Inveraray. Credit VisitScotland/ Kenny Lam
Scotland close up
Here we take a more in depth look at some of the fantastic places you can visit during your stay in Scotland. Lots of visitors come to Scotland to play golf, so we have included some information on this as well.
Highlands and Islands Close Up
The Highlands have some of the most spectacular scenery in Britain, with rugged mountains, remote glens, and shimmering lochs. Inverness is the main city, situated at the north end of Loch Ness. Nearby is the site of the Battle of Culloden, and further to the east is Cawdor Castle, which has associations with Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’.
Further north are towns such as Dornoch, with its beautiful cathedral, and near the town of Golspie lies enchanting Dunrobin Castle. At the very top of the Scottish mainland you reach John O’Groats, with Scrabster lying further west, where ferries leave for Orkney.
South of Poolewe is Inverewe Gardens and the majestic Eilean Donan Castle, one of the most photographed castles in Scotland. West of Eilean Donan is Kyle of Lochalsh and the bridge to the Isle of Skye. Aviemore and the Cairngorms are popular for walking, outdoor sports and wildlife watching.
One of the largest and popular Scottish Islands. The main town is the small and attractive Portree, a good base to explore the island. On the north of the isalnd is Uig, a small port where ferries leave for the Western Isles. Main attraction on Skye are Talisker Distillery, Dunvegan Castle, Armadale Castle and Museum of the Isles and the Aros Experience in Portree which describes island life fron 1700 to the present day.
A group of islands 112 miles north of the Scottish mainland, with a proud Viking heritage. Main islands are Mainland, Unst and Yell. Major attractions are the historical remains, from the Stone Age to the time of the Vikings. must see visits include Jarlshof, remains of an extensive Stone Age settlement, Mousa Broch, a stone-built defensive tower from around 1,000BC and the medieval Scalloway Castle built in 1600
Green and fertile islands with thriving farms, well known for its cattle and cheeses. Orkney has 17 islands, main ones being Mainland, Hoy, South Ronaldsay and Shapinsay. The major attractions are Skara Brae, stone age settlement, Maes Howe, burial mound, and the Ring of Brogar, stone circles which are 1,000 years older than the Pyramids. These archaeological remains are one of Scotland’s five World Heritage Sites.
Also known as the Outer Hebrides, lying west of the Scottish mainland. Main islands are Lewis and Harris, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist, Eriskay and Barra, popular for scenery, traditional skills such as weaving, and archaeological remains. Callanish, a circle of standing stones on Lewis, is one of Scotland’s most famous landmarks, about 4,000 years old.
Types of Courses
Scottish courses have usually evolved rather than been manufactured. There are three kinds of courses: links courses on sandy soil along a sea shore, where the wind often presents an additional challenge, upland courses which are on the hills, and finally the parkland courses with lush fairways and lots of trees and water hazards.
These are the courses on which the Open is played, and are the best known. They include Carnoustie (north of Dundee), Muirfield (20 minutes east of Edinburgh), Royal Troon (west coast, south of Glasgow), St Andrews (east coast, 1 hour north of Edinburgh) and Turnberry (west coast, south of Glasgow).
These are courses popular with Scottish golfers in the know, but which overseas golfers often miss! Here are just a few: Boat of Garten (Highland course near Inverness), Crail (south of St Andrews – 200 years old), Gullane No 1 (in the famous golfing area of East Lothian), Royal Aberdeen (sixth oldest golf club in the world).
Central Scotland Close Up
Argyll, the Isles, Loch Lomond, Stirling and the Trossachs
Stretching from Alloa, a small town on the Firth of Forth, to Tiree, a beautiful island off the west coast, central Scotland Includes Loch Lomond and the city of Stirling, with its historic castle.
The Trossachs, a place of woods, hills and beautiful lochs, includes Loch Katrine, where you can enjoy a short cruise on the SS Sir Walter Scott. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs was the first national park of Scotland
Islay is an island with eight distilleries and features the Kildalton Cross, a most important early Christian monument.
Mull, 45 minutes by ferry from Oban. Tobermory, the main town, has brightly painted houses around its harbour.
Iona, a place of pilgrimage, lies to the south west of Mull. St Columba landed here in 563 AD and spread Christianity throughout Scotland.
Beautiful countryside surrounding Edinburgh, with many historic houses.
Places to visit include Direleton Castle and Gardens, Tantallon Castle, Lennoxlove House, Rosslyn Chapel (The 15th century chapel was featured in the novel/film ‘Da Vinci Code’) and Glenkinchie Distillery.