Lochs & Glens
There are at least 31,460 freshwater lochs and lochans (little lochs) in Scotland. All but a handful are located in throughout the Highlands and Islands, including the mystical Loch Lomond, located at the gateway to the Highlands, the mythical Loch Ness, home to the fabled Loch Ness Monster (you have to go Nessie spotting whilst you’re here) and lesser known but arguably even more stunning lochs such as Lock Coruisk, on the Isle of Skye, Loch Katrine, located in the Trossachs and the 17th century home of famous outlaw and folk hero Rob Roy MacGregor, and Loch Linnhe, a marvellous sea loch which takes you from the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK, all the way down to the Sound of Mull and, if you keep going, the Atlantic Ocean.
A visit to one of our lochs is a must, with boat trips and luxury cruises possible on many.
As majestic as our lochs, Scotland’s ancient glens are must see. A ‘glen’ is the Scottish name for a “deep valley in the highlands”, though not all are in the Highlands. With hundreds to discover, each has its own character, which can change with the weather, the season and your mood. Formed by glaciers hundreds of millions of years ago, the glens have truly been shaped by their history. Perhaps the most famous of all, Glen Coe, is matched only in its breath-taking beauty by the eerie sense of tragedy it’s ethereal silence creates. Indeed, its most famous event, the Massacre of Glencoe inspired Game of Thrones ‘Red Wedding’. Glen Lyon was home to Roman soldiers 2,000 years ago and its famous yew tree is through to be up to 5,000 years old. Local legend has it that Pontius Pilate was born near this very tree.
And the 79-mile fracture that splits Scotland from Inverness to Fort William, known as the Great Glen, is home to four lochs (including Loch Ness), one Kinloch, four rivers and the Caledonian Canal. But the history is only part of what makes our Glens magical. Golden Eagles, Red Squirrels, Otters and Ospreys call them home and unforgettable walking routes and pure, unadulterated beauty make them a magnet for local, visitors and film crews alike.
Glen Nevis has provided the spectacular backdrop to Braveheart, Highlander and Harry Potter, Glen Sligachan, on the Isle of Skye, is where Lady MacDuff and her children met their untimely end in MacBeth and James Bond drove through Glen Etive on his return to his childhood home of Skyfall.