From weird and wonderful wildlife to ancient castles to perfect picnic spots, Wilderness Scotland’s Meike van Krimpen takes a closer look at some breathtaking photographs you won’t believe were taken in Scotland.
1. Clachan Sands, Isle of North Uist
There is nothing quite like riding on an epic expanse of white sand. These sands are hard and compact, so great to bike on. You can hardly believe that you’re in Scotland when you’re riding on a white sand beach in North Uist. On one side bright turquoise waters, and on the other side colourful flowers dotting the green machair. Beautiful. More information on The Hebridean Trail.
2. Aigas Gorge, River Beauly
The River Beauly is a calm and easy river perfect for novice canoeists. The river features a wide and steep sided gorge that makes you feel like you’re in Lord of the Rings canoeing with Legolas. The banks of the river are teaming with lush vegetation and wildlife, so you stand a good chance of seeing ospreys and otters in their natural habitat. More information on open canoeing along the River Beauly.
3. Ruins of Tioram, Loch Moidart
These breathtaking ruins are what remains of the Medieval Castle of Tioram. The castle sits on the tidal island of Eileen Tioram and can be accessed during low tides on foot via a sandy causeway or by sea kayak. Entry is forbidden, however, as what remains is no longer structurally sound. The castle has a long and interesting history due to its strategic location controlling the waters in the Shiel estuary. A must-see for any history buff. More information on the Jacobite Coast.
4. Ardheslaig, Applecross Peninsula
This is one of the stellar views that a determined road cyclist is rewarded with when taking on the Bealach na Ba, known as the highest and hardest mountain road climb in the UK. About 9km long with an ascent of 623 meters and steep gradients of 20%, this is not for the faint hearted! The route takes you past the shores of Loch Torridon and Shieldaig, and clings to the cliffs of the Applecross coastline. The corner pictured is close to the village of Ardheslaig. More information on the UK’s highest road climb – the Bealach na Ba.
5. Loch Moidart, Lochaber
Lying west of Fort William, this is one of the most magnificent places on the West Coast. Loch Moidart is one of the various sea lochs on the West Coast and it’s a fantastic place to go sea kayaking – as the waters are sheltered and there’s plenty to see. Explore the dramatic ruins of castle Tioram, or visit Eileen Shona “the beautiful island”. The area is part of Lochaber Geopark and has been sculpted by the forces of nature. Volcanic activity, glaciation and erosion have all attributed to the area’s unique appearance. More information on Loch Moidart.
6. The Old Man of Storr, the Isle of Skye (© Wilderness Guide Tim Francis)
Probably one of the most photographed geological features in Scotland, this jagged protrusion is known as the Old Man of Storr and can be found on the Isle of Skye. The Storr is part of the Trotternish ridge and the walk to the summit (3-5 hours) takes you through a primordial and rugged landscape. As the result of an ancient landslide, the area underneath the Storr cliffs are peppered with weirdly shaped pinnacles - the Old Man being the most famous. More information on the Isle of Skye wilderness walking.
7. Camusdarach Beach, Morar
This glorious sunset was captured while camping on Camusdarach Beach. The beach is situated on the coastline between Arisaig and Mallaig. You can see the dramatic outlines of the isles of Rum and Eigg in the distance. Rum and Eigg are the two largest islands out of the Small Isles and can be easily distinguished by their unique silhouettes. This beach is known for its tropical white sands and as the setting of the beach scenes in Local Hero (1983). More information on the West Coast and Inner Hebrides.
8. Loch An Eilein, Cairngorms National Park
Nestled in between the pines of Rothiemurchus Forest, this stunning picture perfectly captures Scotland’s autumn beauty. Circumnavigating the loch takes about two hours and is totally worth it. Loch An Eilein was voted in 2010 as Britain’s best picnic spot, not surprising as on various locations around the loch you can enjoy fantastics views of the loch and the nearby mountains. You can just make out a small island in this picture, which is home to the ruins of a 13th Century castle. More information on the Cairngorms National Park.
9. An Sgurr, the Isle of Eigg
Walkers that take on the Sgurr of Eigg are rewarded with spectacular views of the Small Isles, Skye and Ardnamurchan. This picture was taken almost at the top of An Sgurr by Wilderness Guide Kirsty Chuchla, with the smaller island of Muck in the distance. The walk itself is moderate, with a fantastic little scramble to the summit and takes between 3 and 4 hours. Moreinformation on the self-guided tour around Arisaigand the Small Isles.
This fantastic picture of a gannet mid flight was taken by Nick Smith on the coast by Knoydart. The Knoydart Peninsula is home to a vast array of wildlife, including this photogenic gannet. The gannet is a colonial breeder whose nesting grounds can predominantly be found in Scotland. More information on the Knoydart peninsula walk.