The Scottish Highlands, part 1

I would have to say that if I was forced to pick my favorite part of the trip, it would be the Highlands of Scotland. When I went to Ireland several years back I left thinking that I would never see anything as pretty as the beautiful green rolling hills we encountered there…and then I went to Scotland. The natural beauty of the Glencoe Valley is absolutely breathtaking and will leave you speechless. It’s the type of landscape scene that you think of when you hear “And God created the heavens and the earth”. Beautiful mountains and valleys full of sheep and cattle, ancient rock ruins, and rich, haunted history.

 

Blair Athol Whisky Distillery- Blair Athol, Scotland (If you ever find yourself in this part of  Scotland, I would highly recommend taking the tour of this amazing distillery!)

A glimpse of everyday life for farmers in the highlands- Aviemore, Scotland

Culloden Moor

The battlefield at Culloden Moor where Bonnie Prince Charlie was defeated by the redcoats.

Inverness, Scotland

The still waters of Loch Ness…

One of Macbeth’s many castles nestled in the banks of Loch Ness

Loch Lomond

Ben Nevis- Britain’s highest mountain

Ben Nevis

Glencoe

Glencoe

Many more to come!

XO Laura Lee

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354 thoughts on “The Scottish Highlands, part 1

  1. Gotta get there! Beautiful!!!

    “Stay on the road. Keep clear of the moors.Beware the moon, lads.”
    (American Werewolf In London 1981)

    • Hhhmm. Loved that movie, though how the locals threw the innocent lads to the wolves was quite despicable. Better to sacrifice a couple of foreigners than fellow community members, eh? A bit sadistic, though understandably self-preserving. Not a one of those locals gave the boys shelter for the night, nor told them NOT to go out. Set them right out on the path to meet the beast.

      Well, in these times, it’s best to understand that the local wolves are really a huge number of pedophiles in hiding out among those moors. Do your research, folks. Oh, do read.

      That beautiful landscape hides more than you think. If you take your children on the trip, keep them very, very close at hand. Do not place them in the care of either locals nor strangers out there . . . in the misty moors. The history of Scotland is a chilly one, indeed.

      • Wow! No kidding! That is about one of the most disturbing news flashes I’ve ever heard! Seriously? I mean, I’m sure you wouldn’t post something like that if there wasn’t truth behind it. I’ll start with some local news papers up there. They do indeed have wolves then.
        Your pictures are beautiful! Thank you for sharing them.
        PS: The bar waitress wanted to save the lads, but the local dart players would have none of it! Great movie!

      • Sorry, Tony. It is true. Try looking up the Holly Grieg case. Try also looking up pedophile rings in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Very famous over in the UK, but not known in the MSM, particularly in the US. There are some very disturbing coverups over there that are coming to light, encompassing very high officials in the police force and government.

        I did feel a bit disturbed having to ease up on the bucolic, magical nature of the photos but, as we know, surface level covers up a lot. And I would not have written it unless I had a lot of information that it is, indeed, true. I do, however, very much appreciate your writing to ask if there is substance behind my statement – discernment is key and I certainly invite you to use your own when you begin to dig into what’s under the headlines.

        In any case, the photos are gorgeous.

      • I’m from Scotland. To suggest that there is a “huge number of pedophiles in hiding out among those moors” is one of the most stupid things i’ve ever heard!

        The Scottish Highlands is one of the most remote areas in Britain. There’s no-one there!!

        Besides, it’s a bit of a long shot for a paedophile to camp out in the hills waiting for children. The smart ones will be working in suburban ice cream vans etc.

      • Q – What has “An American Werewolf in London” got to do with the landscapes and history of Scotland?
        A – Nothing.

        I take it the post commenting on the paedophiles was written in jest? I hope it was.

        Surely no-one is seriously suggesting that the Scottish glens are over-run with child molesters hiding behind every gorse bush?

