The Scottish Highlands are a patchwork of unrivalled natural beauty and romantic stories of heroic chivalry in splendid castles. The fresh Highland air and spectacular woodland glens combined with wildlife offers an opportunity to relax and marvel while driving in one of the most famous regions in the world.
We have put together ‘our own’ signature experiences from which to explore the Highlands. Our selection showcases the heritage, culture and history that make the locals proud and the outdoor activities are equally exhilarating against the backdrop of the breathtaking Highlands landscape. Plan a vacation that is just right for you.
Enjoy thrilling outdoor activities with Active Highs… www.activehighs.co.uk. Listed below are the activities they have to offer:
Gorge walking is a fun and exciting outdoor activity that involves scrambling, jumping, sliding & swimming your way through a deep river gorge. Gorge walking is a great activity for families, school & youth groups, team building events and stag or hen weekends. We will kit you out in a wetsuit (to keep you warm), buoyancy aid and helmet. This spectacular Scottish mountainside this activity is guaranteed to get you excited.
Jump from cliffs, slide down natural flumes, swim through deep pools, abseil over waterfalls, scramble & climb up and over rocks and waterfalls! Scotland has become a major destination for canyoning over the last 10 years and has some great venues due to the natural landscapes of mountains and steep river gorges. So come along, put on your wetsuit, buoyancy aid, helmet & harness, hike up the hillside and jump on in with Active Highs!
White water Funyakking is a great fun alternative to white water rafting and is a great introduction to white water kayaking in a very stable and forgiving white water kayak. You and your paddling partner will navigate the river in our 2 man inflatable canoes under instruction from one of professional river guides. We will teach you the basic skills required to paddle and steer your boat and help you to negotiate the rapids. White water Funyakking is also known as white water kayaking and is a more involved way of enjoying the river as you are a lot closer to the action and in control of your own destiny! A great alternative to white water rafting or to build on your canoeing skills in a fun environment!
If you are looking for a more challenging full day trip and to take your canoeing to the next level then this trip is for you! Enjoy the scenery and take in your surroundings of the Great Glen as we start our journey down Loch Oich. You will get used to paddling your canoe & honing your skills and learn some new techniques specific to the river environment before heading off down the River Oich to Fort Augustus. This is a fantastic day out and one of the best guided canoeing experiences near Fort Augustus and Fort William and you will also finish by canoeing on Loch Ness.
Want a longer day out to experience more of what nature has to offer? Enjoy the scenery and take in your surroundings with a full day canoe trip! Your trip will start with packing your boat for the day before getting on the water to practice some skills and techniques that will help you to paddle and steer your canoe throughout the day. You will explore the Caledonian Canal and Loch Oich, checking out the scenery and shoreline.
Your half day canoe trip in the Great Glen will take you on a scenic journey around Loch Oich or the Caledonian Canal. You will initially learn some of the skills required to paddle and steer your boat on a journey in the tranquil surroundings of The Great Glen. Loch Oich is part of the Great Glen Canoe Trail and Caledonian Canal and is the most sheltered loch on the system offering great conditions for canoe trips.
Experience river rafting in a more relaxed way on a river rafting safari trip in the Great Glen. Our trips are normally run on the River Oich which is fed from Loch Oich and meanders it’s way down the glen until it pours it’s waters into the head of Loch Ness. This trip is a fantastic and fun family adventure, which has something for everyone with beautiful Highland scenery, small rapids up to grade 2. The minimum age for participants on the rafting safari trip is 5 years + and adults who are looking for a gentle introduction to rafting will enjoy this activity as well.
Active Highs run a variety of white water rafting trips in the Highlands of Scotland but primarily we run white water rafting on the River Garry near Fort William. The River Garry is a fantastic fun and adventurous river with great grade 3 and 4 rapids. The main reason for it being so popular is due to the releases of water from the dam every week from April until October. This gives us guaranteed water levels and awesome rafting when all other rivers can be very low or dry, especially in the summer.
Enjoy a fun half-day session of rock climbing and abseiling aimed at anyone looking for an introductory experience or a fun half-day activity. You will learn some basic knots, climbing techniques and how to keep each other safe using ropes. You will also get the opportunity to abseil down the cliff but are always attached to a safety line under the control of your instructor. A great family activity and fun for groups of all ages!
