Scotland located in the northern reaches of the United Kingdom is a country well-known for its spectacular scenery of highlands, rolling hills, green fields, islands, rugged coastline and Lochs such as the world famous Loch Ness. The country is also known for its lively and friendly cities, rich heritage dating back thousands of years with many significant archeological sites, many of them located on the approximately 700 islands that lie within Scotland’s waters. Most of the islands are in groups to the west (called the Inner Hebrides and Outer Hebrides) and to the north of the mainland within Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands groups.
The sun may rarely shine and the country maybe surrounded by the brisk waters of the North Sea to the east (where the world renowned North Sea Oil Industry is located out of the east coast city of Aberdeen), and the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and north.
Edinburgh’s, the countries capital, is a great city for tourist as it has a lot of character and a deep history! Close to the city center there is an old volcanic sill you can climb called Arthur's Seat, which provides a magnificent view across the city.
From Edinburgh you can make a day trip around the coast up to St Andrews which is about a two hour bus ride north. Of course with St Andrews being the home of golf, I would walked the world famous Old Course, it’s certainly a very ‘natural’ course with hardly any landscaping. I checked out the University too, with its most recent famous student being Prince William.
From Edinburgh you can also go on a day or multi day tour to the Highlands in central Scotland to see places and attractions such as Stirling, Glencoe, Ben Nevis, Loch Ness and the original town of Perth – home of the happiest UK residents apparently.
The majority of the United Kingdom, Scotland in particular, reminds me a lot of New Zealand in many ways, with the three main differences being they talk slightly differently (to the point you can sometimes not understand them), Scotland also has a lot more stone buildings and their farms are cropping farms as opposed to dairy farms. Besides that, the natural environment is very similar looking.
A popular trip while in Scotland if you have a vehicle is to drive the coast road through the infamous Glencoe valley, Fort William (to see or hike Ben Nevis), cross the Skye Bridge to explore the Isle of Skye, continue north through the uninhabited highlands along rugged coastlines to Ullapool which is a major tourist attraction of northern Scotland.
You can continue to follow the winding coastal road around the northwest corner of the mainland and you’ll eventually make it to Thurso and John’o’Groats which is the most northern part of the United Kingdom mainland. Form here you can take a fantastic day trip to the Orkney Islands, or a ferry further north to the Shetland Islands!
The drive along the east coast is not as windy or rugged as the west coast, there is also more agricultural plains in the east, especially as you approach the port town of Invergordon and Inverness (The Cromarty Firth and Moray Firth are calm water ports the support the Oil Industry so don’t be surprised to see multiple oil rigs an anchor in these shallow water bays).
The section you’ll drive between Inverness and Aberdeen in the northeast and centered around the town of Huntly and Aberdeen is a region of scenic agricultural land, quaint fishing ports, rugged mountains and hills, and dramatic castles. Huntly and the surrounding region is a big producer of the world famous Scottish Whisky which is its most famous export! You can visit ones such as the Glen Dronach Distillery near Huntly and join a tour of the facility before being able to sample and purchase some of the world’s finest whisky.