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Geography of Scotland

The geography of Scotland is varied and dramatic. From its rocky high mountains to its deep valleys, rivers, lochs and diverse coastline, Scotland attracts visitors from around the world to revel in the majestic beauty of this beautiful country.

Scotland’s coastline runs for over 11,000km, and includes a wide range of features, from white sand beaches in the Hebrides, to deep sea lochs reaching far inland, sheltered pebble enclaves and wide open expanses of sand in Aberdeenshire. This exceptionally diverse and beautiful coastline offers something for everyone. Wherever your self-catering base, the coast will always be an achievable target for a day trip – whether you decide to indulge in water-sports, bird watching, whale spotting or even some ‘wild swimming’, Scotland’s coast is sure to delight.

Scotland’s islands are prolific and varied, with exposed Atlantic coasts and sheltered leeward coves. Each of Scotland’s islands is home to many different species of flora and fauna, as well as varied rock formations and features, from the towering Paps of Jura in Argyll, to the flat landscapes of some of the Orkney islands.

The naturally diverse geography of Scotland means that wherever you choose your self-catering accommodation base, there are inevitably going to be interesting and varied features all around you. Ancient forests and woodlands, National Parks and public gardens, rivers, mountains, canals, lochs and coastline – Scotland’s own unique geography makes it the perfect destination for anyone hoping to enjoy a spectacular self-catering break.

The Scottish Highlands

The Highlands are wild and picturesque.  Their rocky, barren summits were chiselled by glaciers and the rainfall of many centuries.  Purple heather clothes the lower slopes in late summer.  The valleys are usually steep-sided glens, with a long, narrow loch at the bottom.

South of the Highlands are the Grampian Mountains, highest in the British Isles.  Ben Nevis, the tallest peak, rises to 4,406 feet (1,343 metres).

Central Lowlands and Southern Uplands

The Central Lowlands and Southern Uplands run from west to east, and the greatest length is nearly 90 miles (145 kilometres).  But there are only 30 miles (48 kilometres) across the narrow waist of Scotland, from the head of the Firth of Clyde in the west to the Firth of Forth in the east.

Here is Scotland’s chief farming district, from coast to coast wonderful stretches of water weave through rolling Border hills, past delightful country towns to the south of Scotland’s two largest cities.  In the east is Edinburgh, Scotland’s historic capital, and in the west Glasgow, a great metropolitan area. Almost 90 percent of Scotland’s population live in the Lowlands.