Scottish Highlands Map with main tourist places
The Scottish Highlands is a sparsely populated area – less than 250,000 people in 2015 – in northwest Scotland dominated by hills and mountains, including Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis.
The Highlands are bleak, beautiful and especially popular with hill walkers and climbers though sufficient snow for good skiing is not commonplace as the mountains don’t reach the heights of, for example, the French Alps.
The many large and tranquil lochs make for fine kayaking.
However! One summer issue with driving around the Highlands is tempting stop-offs for a simple picnic beside a beautiful lake or little romantic ‘nookie’ in a pristine glade near the winding road. Sadly off-road activities are quite likely to be interrupted by hordes of midges (tiny mosquitoes) that travel in clouds (self-made clouds!) and do not fear any kind of repellent that we know of. What a pain, literally and metaphorically.
Panorama from Ben Nevis to Loch Linnhe in the Scottish Highlands. Photo by Nilfanion
Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the United Kingdom at 1, 344 metres (4, 409ft) above sea level, and is known to Highland folk as ‘The Ben’. It’s located near the town of Fort William and makes a terrific hiking or climbing destination though too many hikers and mountaineers go ill-prepared.
Weather conditions can deteriorate very rapidly leading to fast temperature drops and heavy fog or snow that conceals trails and escape routes. In some places snow is visible all year round. People die on the mountain regularly and the local Mountain Rescue team is kept busy.
The easiest and most popular walking route to the summit of the Ben is the Pony Track, sometimes known as the Mountain Path or Ben Path, starting on the east side of Glen Nevis at Achintee on the south side of the mountain, about 2km (1. 5miles) from Fort William town centre. The Pony Track is trod by about 75, 000 walkers a year!