Magical Places in the Highlands

  • Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye

Photo courtesy of Lam, K. (2017) Visit Scotland

The famous Fairy Pools are a truly magical phenomenon right in the Glen Brittle forest. The crystal clear water is so blue that you almost start to think you’ve accidentally wandered to Greece – but the moment you jump in, reality hits you like an ice bath. Don’t let it stop you though! It’s worth the trip just for the photos, and it makes for a pretty scenic walk. Want to really feel the magic? Stop by Talisker Distillery for some peaty, peaty goodness. In terms of accommodation, we’ve got you covered – book in at Skye Backpackers here.

 

Loch Ness

We may as well talk about the elephant in the room… Loch Ness is arguably Scotland’s most famous loch, but before you go, you might want to brush up on your knowledge of the proper pronunciation of loch (it’s not what you think). While you’re admiring the scenery, remember to bring your binoculars and try to spot the famous Loch Ness Monster, aka Nessie. Fun fact: the first sighting of Nessie dates as far back as 565 AD, and there have been dozens of official research expeditions aiming to find the monster. For the best viewing spot, get yourself a bed at the Lochside Hostel, located right on the edge of Loch Ness.

 

Finnich Glen

Photo courtesy of Reddit user @FocustoInfinity (2016)

You may recognise Finnich Glen, now commonly referred to as Devil’s Pulpit, from the TV series Outlander. Rumour has it, Finnich Glen was also a secret meeting place for the ancient Druids, and was also literally where Satan preached to the monks. Despite being located just 15 miles from Glasgow, the site is profoundly remote and peaceful. Finnich Glen is famous for its crimson red water streams that rise and fall to reveal the Devil’s Pulpit rock.

 

Enchanted Forest, Pitlochry

Photo courtesy of Angus Forbes (2017)

The Enchanted Forest is an outdoor light and sound festival set in Faskally Wood in Highland Perthshire, taking place from October 4th to November 4th in 2018. Renowned as Scotland’s premier light experience, the event aims to create a fairytale-esque experience using lights on the natural scenery, accompanied by live music and actors. This year’s show is named ‘Oir an Uisge’ (translation: ‘edge of the water’ in Gaelic’). To complete the experience, you can grab some mulled wine and head over to the Storytelling Yurt for some enchanting tales. At the end of the night, kick back with some hot chocolate and a game of pool at the Pitlochry Backpackers Hotel.

 

Callanish Stones

Photo courtesy of Visit Scotland (2016)

Scotland’s equivalent of the Stonehenge, also known as Stonehenge of the North, can be found near Loch Roag on the Isle of Lewis. The stones are made from the one of the oldest rocks in Britain, Lewisian gneiss, which dates back approximately 3000 million years. It remains unknown as to why the Callanish Stones were erected 5000 years ago, however it is known that it was a hotspot for ritual activity for 2000 years. Ancient folklore claims that the stones were giants who refused to convert to Christianity, and were petrified by St Kieran, effectively turning them to stone. Maybe by magic?

Glenfinnan Viaduct

Speaking of magical, let’s not forget the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct, better known as The Harry Potter Bridge, where you can catch the Jacobite steam train, aka the Hogwarts Express. The viaduct was featured in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and the Prisoner of Azkaban, attracting thousands of visitors every year. The town, Mallaig, was actually considering closing the railway due to economic troubles – luckily, JK Rowling turned the Glenfinnan Viaduct into a tourist attraction and saved the jobs of many locomotive workers. For the ultimate experience, catch the Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig, and head out from the car park to get a good view.

You’re a wizard, Harry.