Venturing into the Scottish Highlands!

After spending two weekends settling into Edinburgh as a new visiting student, I finally got the chance to venture out into the Highlands of Scotland! As an avid Outlander fan and nature-lover, travelling to the Highlands was an obvious must. So, bright (or more aptly, very foggy) and early on Sunday morning I hopped into a coach bus at 7:30 am to make the trek up to Glencoe and Loch Ness on a CityLife UK tour – which is offered for young international visitors at an affordable price.

We started out our tour with about an hour drive to Loch Lomond (conveniently just the right amount of time for a nice nap). With just about twenty minutes to spend at the Loch, we all had the chance to walk through the charming village, take in the sights of a cloudy Loch Lomond from the pier, and grabbed some much-needed coffee or hot drinks. Next up on our adventure – Glencoe!

As we drove through the Highlands we were serenaded with “Skyfall” courtesy of Adele’s vocals – which reached nearly the same heights as the mountains that we drove through. Making a stop at the Three Sisters of Glencoe I was immediately grateful I had decided to invest in a raincoat – having two hands free (not having to hold an umbrella, that is) was necessary to attempt to take pictures of the mountains in the strong wind. As you can see evidenced by the picture below – it was a *wee* bit windy. But the Three Sisters most certainly did not disappoint and held up to their reputation as one of the Scottish Highlands must-sees! Humming the Skye Boat Song (Outlander’s theme song) while I gazed up in awe around me, I was able to see that no one had lied when they said the Highlands of Scotland are truly breath-taking. The rain and wind did not make the experience any less enjoyable but instead added to the atmospheric location and served to back-up the feeling of wonderment at just how amazing the views were.

A gusty day at the Three Sisters of Glencoe

We ended our day trip with our visit to Loch Ness, at Fort Augustus. *Almost* as attention-grabbing as the beautiful Loch itself was the twenty-something I witnessed who decided to take a dip in the (presumably freezing) Loch in hunt of the elusive Loch Ness monster. (Do not try this at home). Unfortunately, I was unable to spot the infamous Nessie, but sitting by the shore of the legendary Loch Ness with a hot meal of fish and chips from a local restaurant more than made up for it. (If you haven’t tried the fish and chips here yet – make sure you do!)

A view of Loch Ness taken near Fort Augustus

Nearby Loch Ness, I was able to take a pleasant (if a bit rainy) stroll through Fort Augustus, home to a section of the Caledonian Canal. The canal cuts across the Highlands from Fort William to Inverness and created a new trade route in the Highlands when its original construction was completed about 200 years ago. Beyond the intricate canal system I was able to take a peek at, Fort Augustus was home to cutesy little shops and beautiful buildings surrounded by flowering gardens.

Shops and Homes in Fort Augustus

So, if you’re deciding where to travel to in Scotland and you’re an Outlander fan, or a fan of many of the other numerous movies and t.v shows that have been filmed in the Highlands of Scotland – venturing out to the Highlands is a must. After all, there’s a reason the Highlands have been the set locations for so many productions; there is an astonishing, natural beauty to be found in the Highlands that you can not find anywhere else in the world. The Highlands are a remarkable place for anyone to visit – verdant hills and glens, soaring peaks which disappear into the clouds, tranquil lochs, and charming villages – all beautiful sights that will make for an unforgettable visit to the Scottish Highlands.

By Jenna