Conventional wisdom has it that the Scottish Highlands tour is a must for the travellers' bucket list because it is as beautiful as one can imagine. The highlands, with an average elevation of 20 metres above sea level, have an eye-catching beauty to behold.
The unbelievable majesty of the highlands, therefore, puts the topography amongst the best in the entire northern part of Great Britain.
Visiting the gob-smacking highlands can best be experienced by a day tour on a comfy bus tour for 12 hours (8AM– 8PM), only dedicated for the tourist that truly wants the experience.
The awestruck tourists seem to find out the hilly beauty in a new form.
THE JUMPING-OFF POINT
As you reach Scotland, visit www.visitscotland.com which has a number of tour offers for unique areas, along with 1-7-day jaunts.
Tourists are offered different packages, depending on time and money. Offers are also available in the hotels and motels where tourists stay. Even in the bedrooms, package flyers and booklets are kept on bedside tables for that maximum convenience.
As most of the highland-bound tourist buses either start from Glasgow or Edinburgh, it is better to stay in hotels which are closer to the bus-stops since the journey starts early morning.
The journey starts with a welcoming speech by the very eloquent and well-versed driver, who also provides commentary for the rest of the journey. The bus stops for about 8-10 minutes at each attraction so visitors have time to get a better look or take photos.
MUST-SEE THINGS DURING THE DAYLONG TRIP
Loch Ness is a 36-kilometre-long fresh water lake, situated 16 metres above sea level. Its mesmerizingly bluish water colour is incredibly soothing to the eye, and things get even more pleasant as sunlight is reflected. The lake is also famous for alleged sightings of the cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster, also known affectionately as "Nessie.”
Inverness: Administrative Centre and Traditional Highlands Capital
Situated on the bank of the river Ness, Inverness is the capital of the highlands. The name originated from a Gaelic word, which is loosely translated to ‘Mouth of the Ness (River).’
With its very clean and pleasantly nippy weather, the small city is very attractive, with its several bridges built across the Ness.
As the journey comes to the stopover halt for a small break, the highlands’ big bulls are seen roaming around in the nearby area. Though physically intimidating with its massive body structure, they are constantly stroked by the tourists. Bulls also seem to be welcoming of tourists, as they rarely get angry or show discomfort.
With long pointy horns, and beautiful woolly hair all over their body, these bulls can withstand the very chilly weather, and forage around for survival. They come in different colours, but the mute red-maroon is the most common colour.
As the bus takes you to the shopping areas, pop into nearby shopping centres for typical artefacts or handicrafts from the highlands. Though seemingly a bit exorbitant, some affordable items can be found upon a time-consuming search. It is better to buy some as typical highlands souvenirs are very rare, and not to be found anywhere else.
LOCH NESS CRUISE
As the bus arrives at Clansman Harbour, the driver lets interested tourists get down and catch the hourly cruise that lasts for an hour, bound for the Urquhart Castle.
The bus can also reach Urquhart Castle in an hour, thereby catching up with the cruise ship and the tourists who went aboard.
On the Ness cruise, the beautiful vista can be experienced with a stunning view of the loch, listening to underwater sounds via sonar, and an on-board bar.
Known since the early 13th century, Urquhart Castle is one of the known attractions in the Scottish Highlands. Nowadays, the remaining ruins are seen from above the nearby hilly areas. There is a jetty located near the castle. It is better to take a quick visit after the cruise ship is docked there.
This A-listed monument was erected in 1952 to commemorate the British martyrs who died in World War II. The bronze statue sculpture is about 17 feet tall, and has three prominent British soldiers. Tourists have mixed responses to it; some pay homage, some blankly stare at it, and some just snap pictures of, or with it.
Photo courtesy: Samiul Raijul