Scotland harbours some of the largest areas of wilderness left in Western Europe, a wildlife sanctuary where you are able to view golden eagles soar above the lochs and mountains of the northern Highlands, place otters tumbling in the kelp along the coasts of the Outer Hebrides, and view minke whales breach through shoals of mackerel off the coast of Mull. It’s also an adventure playground in which you are able to tramp the tundra plateaus of the Cairngorms, cascade along tightrope ridges strung between the rugged peaks of the Cuillin, sea kayak on the list of seal-ridden isles of the Outer Hebrides, and take a speed-boat ride to the surging white water of the Corryvreckan whirlpool.
Numerous castles, from the simple but prohibiting tower houses of Smailholm and Hermitage to the elaborate machicolated fortresses of Craigmillar and Caerlaverock, testify to the nation ‘s often tumultuous past. And conflicts that played a pivotal role in the building of a state are remembered and brought to life at sites such as Culloden and Bannockburn.
Be it the poetry of the crime fiction of Ian Rankin, Robert Burns or the songs of Emeli Sande, Scotland’s cultural exports are valued across the world every bit as much as tweed, whisky and tartan. And museums like the Maritime Museum in Aberdeen, the Discovery Point in Dundee and Glasgow’s Kelvingrove recall the sway of Scottish artists, engineers, explorers, writers and inventors.
A Taste of Scotland
A growing number of visitors have found that Scotland’s eateries have shaken off their old reputation for deep fried food and service that was unsmiling and will now compete with all the best in Europe. A new found admiration for top-quality steak and venison, local produce ensures that you can feast on fresh seafood only hours after it was caught that was raised just a few miles away out of your table, and vegetables that have been grown in your hotel’s own organic garden. And top it all away with a dram of single malt whisky – sophisticated, evocative and rich, the real taste of Scotland.