I will remain eternally grateful to my parents for giving me opportunities to explore UK regions that I would never have thought to explore myself. When I was a sulky teenager, my parents packed up the car and we took the epic eight hour drive north to the Scottish Highlands, which is really Britain’s true wilderness. Needless to say, my moody teenage strops were humbled as we embarked on a journey down narrow roads passing pine forests, moors and mountains with wildlife like no other in Britain through this sparsely inhabited wilderness. Right after you leave Inverness, it feels like civilization stops and the rest of the world has ceased to matter.
A holiday to the deepest reaches of The Highlands is really targeted at the outdoor type, so unless you intend on getting fitted for a kilt, or intend to blow several hundred on a bagpipe to frighten the neighbours with upon your return, leave your Mastercard at home and bring your boots instead.
The Highlands have plenty to challenge any keen outdoor sports enthusiast, Scotland’s “Right to Roam” access law, permits you to explore the whole region at free will however, I can suggest a few popular, well-beaten trails which will give you the best views of one of the UK’s most beautiful regions. Two incredible walks worth mentioning are Stac Pollaidh and Suilven, both in the Western Highlands near the largest settlement of Assynt. Stac Pollaidh (or Stack Polly as the English prefer to say) gives great views over Assynt and you can of course see Suilven from here.
Whilst I recommend taking a good quality OS map it is always worth checking out what you’re signing up for with Scotland’s very own internet guide to walking the Scottish Munroes. The recommended route up and around Stac Pollaid takes between 2 and 4 hours on a very easy, well laid path, yet to reach the summit, it does involve a bit of scrambling but you can miss this part out and just continue the main circuit, however you will get the maximum benefits of the view if you choose to take the scramble! Suilven is a very long day out and if you want to complete it properly, you will need to set off very early and take plenty of drinking water. The walk to the mountain is a long one, however very interesting, although not flat, it isn’t particularly tough but snacks and energy supplies are vital. The final ascent is a short but steep one, with breath taking views and if you’re really well prepared then the reward of a hot flask of coffee and some Scottish Tablet (that’s fudge to you and me!).