What Are the Mountains in Scotland Like?
Scotland is synonymous with mountains. When you ask someone to imagine Scotland, they almost always picture the rugged hills and mountains of the Highlands, and, because our imaginations often lean a little too heavily into stereotypes, they may also imagine a man in a kilt playing the bagpipes … However, given that roughly half of Scotland is technically ‘highlands’, this stereotype of majestic mountains is completely justified! Here at Wild Walk Scotland, we love the epic hikes and climbing routes through the Scottish Highlands so much that we founded our own tour company. We also love nothing more than to share our passion for Scotland’s mountains and hills with visitors. If anything in this brief guide inspires you, please take a look at our Guided Walking Holidays in Scotland.
What are the Scottish Highlands?
The term ‘Scottish Highlands’ refers to the large section of Scotland that is north-west of the Highland Boundary Fault. This land has distinct distributions of rocks, minerals, and geographical features, all giving the Highlands their own unique look and feel. It’s why anyone who has been to the Highlands could pick out a photograph of it out of a line-up of one hundred photos!
The Cultural History of the Highlands
The highlanders also held on to Gaelic, their native language, far longer than their lowland counterparts. In fact, many highlanders to this day still speak Gaelic as their first language. Even the various highland accents, when speaking English or Scots, sound significantly different to lowlanders. This is something many guests are surprised by as the majority of Scotland’s celebrities and cultural ambassadors come from its two biggest cities: Glasgow and Edinburgh — both of which are in the lowland half of Scotland. There are many Highland accents, but they tend to be softer and a little more musical than lowland accents.
Some Top Destinations in the Scottish Highlands
If you’re planning to visit the Scottish Highlands, you’ll no doubt want a little advice on the best destinations. There is so much staggering natural beauty in this part of the world that you can’t really choose a bad spot, but there are definitely better places we recommend exploring.
The Western Highlands and the Isle of Skye
Moving along the Western Highlands, you’ll see Scotland’s Atlantic coast, the wide river valley Glen Licht, the serenely remote peninsula of Glen Elg, and Scotland’s most popular island: the Isle of Skye. There are so many wonderful sights along this particular section of the Scottish Highlands for us to mention everything here. But if epic views of hills, valleys, mountains, and islands appeals to you, check out our Western Highlands & Isle of Skye Walking Tour.
West Highland Way
Another hugely popular way to explore the Scottish Highlands is to walk the West Highland Way. This iconic walking route has become a bucket-list journey for avid hikers and campers around the world — and as soon as you take a look at the scenery, it’s easy to see why! With ancient oak forests, rugged hills, and awe-inspiring waterfalls, this route through the western Highlands more than deserves the hype. You might enjoy our private tour experience called Waterfalls & Whisky on the West Highland Way; this is a guided walk along part of the West Highland Way, with waterfalls, ancient ruins, and a wee dram of whisky in one of Scotland’s oldest pubs.
The Outer Hebrides
Going even more Westerly, we’ve got the Outer Hebrides — a collection of remote islands that share all of the same features with the mainland highlands — they just so happen to be islands. The Outer Hebrides are a wonderful combination of wild, rugged hills, green pastures, and pristine white-sand beaches. For many, the remote, almost-untouched aspect of the Outer Hebrides is the exact kind of wilderness they’ve always expected (and desired) from their big Scottish adventure. Check out our Western Hebrides Hiking Tour if you’d like to know more.
There is, of course, so much more to say about the Scottish Highlands, but we hope we’ve captured your imagination and curiosity at least a little. Everyone at Walk Wild Scotland adores the Highlands and we want to spread this love to as many people as possible. If you have any specific questions about the tours mentioned in this guide, please feel free to get in touch. Otherwise, what are you waiting for? Your big adventure into the Scottish Highlands could be just a few clicks away!