The North of Scotland is home to some of the best beaches in the British Isles. We don't have nearly enough space to list them all, but here a a few ideas to wet (sic) your appetite.
And, believe it or not, the summer weather can be good enough for swimsuits, shorts and buckets & spades!
Nairn Beach (37km by car) is backed by low sand dunes and a promenade with an open, grassy links area.
Central Beach stretches from The Nairn Golf Club in the West End to the Harbour at Fishertown, with stunning views over the Moray Firth towards Cromarty. You’ll enjoy magnificent sunsets here throughout the year and even more magical glimpses of the Northern Lights in the dark skies over the Firth during winter.
This superb sandy beach in the middle of Nairn is a fantastic attraction and popular with families, particularly in the summer months. Its coastline is home to a resident school of dolphins.
There is also a great range of coastal walks for miles in either direction with a nature reserve at Kingsteps in the east and a viewpoint to the west.
Rosemarkie Beach (36km by car) is located on the scenic peninsula known as the Black Isle this long stretch of sandy beach stretches out into the mouth of the Moray Firth.
The beach is backed by woodland and well kept lawns. It is also home to the ever popular Rosemarkie Beach Cafe making this a great spot to relax.
At the far end of the beach is Chanonry Point which is a great place to spot the dolphins which frequent the Moray Firth.
Dornoch beach (83km by car) is a beautiful expanse of golden sand located on the tranquil Dornoch Firth.
Miles of golden sand stretch from Dornoch Point heading past Embo beach to the mouth of Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve. Further north along the coast there are two other award-winning beaches located at Golspie and Brora. Adjacent to the beach is a Site of Special Scientific Interest that features nesting birds, flora and fauna.
This fine long beach has been given a Seaside Award status as a clean bathing beach.
Dores Beach (20km by car) is perhaps not your traditional style of beach, but it is one of the best viewpoints of Loch Ness - from here you can see all the way down the famous Loch and you will see why this is a favourite spot for anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of Nessie!
A visit to Dores Beach can be combined with a circular walk along the shoreline to Torr Point and Aldourie and back to the village. You might then be tempted by a visit to the adjacent Dores inn!
Dores Beach can be very busy over the summer months, so please park responsibly only in the designated car park and leave no trace of your visit.
The North of Scotland is home to some awesome mountains - both Munros (mountains over 3,000 ft) and mountains of lesser (but no less interesting) stature. We've listed a few possibilities below, but you can literally spend a lifetime exploring all the options.
Please note all the mountainous areas of Scotland can be challenging and dangerous places to be. You should have the necessary level of experience and equipment before attempting any high level or remote route. Ensure you are familiar with the route in advance and take a map (1:25,000). We are not responsible for your safety and we do not provide a recovery service!
Slioch (100km by car) is one of the most familiar mountains in the Highlands, with the view of the mountain across Loch Maree adorning countless calendars and brochures. It is also a fine viewpoint over the Fisherfield Forest to the north.
Torridon (110km by car) is considered by many to embody the North Highland landscape of Scotland, Torridon is an ancient and enchanting wilderness of water and rock. The rugged mountains are incredibly old – the Torridonian sandstone that forms the bulk of all the mountains dates back 750 million year. Five Munros are found here, including Liathach, Beinn Alligin and Beinn Eighe
The Cairngorms National Park (approx. 60km by car) has more mountains, forest paths, rivers, lochs, wildlife hotspots, friendly villages and distilleries than you can possibly imagine. You can find five of the UK's six highest mountains, alongside 55 Munros - mountains over 3,000 ft.
Assynt (approx. 130km by car) is a sparsely populated area lying north of Ullapool on the west coast of Scotland. Assynt is known for its landscape and its remarkable mountains.
The western part of Assynt has many distinctively shaped mountains, including Quinag, Canisp, Suilven and Ben More Assynt, that rise steeply from the surrounding "cnoc and lochan" scenery.
These can often appear higher than their actual height would indicate due to their steep sides and the contrast with the moorland from which they rise