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Visit Scotland - Places to See
Trossach Hills are the collective name given to the wild highland area just east and northeast of Loch Lomond. The area is said to contain Scotland's finest scenery in moor, mountains, and lakes (loch), and has been famous in history and romance ever since Sir Walter Scott included vivid descriptions in "The Lady of the Lake" and "Rob Roy". In Gaelic, Trossach means "the bristled country", and is an illusion to its luxuriant vegetation. In spite of all their beauty and their fame, they are rather un-developed.

Stirling About equidistance between Glasgow and Edinburgh, Stirling is dominated by its impressive castle, which is perched on a 250 foot bassalt rock on the right bank of the Forth. The castle dates from an unknown age, although its main gate was built by James III. At one time, the castle was considered "the key to the Highlands", and today is the headquarters of the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, one of Britain's most famous regiments. The town of Stirling is quite ancient, and has a turbulent history... was the scene of several battles, notably the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, in which the Scots routed the army of Edward II. The castle has always figured in with the battles. It was once the home for Stuart Kings. Both Mary, and King James VI were crowned here. Surrounding the castle are many interesting buildings from the 16th and 17th century. Stirling warrants a leisurely visit.

Loch Lomand is the largest and most beautiful of Scottish lakes, and is known for its "bonnie banks". It is about 24 miles long, and at its widest point, stretches for 5 miles. At the south of the lake is a Lowland Loch of gentle hills and islands, but as it moves north, the loch changes to a narrow lake of Highland character, with moody cloud formations and rugged steep hillsides. The ruins of Lennox Castle are on Inchmurrin, one of the 30 islands of the loch. Another island has ecclesiastical ruins...another noted for its yew trees. The Loch is fed by at least 10 rivers. On the eastern side is Ben Lomond, rising to a height of 3192 feet. The song, "Loch Lomond" is supposed to have been composed by one of Bonnie Prince Charlie's captured followers on the eve of his execution. The "low road" of the song is the path through the underworld which his spirit will follow to his native land after death, more quickly than his friends who travel to Scotland by way of the ordinary "high road".

The Highlands, scene of some of the most barbaric events in the history of Britain, are also full of some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world... continuing into Wild Rannoch Moor.

Glencoe is located on the shores of Loch Leven, near where it joins Loch Linnhe. Glencoe runs from Rannoch Moor to Loch Leven, between some magnificent mountains, including 3766 foot Bidean Nam Bian. The village of Glencoe is where the Campbells massacred the MacDonalds in 1692, after being their guests for 12 days. Glencoe's massive splendor is often enshrouded by mist.

Fort William - Ben Nevis, Great Glen, Lock Locky, Lock Oich: Fort William, the capital of Lochaber, is the major touring center for the western Highlands. The area around Fort Willaim has been called "the land of bens, glens, and heroes". Dominating the area is Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain, rising 4418 feet. In summer, when it's clear of snow, there's a path to the summit. Fort William stands on the site of a fort built by General Monk in 1655, which was later pulled down to make way for the railroad. This area is know as Glen Mor or Great Glen, which, geologically is a fissure dividing the northwest of Scotland from the southeast, and contains Loch Locky, and Loch Ness. The ruins of Old Inverlocky Castle, scenes of the famous battle in 1645, are 2 miles north of Fort William.

Invergarry is a Highland center for fishing and deer stalking... is noted for its fine scenery. At Invergarry is the beginning of the road through the West Highland Glens and mountains, forming one famous road to the isles that terminates at Kyle of Lochalsh.

Kyle of Lochalsh: From here, one takes the ferry to the mystical Isle of Skye, off the northwest coast of Scotland.

Isle of Skye: Has inspired many of the best-loved and best known of Scottish ballads. On the 48-mile-long island, one can explore castle ruins, and dark, jagged hills. This fabled island is the most famous of the Hebrides. Some say you'll never want to go home again.

Armadale: The ferry from Isle of Skye might deposit you here. If not, make a stop to visit this magnificent park to see the Clan Donald Center to hear about 1300 years of clan history.

Loch Ness: Tourists usually make the popular excursion to Loch Ness from Inverness. At Loch Ness, one sets up an observation post to await the appearance of "Nessie" the legendary monster. Even if she doesn't appear, the Loch itself has splendid scenery.

Inverness is an ancient Scottish capital, bur rather a "plain Jane". It is a seaport, at the north end of Great Glen, lying on both sides of the Ness River. On Craig Phadrig are the remains of a fort dating from the 4th century B.C. King David built the first stone castle here around 1141. The Clock Tower is all that remains of a fort erected by Cromwell's army between 1651-57. There is still a castle here, but a modern one dating for 1835, which crowns a cliff of the east bank of the Ness. You might visit a Woolen Mill here.

Culloden Moor: Site of the crushing defeat of Prince Charlie's Scottish Clans. See Graves of the dead, Well of the dead, Cumberland Stone.

Sprey Valley: Stop to visit one of Scotland's famous whiskey distilleries.

Grampian Mountains ... with vast expanses of heather.

Balmoral Castle: Queen Victoria described this castle as "dear paradise". It was rebuilt in the Scottish baronial style by her beloved Albert, and completed in 1855. He had acquired the property in 1847, and as it proved too small, the present castle was built. Its principal feature is a 100-foot tower. On the grounds are many memorials to the royal family. Balmoral is still a private residence of the British sovereign, and no visits are allowed if the royal family is in residence. They are generally there during the summer months, after July 31.

Bramar: Home of the Royal Highland Games for over 900 years, held in late August or early September. They are usually attended by the Queen. As such, the village is over-run with tourists. Competitions include Tossing the Caber, Throwing the Hammer, Sprinting, Vaulting, Tug-o-war, Highland Dancing... and a bagpiping contest. 1/2 mile away is Braemar Castle, which is also a private residence.

Perth: From its position on the Tay, the ancient city of Perth was the capital of Scotland until the middle of the 15th century. Here the Highland meets the Lowland. Sir Walter Scott immortalized the royal burgh in "The Fair Maid of Perth". On Curfew Road you can still see the house of Cathering Glover, the fair maid herself. The main sightseeing attraction of this "fair city", is the Church of St. John the Baptist, of which the original foundation, it is believed, dates from Pictish times. However, the present choir dates from 1440 and the nave from 1490. In 1559, John Knox preached his famous sermon here attacking idolatry, and it caused a wave of iconoclasm to sweep across the land. The present church was restored as a World War I memorial in the late 1920's. In the church is the tombstone of James I, who was murdered by Sir Robert Graham.
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Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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