On your half day kayaking you will spend more time on the water, giving you more time to explore the loch, take in the views and enjoy your paddling experience. We will still teach you the strokes and techniques needed to paddle and steer your kayak and you will have more time to consolidate them and enjoy the trip. We will explore the shoreline of the loch and Caledonian Canal!
Nevis Range Mountain Experience
Just 10 min from Fort William, the Nevis Range has adventures for everyone in the family from mountain biking, a ride on the gondola, snow sports (skiing and snowboarding) tree adventures and mountain walks.
The Nevis Range Mountain Gondola – the only of its kind in Britain, it’s built on the north face of Aonach Mor, the 8th highest mountain in Britain, on the outskirts of Fort William originally as a way to transport skiers to the slopes. The Mountain Gondola is also an amazing visitor attraction in its own right, allowing visitors to enjoy the scenic ride, whilst absorbing the stunning views and clear mountain air, feeling fully refreshed on their journey back to firm ground. The Mountain Gondola is also widely used as a shortcut by climbers to the many challenging winter climbing routes and hill walkers to access summer routes. Mountain Bikers who ride the exciting & challenging downhill tracks, also use the Gondola for uplift as do paragliders and hangliders on their journey to the clouds.
The Gondola transports visitors from 100m to 650m up the mountain and takes approximately 15 minutes each way. The Doppelmayr gondola system comprises of 80 six seat closed cabins running on a continuous 4.6km steel cable weighing 40 tons. This is supported between 18 pylons, 2 masts, and 2 drive station structures each anchored in 200 tonnes of concrete and spans 2.3km. There are specific ambulance, freight and service gondolas. The rated carrying capacity is 1700 persons per hour at any one time.
The Gondola journey allows you to take in breathtaking panoramic views of the Scottish Highlands whatever the season, including the Great Glen, Ben Nevis and surrounding areas. On a clear day this spectacular view can extend as far as the Inner Hebrides. There are 2 relatively easy walks accessible from the top Gondola station to either, Sgurr Finnisgaig or Meall Beag.
The walk to Sgurr Finnisg-aig is the shorter of the two trails, taking approximately 40 minutes return. This is an excellent viewpoint, which looks out across the Great Glen and Hills of Knoydart, you can also look back to the impressive overshadowing mass of Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis.
(1hr return walk), enabling all our visitors’ young and old alike to enjoy and appreciate the magnificience and ruggedness of the Scottish Highlands. Meal Beag is a slightly longer trail, taking approximately 1 hour return. This trail leads visitors in the opposite direction from where the views across Loch Linnhe, Loch Eil, the hills of Ardgour and Moidart are simply stunning.
Leanachan Forest, on the lower slopes of Aonach Mor, offers you over 25 miles of forest trails to explore on foot, all with the stunning backdrop of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. There are also various viewpoints along the forest trails that offer breathtaking views of the scenery, Fort William and the surrounding area, the hills of Ardgour and Moidart and the impressive overshadowing mass of Ben Nevis. The Nevis Range base station is an excellent start point for your forest experience. With a large car park & our newly refurbished Pinemarten Cafe!
Home to the Fort William UCI World Cup since 2002 . Whether you’re an extreme Downhill mountain biker or a complete beginner, Nevis Range has the trails for you. Reach the soaring heights of 650m via UK’s only Mountain Gondola. Test yourself and descend on some of the longest tracks in the UK, including the infamous Fort William MTB World Cup Track & Top Chief!
Need a bike to get you around the amazing trails at Nevis Range? Don’t worry Nevis Mountain Range onsite bike hire partners, Nevis Cycles, have got you covered! Whether you are after a full downhill setup or something to take you on a gentle stroll through Leanachan Forest, Nevis Cycles will have exactly what you need!
The network of trails around Nevis Range known as “The Witches Trails” incorporates mountain bike trails to suit all abilities, from family friendly Blue Graded trails to the infamous Orange Fort William World Cup Track & Newly Graded Black Top Chief (formerly the Red Giant).
