One of the best things about the north of Scotland is that no matter where you find yourself, a castle or Loch is never far away. As integral to the Scottish landscape as its lofty mountains, the country’s castles and lochs rank amongst the most iconic in the world.
Loch Ness is the second-largest Scottish loch by surface area, but due to its great depth it is the largest by volume in Great Britain. Its deepest point is 230 metres, and it contains more water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined.
The Loch Ness Monster, affectionately known as Nessie, is a creature in Scottish folklore that is said to inhabit Loch Ness. It is often described as large, long-necked, and with one or more humps protruding from the water. Popular interest and belief in the creature has varied since it was brought to worldwide attention in 1933.
Unfortunately, evidence of its existence is anecdotal, with a number of disputed photographs and sonar readings. But you can always keep an eye out!
From Gask, some of the best views over the Loch are from the south side. Take the B851 and travel south-west (turn right at the Inverarnie shop). After several miles, turn right onto the B862 and drive towards Dores. There are spectacular views to be had, high up above the Loch.
Wild natural beauty and 1,000 years of history - Urquhart Castle offers a taste of the Highlands at their most dramatic.
Discover 1,000 years of drama, experience a glimpse of medieval life and enjoy stunning views over Loch Ness from the ruins of the greatest castle in the Highlands.
Climb the Grant Tower that watches over the iconic loch, peer into a miserable prison cell, said to have held the legendary Gaelic bard Domhnall Donn, and imagine the splendid banquets staged in the great hall.
A more comfortable view of the iconic ruins, against a backdrop of Loch Ness and the hills of the Great Glen, can be enjoyed from the café.
Discover the romantic Highland castle, the 14th century home of the Thanes of Cawdor.
Located about 5 miles south west of Nairn, Cawdor Castle was built around a 15th century tower house which originally belonged to Clan Cawdor before passing into the hands of Campbells in the 16th century.
Although famed for its literary connection to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the actual 11th century events upon which the play is based took place many years before the castle was built.
However the castle does boast its own unique tale surrounding its construction. According to legend, the castle is built around a thorn tree, which has since been identified as a holly dating from 1372, which visitors can still see today in the dungeon.
Dunrobin Castle is the most northerly of Scotland's great houses and the largest in the Northern Highlands with 189 rooms. Dunrobin Castle is also one of Britain's oldest continuously inhabited houses dating back to the early 1300s, home to the Earls and later, the Dukes of Sutherland.
The Castle, which resembles a French chateâu with its towering conical spires, has seen the architectural influences of Sir Charles Barry, who designed London’s Houses of Parliament, and Scotland’s own Sir Robert Lorimer. The Castle was used as a naval hospital during the First World War and as a boys’ boarding school from 1965 to 1972.
Dunrobin Castle is on the east coast of the Northern Highlands overlooking the Moray Firth, just north of the villages of Golspie and Dornoch
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