Western Scotland and the Inner Hebrides
The western half of Scotland has all the ingredients that most tourists who come here love to see – mountains, lochs, castles and a host of other things that make it a perfect destination for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors.
This landscape attracts not only people, but also the North Atlantic Drift, which is another name for the gulf stream that brings warm air from Florida up to north-western Europe. If it wasn’t for this gulf stream, then Western Scotland would be a lot colder: It may make it warmer, but it also makes it wetter, and this combination of warm and wet brings another unwelcome guest in the form of the infamous Scottish midge.
Visitors who come in the summer are often disappointed by the wet weather and the abundance of midges, and it’s one of the reasons why I prefer to come outside of the summer months, but there are other reasons too.
There are no guarantees whatever time of the year you come, but the changeable weather can have a dramatic effect on the landscape: When the ‘Scotch Mist’ lifts, the mountains come into view and the whole experience can be incredibly uplifting, so the best thing to do is to come prepared and embrace whatever nature throws at you. It’s what helps to make this part of the world so special.
For my interpretation of Western Scotland please take a look at the map opposite. The area I’ve shown is not precise, but it covers everything west of the area I’ve covered in Eastern Scotland and from the Central Belt to Northern Scotland. It also includes the Inner Hebrides, which are quite magical.
To finish this brief introduction, I feel compelled to point out that to get the best from a visit to this wonderful part of the British Isles you should give yourself plenty of time to immerse yourself in the way of life as well as the scenery. It’s like I’ve always said, there’s more to just seeing a place, you have to feel it as well; If you allow it, Western Scotland and the Inner Hebrides can provide you with a feeling that will stay with you for the rest of your life. When you leave a place up here, you’ll often find a sign that says “Haste ye Back”, and I reckon once you’ve been here, you’ll want to do exactly that.
- Glen Coe