      • American Werewolf in London was set in the North Yorkshire Moors. Whitby, where Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, is very close and is probably the reason for AWIL being set there. What is a mystery is how the survivor ended up in a hospital in London. The Ambulance would have to have passed half-a-dozen major English hospitals and many smaller ones to get there and ignored quite a few more to the north. T’was daft.
        The paedophile stuff is also daft. Sadly, over 90% offenders are family/close friends with the victims and also offending alone; an inconvenient truth that is often hushed up by medics and police ‘for the family’s sake’.
        Teach your children from birth, “No secrets from mummy”. Hammer it in.
        Great pictures, will look in again.

      • Merely because a lot of people come to Scotland and miss out on many things it has to offer and concentrate on “the highlands” I am not knocking them in any way (neither the people nor the highlands) but Scotland is a great wee country. On travel sites for instance you will find questions from people who arrive by cruise ship near Edinburgh for the day and decide they must try and see the “Loch Ness Monster” Most replies tend to advise against that particular trip given the time involved, the pointlessness (you can’t see something that doesn’t exist) and the cost.
        Edinburgh is a great place and I always enjoy my visits there, it is less than an hour from my home town of Glasgow and work takes me through on a regular basis. If fact I shall be there tomorrow.
        Enjoy your studying and time in Scotland, and although I am not an expert I am more than happy to answer any questions on our little part of the planet if I can.

      • Well, thank you kindly! I’m terribly excited; i intend to live in Edinburgh from January to August, so hopefully i’ll get a real feel for the city :) I shall keep in touch!

  2. Wow! Simply beautiful!
    I have always had a desire to visit that part of the world! I hope I will be able to one day.
    But in the mean time thank you for sharing your own experience with us all!!

  3. Whilst I was living in the UK I never thought much about travelling there. There was always plans to do some kind of hiking but never got around to doing it. I’ve spoken to friends who have since gone off to explore the UK and I’m overly jealous I didn’t do it myself whilst I had the chance. Great pictures. Let this be a lesson, you dont have to go miles and miles away from home to travel and see beautiful sights. Will have to get around to doing it sometime.

  4. Looks wonderful, I have always been meaning to go there, maybe that will be my next trip, thanks for the inspiration :)

  5. As a Scot with a blog about living in a castle in the Highlands (yes, really), it’s interesting to see your take on our beautiful country. I’m so glad you enjoyed it – and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  6. great photos. I was there last summer and it was one of the best trips i had ever been on. I toured most of Scotland from Edinburgh to Inverness to Oban then Glasgow and then flew out of Manchester. Thanks for sharing the photos, it reminds me of the good times i had.

  7. I have to agree that Scotland is the most breathtaking place I’ve ever visited. As beautiful as Ireland is, there is something majestic and fierce about the Scottish highlands. Beautiful pictures!

  8. Ah Scotland. I’ve been there twice and planning another trip for next year. In 2000 I spent about 5 weeks backpacking and in 2010 I bought a motorbike and spent a couple of weeks riding the roads through that amazing scenery. After my first trip I have found myself feeling homesick for the place. My fav was Tobermory, but it’s all good. The Orkneys and Shetlands are fantastic as are the outer Hebrides. I believe I have McDonalds and Wallaces in the family tree, so maybe it’s about the bones going home.

  9. Ah, Glen Coe. Magnificent and sad all at once. Been through there several times and it always feels haunted and compelling.

  10. My wife and I visited the UK and Ireland two years ago, and felt the Scottish Highlands–and Glencoe–were the most beautiful spots we visited. There are no words to describe the sight we encountered when we drove around a bend in the road and Glencoe came into sight at the end of a bay. There was a break in the clouds and the mountain tops were awash in morning light. It had rained the night before and we could see rivulets of water sparkling in the sunlight running down the mountainsides. Spectacular doesn’t begin to describe the view. And there was no place to pull over and take a picture! The people we met there just made our experience even more memorable. Thanks for the reminder!

  11. My family (American) lived in Scotland when I was in college in Texas so I spent summers and Xmas there, and have been back once or twice. I wish I could go back all the time. I’ve been the Ireland, and sorry, my dear Irish cousins (my grandmothers family was straight from Ireland) I wasn’t all that impressed. Irelance is pretty, but you’re right: Scotland is truly magical, and yet people don’t know it as well. Gorgeous photography! Makes me “homesick” for my second home. Scotland, I love you!

