The Highlands undoubtedly concentrate the best of Scottish landscape and culture.
But what exactly are the Highlands? The territory that extends throughout the north of Scotland, mountainous, sparsely populated and full of history. The Highlands are the most legendary and wildest side of Scotland. They are endless glens and valleys that run among green mountains and castles nestled in the middle of nowhere that give us images to remember and living link to the past.
It was in the Highlands where most of the family clans which dominated the political and economic life of the area until after the battle of Culloden developed, it was then when a good part of its population were forced to emigrate. Thanks to them, today we can see innumerable fortresses and castles in the Scottish Highlands, a vestige of the power they enjoyed in past times.
All these factors make the Highlands one of the most attractive regions on the routes through Scotland, and the favorite for those who visit the country for the first time, but many return every year, so drawn to the natural beauty and mystique are they.
Drive to the majestic Eilean Donan Castle. A true icon of the Scottish landscape, it stands out for its long arch bridge and its location by the lochside (90 minutes from Scatwell).
If you are attracted to the castles having literary connections, you have an obliged visit to Cawdor Castle. It was home to the barons of Cawdor during the 14th century. Nowadays, it is currently occupied by its owners and it has kitchens which have been preserved and stay the same as centuries ago. Not forgetting the magnificent garden that surrounds it (60 minutes from Scatwell).
Dunrobin Castle is a simply perfect and magical construction. Located in Sutherland and considered the largest house in northern Scotland, with 189 rooms (a fairytale castle 90 minutes from Scatwell).
In the region of Moray, at the foot of the magnificent Cairngorms National Park where Ballindalloch Castle, also known as The Pearl of the North, is located. It should be noted that the castle houses an important collection of 17th-century Spanish paintings (a fairytale castle 90 minutes from Scatwell).
Ullapool, the prettiest town in the north west Highlands
Ullapool, located on the northwest coast of Scotland, on the shore of Loch Broom, is one of the most beautiful villages in the Highlands. With few permanent inhabitants and a lively music and arts scene, it hosts regular exhibitions, plays and concerts throughout the year, drawing in artists and guests from all over the United Kingdom and beyond.
One of the specialties here is fish and seafood, from where
the best European restaurants keep supplied. The traditional of dish haggies (heart, lungs and sheep’s liver mixed with onions, spices, salt and oatmeal), is delicious and certainly worth sampling. Another of the specialties here are fish and chips, the fish being landed from the trawlers each day.
The surroundings of Ullapool offer spectacular landscapes, and some of the best tourist routes on foot. An hour and a half from Ullapool, for example, there are the spectacular white sand beaches of Durness, or the strange almost lunar landscape of Lake Eriboll. Within short distance we find the Summer Isles, from where you can organize cruises for the sighting of all kinds of marine species and birds.
Whisky production is one of the main topics of conversations when talking about Scotland. The country is dotted with distilleries of all kind, each of them with its own identity, including those that exist in the various islands off the West Coast.
Within the Highlands there are different whisky areas, which can be visited from Scatwell. The area of the West Coast with barley malt of maritime influence such as the island of Skye, Mull, Jura or Islay or the farthest in the Hebrides such as Lewis or Harris.
Not far from Balmoral Castle you can find royal distillery, where Queen Victoria discovered the “real” whiskies.
If we go a little to the north, crossing through the market town of Dingwall, we pass through the Dalmore distillery and then through the Glenmorangie distillery next to the beautiful town of Tain. Further north is the small settlement of Brora with its historic distilleries. A whisky feast for the connoisseur of the cream of the barley.
Right at the mouth of the Ness River we find the northernmost city in the United Kingdom and the capital of the Highlands. Inverness is a city that welcomes many visitors. The main reason is its proximity to the most famous loch in Scotland, Loch Ness.
“Inbhir Nis” in Scottish Gaelic means “the mouth of the Ness River”. The situation at the mouth of the river and with its direct access to the Moray Firth and, therefore, to the North Sea, have made the city a strategic point in almost all the ancient battles in Scotland.
Visit Inverness Castle, Saint Andrews Cathedral, and the Ness River and its Islands. If your stay is during the summer months you can enjoy the famous Highlands Games, with skirl of bagpipes, Scottish dancers, caber (log) throwing, hill racing and many other Highland sports.There are Highland games in many of the towns and villages during the summer months including Strathconnon where Scatwell House is sited.
Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle
Loch Ness is an extensive and deep lake of fresh water which is in the Highlands and extends along 37 km to the southwest of Inverness (Scotland).
Among all the legends of Scotland, surely the legend of the Loch Ness monster is the best known. Familiarly called Nessie, it is the name of a legendary animal that is said to inhabit Lake Ness.
It is surrounded by the coastal cities Fort Augustus, Invermoriston, Drumnadrochit, Abriachan, Lochend, Whitebridge, Foyers, Inverfarigaig and Dores.
On the shores of Loch Ness, in the town of Drumnadrochit, the ruins of Urquhart Castle are located; a construction dating from the 13th to the 16th centuries which today offers guided tours to its visitors.
Distance: 38 miles from Scatwell House.
Some Antique Shops
Taking advantage of visits to the area, you can take advantage of the opportunity to visit some curious antique dealers in the area.
Very close to Nairn, north of Inverness, is Auldearn Antiques, installed in an old church and a small courtyard where it has small details of old houses and textiles. In Dingwall itself you will find Objet D´Art a small but well-nourished shop of interesting details and also very close to Scatwell, in Beauly, Iain Marr and its antique jewelry store. And further north in the beautiful village of Dornock is Castle Close Antiques in the town square. And if you have time back to Inverness on the A9 from the south, in Daviot a little before reaching Inverness, next to the well-marked road is Daviot Antiques, and its small warehouses full of all kinds of junk.
Dingwall is the nearest town to Scatwell and is the county town and administrative centre of the county of Ross-shire. It is an ancient market town and still houses on of the largest cattle and sheep auctions in Scotland.
The town centre has a very interesting Museum and a range of small independent shops including antique, arts and crafts and bookshops.
Also there are large supermarket shops for any general shopping.