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Exploring the Enchantment of the Scottish Highlands and Islands: Five Ways to Connect with Nature this Autumn

Exploring the Enchantment of the Scottish Highlands and Islands: Five Ways to Connect with Nature this Autumn

Fancy throwing yourself into a ceilidh in a village hall, or discovering prehistoric landscapes teeming with ancient monuments? There are many opportunities to experience the unique cultural heritage of the Scottish Highlands and islands this autumn

Arts and design

The culture of the Highlands and islands dates back millennia, and what better time to embrace it than autumn. Kick off your trip by taking a deep dive into the artistic culture of Arran. Its Arts Heritage Trail encompasses 20 hand-carved sandstones that mark significant artistic locations on the island, culminating in a stop at the Viewpointwhere you’ll be rewarded with the breathtaking vistas that have inspired many major artists.

For something to remember, follow the Shetland Craft Trail and check out the collectable Burra Bearsor pick up a Fair Isle toorie (hat) or Shetland wool gansey (jumper). Nearby in Orkney, take the Creative Orkney Trail around workshops and studios and see jewellery makers, artists, potters and painters at work. Don’t miss Celina Rupp Jewellery or the Sheila Fleet workshopwith their wonderful cafes, an ideal lunch stop on a wild autumn day.

Further west, don’t miss the Outer Hebrides and their unique Gaelic cultural heritage – the islands are of course home to Harris tweed, which is exported all over the world.


If you want to get into the swing of local life, then music is your gateway. Many of the pubs and community halls of the Highlands and islands will hold informal ceilidhs throughout autumn, where you’re welcome to experience traditional folk music and dancing.

If that appeals, you won’t want to miss the 34th Shetland accordion and fiddle festivalwhich runs from 5-8 October and features local and international musicians and a host of Scottish dance bands. The Jura music festival takes place from 23-25 September and promises talented local musicians along with bands from across Scotland.

Head to the Old Forge in Knoydart, the most remote pub in Britain, which has just reopened after being lovingly renovated by the community, or enjoy a fiery traditional music session at the historic Glenuig Inn in Moidart. In the Cairngorms national park, don’t miss some outstanding community spirit with local tales and tunes at the Badenoch Storylands Session.

Folklore and stories

Follow in Macbeth’s footsteps with a visit to Brodie Castle. Photograph: Paul Tomkins/VisitScotland

Wherever you go in the Scottish Highlands and islands, you won’t have trouble finding intrigue and entertainment among the local folktales, but the real enjoyment lies in untangling fact from fiction. Take Macbeth, he was actually a real 11th-century king who protected his people from Viking marauders. You can still trace his footsteps at local sites including Brodie Castle and Sueno’s Stonea 6.5-metre Pictish carved standing stone at the top of Cluny Hill in Forres.

If it’s dark tales you want to revisit, the Witches Stone at Forres marks the spot where a “witch” met a gruesome death – one of more than 4,000 killed in Moray Speyside in the 16th century. A plaque above the supposedly cursed boulder describes the horrors that befell the poor victim.

Gather around a peat fire over a long autumn night at the Orkney Storytelling festival from 26-29 October. Hear fascinating stories of ghosts and skeletons at the haunted Skaill Houseor find out about tragic tales of selkies and the sea, handed down through generations.

Gaelic language

Hearing Gaelic language is one of the highlights of a trip to the Highlands and Islands. Meet native Gaelic speakers at Ness on the Isle of Lewis, one of the strongholds of Gaelic culture, or take a short course at Barn Mòr Ostaig Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye.

Language enthusiasts have long been fascinated by the Highlands and islands. In 1929, US photographer Margaret Fay Shaw Campbell was drawn to Uist in search of “pristine” Gaelic folk song. One evening that fired her imagination was Halloween, or Night of tricks (Night of tricks), in South Uist, where “guisers’’ dress up in sheepskin garb, haystack wigs and rope scarves to fool the spirits of the dead. Visit the Isle of Uist this Halloween and you should catch sight of this tradition. Or, head to the Isle of Cannawhere the pier waiting room hosts an exhibition of Shaw Campbell’s work, The sound of the sea/Sound of the sea.

Galleries and museums

Highland Folk Museum Credit Highland Folk Museum - Highlife Highland
Go back in time and experience Highland life at the Highland Folk Museum

Throughout history, the Highlands and Islands and the people who have lived there have shaped the world we live in. Step back in time at Britain’s first open-air museum, the Highland Folk Museum in the Cairngorms national park. With live actors in period costume and more than 35 historic buildings, immerse yourself in Highland life from the 1700s to the 1950s, try your hand at wool-spinning and peat-fire baking, or spot a red squirrel eating nuts in the pinewoods.

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Journey back further through time with a trip to the recently reopened Kilmartin MuseumArgyll & The Isles, which tells the story of the ancient people of Kilmartin Glen. The area is one of Scotland’s richest and most important prehistoric landscapes, with more than 350 ancient monuments, including rock carvings, stone circles and burial chambers, within six miles of Kilmartin village. The museum has in its possession some remarkable prehistoric artefacts, recognised as internationally significant.

Further north, the world-famous village of Skara Braein Orkney, is western Europe’s best-preserved neolithic settlement, inhabited before the Egyptian pyramids were built. Recognising more recent history, the Scapa Flow Museumon the island of Hoy, is home to important wartime artefacts from both world wars. It’s had a major redevelopment, and gives you the chance to view items from the HMS Hampshire and HMS Vanguard battleships, which sank more than 100 years ago.

Autumn is the perfect season to discover the unique Spirit of Scotland’s Highlands and Islands. Start planning your trip at discoverhighlandsandislands.scot

By : Sunjet Date : November 29, 2023 Category : Popular Comments :

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