Scotland may not seem like the best weekend away at first. It’s cold, grey and awfully wet. However, if you take a closer look; it’s full of hidden gems. Many might even believe it was the land of magical creatures. There’s a reason its scenery has been used time and time again in fantasy films.
Isle of Harris
The Isle of Harris is an island at the north of the Outer Hebrides and Western Isles. It just had to get a mention due to its breath-taking scenery and almost Caribbean looking beaches. There are rocky coastlines but also white sandy beaches like the Borve beach. People often go swimming, snorkelling and even scuba diving in these chilly waters. Certain times of the year allow for great surfing. Like much of the north of Scotland, it’s an island of peace and tranquillity.
Mount Everest? Pffft, Scotland’s got its own magnificent summit. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK standing over 4400 feet above sea level. It sits majestically in the heart of Fort William towering over the City. Due to its positioning on the hemisphere, the top of the summit can reach Arctic conditions. Rewarding sights await those that take the challenge of hiking to its peak but there’s always the cable car for the shyer adventurer.
All over Scotland you’ll find scenes that look like they’ve been taken right out of a book of fairytales. The Dunnottar Castle is just that; a hypnotic medieval fortress sat on a rocky cliff top. It sits almost detached from the mainland 2 miles south of Stonehaven. The stones and towers of this castle are of 15th and 16th century. However, the fortress is thought to have been created in the early middle ages. It’s full of Scotland’s rich and colourful history.
Another of Scotland’s beautiful castles is Balmoral Castle. It’s much more modern but captivating nonetheless. The estate sits in Royal Deeside near Ballater. It’s been the Royal Family’s Scottish home since Prince Albert purchased it for Queen Victoria in 1853. The original castle was not big enough for Queen Victoria and was demolished and replaced 100 yards north of the old site with a new building in 1856. This magnificent palace still stands today and has been passed through generations of the Royal family.
If you love Harry Potter then this is one for you! Several locations in Scotland were used for the Harry Potter films due to the country’s spellbinding scenery. The Steall Waterfall in Glen Nevis was used for a backdrop of the Quidditch stadium and was also notably the setting used when Harry battled a dragon in the Goblet of Fire. It’s actually the second tallest waterfall in Britain. The single drop reaches almost 400 feet long and is spectacular to view. It’s in the south of Fort William and connects with the river that flows from Ben Nevis.
As if this list wasn’t magical enough. Scotland has its own mesmerizing fairy pools! The pools are a natural waterfall phenomenon in Scotland. The water in the pools is crystal clear and many take a dunk in these icy cool blues. As they’re so clear, the greenery around the pools reflects into the water giving off an unnatural, mystical effect.
These entrancing pools are located near Carbost village on the Isle of Skye. There is an enchanting walkway leading towards the river with rocks, heather and grass. Many different waterfalls are seen throughout the pathway and there are several different pools to either brave or view.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab those walking boots. Put on that hiking coat. It’s time to get outdoors and get exploring. There’s a lot more Scotland has to offer than you could have ever dreamed of.
By Simone Kelly - Online Journalism Intern