  12. Amazing photos! I just signed up for the Loch Ness Marathon in September. These photos are making me even more excited about it (the trip, not really about the marathon part :-) )

  13. I remember, when I was a little boy on holiday in the Highlands, I found a fragment of a bone in Glencoe and convinced myself that it was a relic of a murdered Macdonald. Your images bring back lots of memories. Thank you.

  14. Thanks for the post! Love those pics. Blessed to have been to that country three times. Those “Highlands” are packed with spiritual forces at battle, for sure.
    Thanks and God bless you!

  15. I am 13 and have never been to another continent, but I know my first time in Europe will definetly be in Scotland and Ireland! I loved your photos and the way they captured the essence of Scotland as well! The photo of the bridge I just adore! Thanks for inspiring me to pursue my dream of getting out to the Scotland highlands even more now!

  16. I honeymooned in the Highlands and stayed on the Isle of Skye. Your photos were beautiful and brought back a lot of memories. My impression was that when you are driving round a bend and then a gorgeous visita unfolds before, it is just amazing and it was so hard to go back to civilization.

  17. Truly beautiful pictures. I hadn’t really thought of Scotland as a possible future destination but you may have changed that. :-) What type of camera did you use, if I may ask?

  18. Wonderful pictures. Did you make your way onto the Islands? My father is from Isle of Skye and it doesn’t get much prettier than that. These pictures made me homesick! Congrats on being freshly pressed.
    Celeidh

  19. Beautiful pics! I’ve been to Edinburgh and Wales when I was in high school but would love to go back so I could explore more of the scenery in Scotland and appreciate it more. Plus I am a bagpiper so it holds a special place in my heart. :) Glad you had a good time.

  20. Brilliant pictures of the highland! I’ve been to Scotland once, but Only as far as Glasgow and Edinburgh, maybe next time I will venture out more.

  21. How nice and wonderful of you to share these lovely pictures of Scotland. Had no idea how mountainous it is. I am writing to people in the UK, Ireland and Scotland and know of their wish to become independend from Great Britain. Power to them!

  22. oh boy…now this is really increasing my desire to see more countries. Scotland, I’ll surely visit you one day, darling.
    Great post and photos and congratulations for being on freshly pressed!

  23. Gorgeous pictures! I lived in Scotland for a while and fell for the place the very same moment I set my eyes on the stunning landscapes and I met the lovely people that live there. You really captured that beauty very well. Oh, and congrats on being freshly pressed! :)

  24. Breathtaking. I have a friend in Scotland who kept telling of its beauty and how I should drop by but I never got down to it. I really should see all these for myself. Thanks for sharing such wonderful photos – maybe now I’ll get down to my trip.

  25. What a wonderful start to the day; a stunning visual reminder, not only of the beautiful place I was born and privileged to spend an idyllic childhood……but (sigh) that I don’t return to nearly often enough……In every one of your beautiful photographs I felt the highland spirits calling me home……..Thank you!!!

    Many Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  26. Gorgeous pictures! It is a place of dreams. I like your line how this is what you think of when you read “And God created the heavesn and earth.” Beautiful!

  27. Laura

    You have taken some fab photo’s! I would certainly like to visit the distilleries in Scotland and that castle on the bank of Loch Ness Looks like a great place to stay and just get away from the world for a while.

    Janet

  28. Adorable pics! Especially the distillery and Loch Lomond!
    and the description, It’s the type of landscape scene that you think of when you hear “And God created the heavens and the earth”. OUT OF THE WORLD!! Kudos!

  29. “When I went to Ireland several years back I left thinking that I would never see anything as pretty as the beautiful green rolling hills we encountered there” ~ I went to Ireland last year and left feeling the EXACT same way! So, when I planned my vacation for this year, I changed my plans from Scotland back to Ireland again…now I know what I’ll be missing out on in Scotland!!

    Sigh…there’s always next year, I guess. ;)

    Fantastic photos!

  30. Awesome!!! When I get rich, I’ll be sending people postcards from home, home being a castle somewhere in Scotland. I cannot think of a better location from which to write my scary stories. Thanks for sharing.