Enhance your photography skills and take a guided walk with experienced photographers at the Nevis mountain Range. So just aim and shoot for that iconic Scottish Highland shot!
Guided Walking Tours
Meander through the hills by foot and explore the dramatic landscape of the Highlands and enjoy insights from an expert guide. Visit www.kintailmountainactivities.co.uk.
Picnics are the most marvellous way to while away a day. Pick your favourite spot from our specially chosen picnicking locations and enjoy traditional Scottish sandwiches and scones surrounded by the beauty of the Highlands.
There’s nothing quite like the freedom of a long open road. Hire your bike from Nc500 Moto. Experience Motorbike Hire Company for an awe-inspiring road trip that will last a lifetime. The company is based in Inverness. www.nc500motoexperience.co.uk.
Horse and Pony Riding
Enjoy a leisurely trek through tranquil mountainside, overlooking the most stunning views whilst on the horseback. Glen Shiel Highland Pony Trekking Centre www.highlandponytrekking.co.uk.
Camusdarach is the beach featured in the film Local Hero and is a popular place on tours of film locations. The most prominent beach in Mallaig is the Camusdarach Beach. It is known to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire country.
Camusdarach nestles on the shores of the Atlantic coast amongst stunning scenery – just under an hour’s drive from Fort William.
In addition to the stunning white sandy beaches with crystal clear water, there’s plenty to see and do in the area. For more information, visit www.camusdarach.co.uk/things-to-see-do.html
Aigas Golf Course
Aigas 9 hole well manicured parkland golf course (par 33) nestles spectacularly between the Aigas forest and the peaceful river Beauly and is well known for its picturesque setting.
Ferry to Skye
Travel to Skye on the “Glenachulish”, the last manually operated turntable ferry in Scotland. We run annually from Easter until October.
Experience the wild magnificence of the real Highlands and enjoy activities like deer stalking, bird watching, fly fishing and trekking at the Tomdoun Estate. Just a 20-minute drive from any of our hotels. Enjoy outdoor sports in the company of one of Scotland’s most experienced ghillies. Visit tomdoun-scotland.co.uk for more information.
Glencoe Mountain Resort
For winter and summer activities Glencoe Mountain Resort is the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors and it is ideal for individuals, families and groups. In summer the centre offers chairlift rides, mountain biking (Downhill and XC), tubing, hill-walking, climbing, photography and the panoramic log cabin cafe that overlooks outstanding natural beauty of Rannoch Moor and stunning views of the iconic Buachaille Etive Mor.
In winter skiing, snowboarding, sledging and avalanche rescue training are available, and the resort has both the longest and the steepest ski run in Scotland.
Just under an hour’s drive from Whispering Pine Lodge, the stunning scenery through Glencoe is a trip worth making!
For more information, visit www.glencoemountain.co.uk
Places of Interest
Driving through Scotland, one of the most famous regions in the world, is a road trip that is awe-inspiring. It is a journey through spectacular views of mountains, lochs, hills and glens.
Self Drive Tours
Three Second World War soldiers, whose story is told in a nearby museum, stand tall in bronze amidst the stunning views of the Glens.
Glencoe Valley is considered the most spectacular valley in the Scottish Highlands. The impressive mountains rising towards the sky and beautiful valleys are part of the breathtaking landscape that fascinates everyone who drives through it.
Famous for the spectacular drive, the seaside town of Applecross is on a remote peninsula in Wester Ross. If you enjoy a walk on the beach and some mouthwatering seafood in the village, it is a trip worth making.
In a quiet valley, 18 miles to the North-East of the Highland town of Fort William is a geological phenomenon that is unique in Britain. Glen Roy and its side valley are marked by 3 strange roads that circle the Glen. From the distance, they appear manmade but they are entirely natural, formed as lake terraces around a now long-gone lake that existed during the last ice age.
This is rated as one of the best places to eat by the sea. The local lobster is delicious and the drive is breathtaking.
On a still day, Loch Hourn mirrors the heavens. Kinloch Hourn is an area of natural beauty at the end of 35 km of single-track road, which runs west from a junction with the A87 beside Loch Garry. Enjoy observing the ‘Monarch of the Glen’ and other wildlife on this beautiful drive.
