Scotland's most important mountain range is bordered in the northwest by the Great Glen, which stretches straight from southwest to northeast. Moor and heath characterize the landscape, in which red deer and a large bird variety are at home. Most Munroes, as the Scottish mountains over 3000 feet are called, are located in the Grampians, including Ben Nevis, which at 1345 metres is the highest mountain in Great Britain. The Grampians are one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. Before the Atlantic, they were a continuation of the Appalachians.
Rare plants on the highest mountain in southern Scotland
With an elevation of 1,214 meters, Ben Lawers is the highest mountain in southern Scotland and is one of the legendary “Munros,” a term used for Scottish mountains higher than 3,000 feet. The massif is also famous for its rare plants, which were once common throughout Europe during the last Ice Age, but which have now found a refuge here. You can hike to the top and return to the trail parking lot on a loop trail. (6 hrs, 14.7 km, elevation gain: 920 m, loss: 1360 m)
Distillery and national historic landmark
This distillery was founded in 1798 and is a protected historic monument. Yet whisky is still made here and sold in the visitor center. The whisky is distilled in two wash stills (each can hold 13,000 liters) and two spirit stills (11,500 liters each), which are heated using steam.
Romantic castle with a 400 years old garden
On the Gask Ridge, a rocky ridge visible from afar, the Drummond clan built a compact residential tower for defence and observation purposes in the 15th century. 200 years later, when the times were less warlike and the clan had reached wealth and dignity, a noble country house and a terraced garden were added. In the 19th century the property was restored according to Victorian taste in a pseudo medieval style. The castle is well worth a visit because of its 400-year-old gardens, which Historic Scotland describes as “the best example of formal terraced gardens in Scotland”.
Massive castle on a rock in the sea
The massive castle from the early Middle Ages is enthroned on a rock in the sea. During the civil war the fortress played an important role. In 1651 Charles II was crowned king in the Scone Palace with the Scottish crown jewels (crown, sword and sceptre). These were then taken to Dunnotar. When the castle was finally besieged, the priest's wife smuggled out the insignia under her skirt.
The castle, depicted on the Royal Bank of Scotland's ten pound note, lies between the rolling hills of Angus near the North Sea. Queen Mum spent her childhood in the gloomy estate around which dark legends entwine. The Monster of Glamis, a deformed child, is said to have been walled into a castle chamber after his death. There is a place in the chapel that must never be occupied, since it is intended for the “Grey Lady”, who regularly haunts the castle as a ghost. Others murmur that a deceased count diced with the devil for his soul. Even today you can hear the clattering of the dice from time to time. Glamis Castle, owned by the Earl of Strathmore, and its over 5000 hectare grounds are open to the public.
Whisky distillery with a legendary pet cat
This whisky distillery near Crieff on the River Turret is said to be the oldest distillery in Scotland still in operation. Today's single malt distillery dates back to the year 1775, as stated on the distillery's label. Yet illegal whisky was being made here for 60 years prior to that. The Distillery is also famous for its legendary pet cat, Towser, which even made it into the “Guinness Book of World Records” by reaching a biblical age (for a cat) of nearly 24 years. It is said to have killed a total of 28,899 mice before dying in 1987. A statue of the cat was placed next to the distillery as a memorial in 1991. The distillery also has a visitor center.
Arts and Crafts from the Scottish Highlands
Heathergems offers something special among the many jewellery shops: jewellery in which heather from the Scottish Highlands is used. Whether decor for the home, earrings or necklaces: the forms are original and partly follow Celtic models.
Manor house at the nature reserve
The estate was home to the Kennedy-Erskine Clan from 1375 to 1980. The present house was designed by the architect William Adam based on French models and completed in 1730. In some rooms there are elaborate wall decorations. House of Dun borders the Montrose Basin Nature Reserve, where archaeologists have discovered 9,000 year old settlement traces.
Scottish Heritage Pass
Scottish wool weaving mill with fresh design
Knockando has had a wool spinning mill for over 230 years. It began with a small cottage where wool was spun from the surrounding farms and woven into blankets and textiles. In principle, little has changed. Today, fresh, contemporary designs are woven with traditional tweeds and classic wool blankets – all woven with local wool and craftsmanship that has always been at the heart of the Woolmill. Anyone who needs a kilt or a typical Scottish blanket will find what they are looking for in the shop.
Prehistoric pile dwellings on a beautiful freshwater lake
This freshwater lake is 23 kilometers long and is among the most beautiful lochs in Scotland. Loch Tay features the elongated form of an Ice-Age lake. The main road will take you along the northern shore while the southern shore is only accessible via a one-lane road. If you drive all the way around the lake, you can visit the Crannog Centre in Kenmore, where you can see reconstructions of prehistoric pile dwellings standing in the lake.
Themed route between Cairngorms and Moray Firth
Whoever travels to Scotland to study whisky cannot avoid this themed road. It leads through Speyside, the most important of all five whisky regions in Scotland. More than half of all Scottish distilleries are located in this region between Cairngorms and the Moray Firth. There are a total of seven active whisky distilleries, a historic distillery and a cooperage on the route – along with magnificent, sweeping landscapes and numerous castles and manor houses.
Bizarre cliffs and a long sandy beach
Two of the main attractions of the town between Aberdeen and Dundee are fascinating cliff formations and a long strip of coastline with an excellent beach. About 6 km from the coast stands the House of Dun, built in 1730. Farther south is Arbroath, famous for its 12th century abbey and a smoked haddock dish called “smokies.” The picturesque Glamis Castle near Forfair is home to King Macbeth in Shakespeare's play of the same name. Numerous legends are connected with the ancient estate.
Nice town in Scotland's geographical center
The village on the river Tummel counts 2,600 inhabitants and is the geographic center of Scotland. The place is worth a visit because of its pretty townscape, the gentle countryside and the castles in the surrounding area, especially Blair Castle. Also whiskey lovers get their money's worth. At the barrage at Loch Fascally a fish ladder with underwater viewing station was built, where one can watch thousands of salmon.
Whisky cooperage on the Malt Whisky Trail
Speyside Cooperage is the only Scottish cooperage that makes and repairs whisky barrels. Approximately 150,000 oak barrels are currently produced annually. Only a very small proportion of these are new, the predominant business being the refurbishment of used barrels. Old whisky barrels, the wood of which no longer gives off any aromas after being used several times, are prepared for reuse by sanding and charring. The cooperage has its own visitor center. The work on the barrels can be observed from a visitor gallery.
Coastal hike to Dunnottar Castle
The walk leads from the idyllic harbor town of Stonehaven via a spectacular coastal landscape to one of Aberdeenshire's most beautiful towns. Behind Stonehaven, the road climbs steeply. At the top you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view across the sea. In the distance Dunnottar Castle is already beckoning, which we approach over the cliffs and without further climbs. After a visit to the twelve ruins of Dunnottar Castle, we return the same way. (Roundtrip: 4.8 kilometers, 1:30 hours, up and down: 166 meters)