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  32. The Scottish Highlands are easily the most beautiful place I have ever been. My two best buds and I backpacked Scotland after our freshman year of college and it was so remarkably memorable. The trip from Stirling to Fort William, the Isle of Sky, and then back across through Inverness was absolutely serene and wonderful. Oh, how I miss the place!

  33. Beautiful! My ancestors came from there. Hopefully one day I can make a trip and see it in pearson. Thanks for the great pics.

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  35. I actually looked into traveling to Loch Ness and Inverness. I went to Scotland a few years ago for the first time and loved every second of it. I have been obsessed with the Highlands for awhile–thanks for sharing these pictures!

  36. Wow that is beautiful! We put that down as 1 of our 5 places that we absolutely had to visit in scotland on our blog. Seeing it so well put makes me anxious to be there already! I bet the distillery tour was awesome too! It always fascinates me how different various distilleries and breweries are from one another!

  37. The Wife and I honeymooned in Scotland and it was an amazing experience. Inverness and The Highlands were a definite highlight and while driving was somewhat terrifying it was well worth it to see Loch Ness and Lomond up close as well as the incredible rock formations. Culloden was a sobering and educational experience and we drove to several distilleries near Ft. William but they all had private groups or were closed and it was our last day in Scotland. A great trip nonetheless.

      • We just drove around Loch Lomond, but since I was pretty determined to capture Nessie; we did take a cruise on Loch Ness. The captain was a former Loch Ness Coast Guard officer for whom the deepest point in the loch is named and he had seen the each uisge a few times so I was pretty sure we would find it. He warned me against trying to knock the creature out with fisticuffs when I told The Wife my plan to catch it and become famous.

        We are both dying to go back, especially to Edinburgh and the Highlands again so we can spend more time exploring the land of my ancestors. Here is a little something I wrote about our time in Edinburgh, though perhaps slightly fictionalized: http://unnecessarywords.com/2012/02/24/a-writers-cup/

  38. Very beaultiful! I went to Scotland a few years ago, but did not have the chance to travel north of the country. I loved Edimburgh and Stirling and I wish I can travel to the highlands very soon.

  39. Amazing and beautiful! I hope someday I get to visit Scotland, especially since my husband is part Scottish (and he’s never visited Scotland either). :) Beautiful pictures too, thanks for sharing this, love it! :)

  40. Beautiful! I’m heading up to the Cairngorns and inverness for my wedding anniversary next month (with my wife of course, it would be cruel to leave her behind). Looking forward to it even more now!

  41. so Incredible!
    I have wanted to go so much these past couple years, I started going to England when my son was stationed there, and left my heart there in the UK…
    yes I am sooo envious , I want to live there!
    Thank you for sharing, I look forward to more photos
    Take Care…..
    You Matter…..

    )0(
    ladybluerose

  42. This is just SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO beautiful! I really want to visit Scotland, half of my teachers in school are Scots, I just love their accent! (Nothing defeats Gerard Butler’s though ;) ) hahaha

  43. Scotland leaves a great taste in the mouth… not just the country side which are breathtakingly beautiful but also the cities and vilages and it’s people.
    Ireland has a similar but different beauty and the nightlife in Dublin is wonderful.

    Great pics of Alba!

  44. I am so in love with Scotland, we are planning our trip to Scotland at the moment.Two weeks up the west coast in a camper van….. ending in Tongue. I am so excited. These photos are beautiful :-) xxx

  45. Beautiful! I’m doing a year long postgrad in Edinburgh and as many trips as I’ve taken so far, I still have yet to see so much of the highlands! Next stop: Isle of Skye. I hope that was part of your trip as well!

  46. Scotland was one of my favorite trips I’ve ever taken, but sadly, I never made it to the Highlands. Thanks for encouraging me to go back and take in all the beauty this country has to offer… from the gorgeous scenes to the charm of the people.

  47. Stunning. Simply stunning. To my shame, I have yet to venture that far North in the British Isles. Beautiful landscape, famously friendly people. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long….!