On the narrow and winding country roads to the Isle of Skye you will encounter rugged mountains, waterfalls and shimmering lochs. The Eilean Donan Castle is on the village of Dornie on the route to Skye. This medieval 13thc castle is situated on an island where three sea lochs meet and one can see the Cuillin mountain range of Skye.
Visit Treasures of the Earth, Fort William
A museum that houses one of Europe’s finest collections of crystals, gem stones and fossils. Learn about the history of the Scottish gold rust and the largest gold nugget ever discovered. www.treasuresoftheearth.co.uk.
Cruise on Loch Ness
Daily cruises are available from Fort Augustus to Urquhart Castle on the world famous Loch where you can enjoy the views, wildlife and the history of the area, and a glimpse of Nessie if you’re lucky! Private boat rides and RIB rides are also available.
Glengarry Parish Church
Charming simple Gothic church built under the patronage of the Ellice family of Glengarry.
Whisky Distilleries: Explore Scotland’s whisky regions in the Highlands and Speyside. Taliskar is in the Isle of Skye, Oban is in the port city of Oban, Dalwhinnie in the Highland village of Dalwhinnie, and Dallas Dhu in Forres. One can also take a Whisky bus tour from Inverness to Speyside to Macallan, Glenlivet and Aberlour. Have a wee Dram! www.highspiritstours.co.uk
Cille Choirill Church
Cille Choirill Church is a 15th-century Roman Catholic Church near Roy Bridge. Located high on the hill overlooking the valley of the river Spean. The church is locked and the key is on the fencepost outside the house at the bottom of the road. This church is in honour of St.Cairell and his cell.
History of the Highlands
Stretching back thousands of years, there are plenty of castles, and monuments for one to re-live the incredible bravery of the Scottish. 19th Century literary greats such as Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns immortalized Scotland with an enduring legacy that has defined it ever since.
Highland Folk Museum, Newtonmore
The Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore is a unique open-air museum where visitors can experience how Highlanders lived 300 years ago. Original traditional buildings from the 1700’s – 1950 are furnished to their appropriate time period and makes for a unique day out.
Cawdor Castle, Nairn
In Nairnshire lies Cawdor Castle which legend proclaims is built around a holly tree dating back to 1372, still to be seen in the dungeons. This romantic medieval stately home has beautiful and varied grounds and gardens.
Blair Castle, Pitlochry, Perthshire
Blair Castle in Pitlochry has been home to the Atholl family for over seven centuries and the 30 rooms are furnished in 18th century interiors and Scottish Baronial Architecture.
The Culloden Moor, Near Inverness
Culloden Moor is the battlefield where the ‘Jacobites Rising’came to a brutal conclusion.A very well designed modern Visitors Center cum museum has Jacobite artefacts on display and explains the conflict in a powerful and emotive way.
Dunvegan Castle, Skye
Dunvegan is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years. This medieval castle is beautifully restored and has a collection of many beautiful paintings and important heirlooms.
Glengarry Heritage Centre, Invergarry
Situated in the Glengarry Community Hall, the Centre houses a permanent exhibition showcasing the history of the people who lived and emigrated from this quaint village of Glengarry. For those in search of their roots, the Centre offers a service with local census records from 1841-1901.
Invergarry Estate Village Tour
Invergarry, earlier known as ‘Estate Village’, was a former drovers’ stop and staging post that over the years became the archetypical Victorian Highland estate village under the patronage of the Ellice family. They were considered benevolent landlords and Edward ‘Bear’ Ellice built on his estate a formidable township that included six schools, three regular places of worship, a bank, post office and lending library. Several of these buildings still exist today and a walk around the Estate Village is a window to the past.
Clan Cameron Museum at Achnacarry
Clan Cameron Museum at Achnacarry has been created by the current chief of Clan Cameron and his wife and holds memorabilia and intriguing tales of the Clan Cameron’s past.
Brodie Castle, Near Forres
Brodie Castle in Forres was home to the Brodie Clan for 400 years. A charming elegant mansion that possess an admirable art collection from Dutch Old Masters to modern watercolors.