The magic of a Holiday in Scotland's Highlands
What do we mean by the ‘Highlands’?
Everybody has heard of the Highlands, but people can sometimes be unsure of their actual boundaries. In geological terms, they’re the areas to the north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault, which runs from the island of Arran (off the West coast) to Stonehaven (on the East coast). Although this is the geological definition, the cultural one doesn’t entirely tally with it. Aberdeen, for example, lies to the north of Stonehaven but wouldn’t normally be considered part of the Highlands, as it lacks the strong Gaelic heritage usually associated with them. In Scots Gaelic the name for the Highlands is A' Ghàidhealtachd, meaning ‘the place of the Gaels’.
That’s understandable, it can be a little confusing! There is an easier way to tell though - take a look around you. If you can see beautiful rolling hills, a shimmering loch, a majestic stag in the distance...let’s just assume that you’re in the Highlands! So, now that we’ve given you an idea of where they are, the next (and most important!) thing to do is to tell you what’s so special about the Highlands.
The incredible scenery
As we just touched upon, The Highlands are the home to many sights of outstanding natural beauty. Lochs, rivers, hills, mountains, forests...all of these and more are offered by the Highlands. To pick out some lochs located close to our own Hilton Aviemore Coylumbridge Hotel, there are -
- The atmospheric Loch an Eilein which also features the romantic ruins of a 14th century castle.
- The gorgeous Loch Morlich, which combines its scenic qualities with a quirky history. During World War II it was used as the location for a commando school, mainly training Norwegian special forces!
- The fantastic Loch Insh, which can be enjoyed from the water itself as well as from its banks. Both it and Loch Morlich are home to impressive watersports centres.
When it comes to rivers, The Spey isn’t just one of the most important and iconic rivers in Scotland, it’s one of the most important and iconic rivers on the whole planet. If that sounds like an exaggeration, then think about how many fine dining experiences around the world have been made up of Speyside salmon followed by a Speyside whisky! Scotland’s mountains are no less impressive, with the Cairngorms being known not only for their outstanding snowsport facilities, but also their rich wildlife.
The activities to let you unwind...or to get the adrenaline pumping
As you’ve just read, the Highlands offer fantastic snowsport facilities, with CairnGorm Mountain being Scotland’s first, and still (we may be slightly biased as it’s so close to us!) its best, ski resort. Skiing and snowboarding are just the tip of an activity iceberg in the Highlands though. A visit to the area can allow you to enjoy...
- Quad biking
- Mountain biking
...and much more.
The history all around you
History doesn’t have to mean looking at ruins. In the Highlands you can actually take a ride on a piece of history! The Strathspey Steam Railway uses parts of a railway line originally established in 1863, and even has a locomotive in service that dates back to 1899. The railway operates special trips throughout the year, the perfect way enjoy some of the sights of the Highlands in style.
More living history can be found at the Newtonmore site of the Highland Folk Museum. This 80 acre area re-creates the lives of ordinary Highlanders as they would have been for centuries, including how and what they farmed, how they cooked, and re-creations of the homes they would have lived in. It’s a fascinating place to visit and offers a day out not to be missed.
The home to so many distilleries
Scotch whisky is world famous and a visit to the Highlands is your chance to visit the homes of some iconic brands. Both Glenfiddich and Glenlivet distilleries are located close to Aviemore, with the premises of the former dating back as far as 1886! You can visit these two Speyside distilleries, as well as those of Benromach, Cardhu, Glen Grant and Strathisla, if you take the Whisky Trail route.
How can you enjoy a fantastic Highland break?
If we’ve whetted your appetite for a visit to this beautiful part of the world, the good news is that Hilton Aviemore has a small number of luxurious five-night Highland holiday packages available throughout the year at our Coylumbridge Hotel. These include dinner, bed and breakfast and start from only £250 per person. Please contact us now for more details.