Having just launched our Scottish Highland Hikes, this seems like a perfect time to share trivia about one of Europe’s most remote regions (that’s also home to many of the world’s most glorious hikes). Read on, then carry on with us next August.
1. This is Scotland’s largest whisky region, in both production and geography. The vast array of coastlines, moors and mountains means you can’t pinpoint a specific style to the area. That’s what makes discovering them, dram by dram, so much fun…until the next morning. Bollocks.
2. Ben Nevis calls The Highlands home. It stands at 1345 metres/1445 feet above sea level, and commands about 100,000 ascents a year. While it’s not part of our Scottish Highland Hikes tour, we’d be happy to arrange a private tour extension should you care to conquer it.
3. The Highland Clearances are one lowlight of this rugged locale. Beginning in the mid-to-late 1700s – and for about a century – there were mass evictions and emigration. Capitalist farming had been discovered, and sheep were more lucrative than crofters living off the land. To this day, the area remains scarcely populated, and more descendants live in the US, Canada, and Australia than Scotland itself.
4. Fortunately, the pendulum swung after the Highland Clearances. The Crofting Act of 1886 affirmed the rights of crofters to their land, and ‘Highlandism’ became a thing. The area was romanticized. Tartans turned into a fashion rage for European society. And Balmoral Castle became one of Queen Victoria’s royal retreats.
5. Kilts were born here in the 16th century. Every time you see a hunky ginger flaunting those wooly socks and girthy calves, unable to breathe while your heart races faster, your brow starts to sweat and you pray for a glimpse of his junk, spark a menthol and give thanks for the Gaelics.
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