The lochs and glens of Scotland make up some of the most impressive landscapes in the world. They offer breathtaking splendor, perfect tranquility and clean, pure Scottish air, everything you need in short to unwind, relax and take a step back from the busy pace of twenty-first century life.
Far More to the Scottish Lochs than Nessie
Scotland has more than 31,000 freshwater lochs. There are also many salt water sea lochs or fjords along the coastline. Most of the lochs, whether seawater or freshwater, are to be found in the west or north of Scotland. They are invariably stunning and attract many rare species of fauna and flora; from beavers, water voles, golden eagles to freshwater pearl mussels and saxifrage. Perhaps the most famous – even infamous – is Loch Ness – home to its very own monster; Nessie. Mythical creatures aside, Loch Ness is well worth visiting in its own right. It follows an ancient geographical fault line and is surrounded by miles of natural woodland and breath taking mountain views.
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Loch Lomond is perhaps as well known as Loch Ness and certainly deserves to be so. It is the largest expanse of freshwater in the British Isles. When visiting, you may well be lucky enough to see a golden eagle or the rare yellow saxifrage. You can find out more about both the wildlife and the many water based activities available at Loch Lomond at http://www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/learning/our-wildlife/menu-id-301.html.
Glens of Scotland
The magnificent glens of Scotland are deep mountain valleys, usually narrow and often with water courses running along them. They were carved out of the landscape by glacial erosion during the last Ice Age, and are now home to some simply stunning fauna and flora. The most beautiful glen is often regarded as being Glen Affric because of its beautiful lochs, magnificent mountain peaks and largest ancient pine forest in Scotland.
Great Glen is equally stunning and stretches for more than 117 km. It is, in fact, a giant geological fracture that begins at Inverness and stretches across the Highlands to Fort William and Loch Linnhe, passing a series of linked lochs and the mighty Ben Nevis itself; the highest mountain in the British Isles, at 1,344 metres or 4,409 feet. Ben is a Scottish word meaning peak and covers all sizes. Peaks over 3,000 feet or 914.4 metres are also known as ‘Monros’ and many climbers come to Scotland every year with the intention of “bagging” or scaling as many as they can. For more information about these iconic mountains, go to http://www.visitscotland.com/about/nature-geography/mountains-hills/munros.
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The lochs and glens of Scotland are truly beautiful; and that beauty is wild and untamed by man. The Highlands are, in fact, the most sparsely populated area in Great Britain; one of the very few places where you really can get away from it all. A great way to tour the area is by car or coach. Coach holidays in the UK are usually inexpensive, and you benefit from being able to concentrate on the views around you and listen to an experienced and knowledgeable guide.
One last note: loch is Scottish for lake. Be careful how you pronounce it; it is Loch as in Bach, not lock. For more information visit here http://www.lochsandglens.com.