As well as being a wonderful holiday destination the Highlands are home to a quarter of a million people living in communities spread throughout the area. From the vibrant city of Inverness to remote crofting communities and sparsely populated islands.
History & Heritage
In the Highlands, the past is all around. Ancient cairns and stone settings, the later brochs (defensive round towers), then the Picts with their mysterious carved symbol stones have all left their faint traces on the landscape.
In the north, the Viking war galleys once roved, the root of Gaelic place names in the west such as Shieldaig (sild-vik - herring bay) or Diabaig (deop-vik- deep bay), while more obviously Norse in Caithness where Langwell (lang vollr - long field), or Whaligoe (hvair gja - whale inlet) or dozens more remind us of their rule here.
Then clan system then evolved with Mackays and Sinclairs, Mackenzies and Frasers, Camerons, Macdonalds and lots more, all holding their territories by force of arms. These gaelic speaking Highland clans not only skirmished, but gave encouragement through their chiefs to bards and storytellers, adding to the rich heritage of music and legend which has survived until today.
Though the old clan ways have vanished, the Highlands are still a special place and a place apart, enjoyed not only for their unspoilt environment but for their particular sense of the intertwining of past and present. In such atmospheric Highland settings, Neolithic folk, Bronze Age warriors, Picts, Vikings and clansmen need only your imagination to come alive!
What is Highland culture and what will it mean to you when you
When it comes to icons of that culture, the Highlands are favoured with some instantly recognisable symbols, such as tartans, kilts and pipe bands - all coming together in Highland Games. Meanwhile, venison, salmon, haggis and other traditional foods are still very much a feature on menus. Then there the images of the Highlands themselves - the environment of lochs, mountains and glens, every bit as vivid and breathtaking as the postcards suggest, while along with these come the traditional pursuits such as angling or golf - all easily accessible and all genuinely Highland experiences
Thus it is easy to dip into Highland culture in its many forms - there is a packed events list featuring our very own sport shinty and of course Highland Games. There are festivals and events which celebrate Highland heritage. From ceilidhs to crofts, peat smoke to porridge, Highland culture, in all its richness makes your visit here such a rewarding experience.
The Wildlife of the Highlands
In the wild land of the Highlands, interesting and spectacular
plants and animals are not confined to nature reserves. Wildlife
appears in the most casual of encounters.
Some other easily identified species you may encounter include golden eagle - especially if walking in mountainous country. (Though your view of this bird may be distant, its size is an important recognition feature.) Amongst birds, the birds of prey are often the most sought after views but others include seabirds particularly puffins, for example, near the Stacks of Duncansby or on Faraid Head by Durness.
Among animals, red squirrel is common in places (take a walk in the woods near Grantown-on-Spey perhaps). Pine marten is less easy to spot but you might be lucky. (Some say they raid the litter bins by the main road along Loch Maree!) Several parts of the Moray Firth shoreline could give you a view of bottle-nose dolphins (or take a boat trip).
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