  48. I never wanted to go north from my Mediterranean town; up north meant rain; let alone in Scotland. A forced trip to the East Coast changed all that and I forever live with Scotland on my mind (and often in my ears thanks to CDs). Love all you pictures. Thanks

  49. Beautiful pictures! Scotland is on our list, for all the reasons you showed! How was the weather while you were there? Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  50. scotland really has an incredibly beautiful landscape there. even the traditional houses make fall in love with them. nice post =)

  51. Glad you had a great time, I am lucky enough to get to travel throughout Scotland a lot.
    The area round Blair Athol, Dunkeld, Pitlochry, Killiecrankie is undoubtedly my favourite.

  52. Some lovely images. I’m fortunate to live on a croft in Aberdeenshire with views across to the Grampian Mountains from one side of “our hill” and across the ruins of the Norman castle atop Dunnideer on the the other side. Sunrises like these are typical, well, when it’s not cold, cloudy and raining/sleeting/snowing!

  53. A few years ago I walked across Scotland via the West Highland Way and the Great Glen Way, then hitched through the highlands toward Kinlochbervie. It was one of the most beautiful trips of my life. If you can, and even if you can’t, go. It’s worth it, as shown here and more.

  54. Gorgeous images! Glencoe is indeed one of the most haunting places I’ve ever visited – I am always moved to tears going through that valley. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  55. I was just there in December and loved them so much I ended up writing a whole book about how gorgeous the area is :) Glencoe was probably my favorite because of how beautifuly haunting it is.

  56. I was just in the Highlands in December (the worst time, right?) and I loved them just as much as you did, and for the same reason. You feel like you’re at the top..or the bottom of the world, with no one around you. The road to Glencoe and especially just being in the valley was probably the highlight of my trip.

    I got so excited about Scotland in general that I ended up writing a short humorous book about my trip. http://ebook.vickiboykis.com

  57. So beautiful! both my parents are born a bread but they moved down south before I was born. But of course we visit all the time, and It’s still just so beautiful everytime we go. You always know on that long drive up when you’re getting close because of all those beautiful mountains that appear! ahh soo goregous, I haven’t visited in almost 3 years now though. But these pictures make me want to take a visit up there soon! great photography man!

  58. Thanks for posting all the lovely photos. We were there in 2003 and went to many of the places in your photos. We actually got married at Urquhart Castle (“secret” wedding with just us and the tourists LOL). I really wish we’d had had more time to visit. I know one day I will go back to see and experience more. For now, I will just enjoy your wonderfult photos…

  59. All I’ve ever known of Scotland is what I’ve seen in movies like ‘Braveheart’ or ‘Highlander’, but until this article, I never would have had the chance to realize the diverse terrain of the entire country! As an environmental advocate, I see all nature as needing greater appreciation & from these pic’s, there’s a whole world full in just this short little piece. WOW… is all I can say…

  60. oh my god…those picture are so amazingly beautiful…It’s very calming.. I’ve never been to Scotland..I hope someday i’ll be there.. :)
    those pictures made me madly craving for having a digital camera..i love photography…
    surely, you made a very beautiful blog, pictures and post.. :)

  61. Those are incredible shots. I have never been to Scotland but I have always wanted to go, and seeing these pictures MAY have made me a bit teary-eyed! Gorgeous.

  62. Loved your photos…planning a trip to Scotland, Ireland, England and France in a couple of years. I am always interested in learning as much as I can before we go!

  63. Beautiful!! We head to Scotland in a couple of weeks. Can’t wait to see the beauty in person! :) Just returned from China if you have any interest: sarahsjoys.wordpress.com Congratulations on being freshly pressed!

  64. I lived in Inverness on and off over about three years, and both sides of my family are from Scotland — seeing these pictures (eerily similar to many of my own!) moved me to tears. My husband and I are hoping to move to Scotland in the next few years permanently, and reading this post only reinvigorated that sentiment. Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos — they’ve given me a new focus.

  65. I spent a few weeks in Scotland in 2004 and loved it, though I didn’t get to travel around the country quite as much as I’d have liked. I did fortunately manage a trip up to Aberdeen and then Fort William to see some the highlands – very powerful place.

    Wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing!

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  67. This is absolutely my dream trip to go on. I want to walk the vast landscapes of Scotland and be immersed in it’s charm. I dream of the day where I can sit my the waters of Loch Ness and gaze upon Macbeth’s castle. *sigh* Seems like such a distant dream right now.

