorn over the Tornapress Hill to lovely Applecross. With the chance of driving through low cloud on the way emerge, hopefully, into bright sunlight to view the breathtaking panorama of that part of the western seaboard, the Cuillin Hills of Skye, The Torridon Mountains and, on a clear day, the Hebrides beyond.

Lord Byron portrait Understand why George Gordon (Lord Byron) was moved to write his epic song Dark Lochnagar, "England, thy beauties are tame and domestic to one who has ranged o’er those mountains afar". [There is a lochan ("small loch") of the same name but the song refers to the mountain.]

Here in his native Aberdeenshire he, and Queen Victoria in her travels, marvelled at the brooding mountain, she deciding to make her Highland home at Balmoral in what became known as Royal Deeside.