25 Places In Scotland That Are Straight Out Of A Fantasy Novel
Who needs Westeros? We've got Wester Ross.
1. Strathaird peninsula, Isle of Skye
This beautiful, barely-populated peninsula in the south of Skye is home to the ruins of the Iron Age hill fort Dun Ringill. Most of the peninsula is now owned by conservation charity The John Muir Trust.
2. Smoo Cave, Durness
3. Knapps Loch, Kilmacolm, Inverclyde
4. The Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye
This series of blue, inviting interconnected pools and waterfalls in Glen Brittle might look tropical, but they're actually freezing cold (well, they are in Scotland after all). Despite that fact, they're very popular with wild swimmers.
5. Glen Coe, Highland
This sweeping, dramatic, and precipitous glen was carved from the surrounding landscape by glaciers during the last ice age. It's generally considered to be one of the most spectacular places in Scotland.
6. Dunottar Castle, Aberdeenshire
This Game Of Thrones style fortress is actually Dunnottar – from the Scottish Gaelic Dùn Fhoithear, which means "fort on the shelving slope". The site is thought to have been occupied since Pictish times (5000 BC to 700 AD).
7. Buachaille Etive Mòr, Highland
The "Great Herdsman of Etive" dominates the skyline for miles around and can easily be seen from the scenic A82 road. The name actually refers to a ridge rather than an individual mountain: Its most recognisable peak is Stob Dearg (pictured).
8. Handa Island, Sutherland
9. Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe
Kilchurn Castle is a ruined 15th century fortress that sits at the north eastern end of Loch Awe in Argyll. It was the ancestral home of Clan Campbell, but was abandoned after being badly damaged by lightning in 1760.
10. Callanish Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis
These ominous standing stones on the Isle of Lewis are arranged in a cruciform shape. According to legend, early on midsummer morning an entity known as the "Shining One" walks through the stones to the centre of the circle.
11. Portree, Isle of Skye
12. Loch Shieldaig, Wester Ross
Who needs Westeros when you've got Wester Ross? In the centre of this highland loch sits Shieldaig Island, which is covered in mature pine trees despite the fact the surrounding hills and mountains are bare: It's thought they were planted in Victorian times.
13. Rannoch Moor, Perth and Kinross
14. Neist Point, Isle of Skye
15. Linlithgow Palace, West Lothian
Linlithgow Palace is a large, eerie and well preserved ruin about 15 miles west of Edinburgh. It was one of the main residences of the kings and queens of Scotland until 1603, but fell into disuse and burned down in 1746.
16. Iona, Inner Hebrides
This small island in the Inner Hebrides is famous for its tranquil beauty. In the Early Middle Ages it was an important part of the ancient Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata and was a centre of spiritual learning for around four centuries.
17. St. Monans Jetty, Fife
18. Sgùrr Thearlaich, Isle of Skye
Sgùrr Thearlaich is one of several peaks that form the Black Cuillin ridge in Skye, which also features a hard to climb "Inaccessible Pinnacle". You can watch an incredible video of Scottish trial cyclist Danny Macaskill riding to the top of the pinnacle here.
19. Seilebost, Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides
Seilebost, and the similar neighbouring beach of Luskentyre, are often described as the best beaches in Scotland thanks to their bright, white sands contrasting with a tropical looking (but chilly) turquoise sea.
20. Eilean Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh
21. Culross, Fife
This isn't a historical theme park: It's actually the Royal Burgh of Culross, a small town that has hardly changed since the 17th century. The Town House (built in 1648) still features a witches' prison.
22. Finnich Glen, Drymen
23. Loch Achtriochtan, Highland
24. Ben Nevis, Lochaber, Highland
Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK (4,408 feet) and attracts around 125,000 visitors each year. The summit is covered in snow for around eight months a year, making it one of the best places in Britain to try ice climbing.
25. The Storr, Isle of Skye
These weirdly shaped, otherworldly rock pinnacles were a filming location for the 2012 Ridley Scott-directed science fiction film Prometheus. The largest of these ancient peaks is the 50 metre high Old Man of Storr.
Eat your heart out, Middle-earth.