  68. I was here last September and loved it … especially Skye and Edinburgh. (the Royal Mile!!!) However we also ran into the tail end of a hurricane and didn’t see much of Glencoe and Loch Lomond … thanks for the photos so I know what I missed! :-)

  69. Breathtaking photographs, well done.
    Nothing like being indoors when it is raining and becoming insanely jealous of other peoples adventures.

  70. Two weeks after meeting the man I’m now married To, he bought me a ticket To Scotland. Having roots in the Highlands myself, your pictures bring back memories of being very smitten and, if course, whiskey.

  71. I love Scotland. My Mother’s name is MacDonald so we have an old connection to the Western Isles and Western Scotland. We visited last year for a couple of weeks and stayed in a cottage above Loch Fyne! Beautiful!!! I will go back soon…

  72. Nice pics, however you should go back to scotland during the summer if you can – it is especially beautiful then and a different experience all together! i often travel up the west coast along the isles or through glen coe further north & it is just so extra special in summer, very fond memories from my childhood there!

  73. Hej from Sweden !
    Beautiful photos! My daughter just completed her post graduate studies at The Royal Scottish Academy of Drama and Music. During her studies, she was offered a part in a film named “The Angel’s Share” which will be in theaters, June 1st. they filmed in the Scottish Highlands and my daughter said it was splendid. I need to go there to see and feel for myself. Your post took me right there! Thank you!
    Welcome to my blog: http://gullringstorpgoatsblog.wordpress,com

  74. I’m based in London and am planning a trip up north to Scotland. Thank you for sharing this as I think it’s given me some great ideas of where to go.

  75. The land of my ancestors! I am so grateful that I had the chance to visit years ago and I am DYING to go back. Thanks for such wonderful pictures. Our clan (Rose) has a castle near Inverness, did you happen to see Kilravock castle while you were over there?

  76. I gotta go see my roots one of these days ….

    And by the way, it wasn’t just the Bonnie Prince who got defeated at Culloden, it was all of us rightful highlanders.

    :)

    But, we evened the score a short while later.

    Thanks for the blog. I loved it!

    Wayne

  77. Reblogged this on luvsiesous and commented:
    Ah the beauty of the motherland.

    One of these days, I gotta just get on “a big iron bird” in Kiev and fly over there!

    Maybe I’ll do that this summer?

    What do you think?

    Wayne

  78. This looks so beautiful ! I wish I could go there and see what you saw ! And your pictures are really stunning, great job :)

  79. Those are spectacular photos. I’m currently caught up in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, and have fallen head over heels in love with the Scottish Highlands, though I’ve yet to visit. Thanks for giving me a wonderful visual of so many places mentioned in the book, particularly Culloden.

  80. Love this. We did a walking tour through the Troussachs in 2010. We walked about 10 miles a day from one B&B to another; Callender, Stathyre, Brig’O Turk, Killin and Balquhidder are some of the places we stayed. What a beautiful country.

  81. It’s beautiful! I may never get to see the places that everyone takes pictures of, but I feel like I get a mini vaca when I see pictures blogs like yours. Its powerful and blissful. Thank you honey.

  82. Thanks for sharing those Scotland photos. I have been to both myself, Ireland and Scotland and I want to go back some day, because both are amazing.
    Thanks for bringing Scotland back to me with your photos!

  83. I just love the shot of Blair Athol. It happens to be my favourite drink in the world, and I might just be a little bit biased but… still, it’s a great shot of a quirky little bit of perfect on God’s green Earth1

  84. Thanks for the beautiful photos of Scotland. My branch of the Cameron clan was from Blair Athol and my husband and I visited it several years ago. I felt such a strong connection to Scotland and enjoyed our trip very much.

  85. I live to the east of Inverness in Banffshire. (You must visit here, your camera would love the Spey Valley)
    I often think wow at the views I see taking my kids on the school run (or even looking out of my window). But I rarely think WOW!! as your pictures have made me do. I think like most people I take my surroundings for granted, but your pictures have given me a bit of a kick in the pants. Thank you for sharing.

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