The place are the Highlands of Scotland appears a simple query – however can we imply geographically or culturally or simply our style in surroundings? Perhaps it’s simply these components of Scotland that conform to a romantic stereotype of bens, glens and tartan – and that’s simple to seek out.
The place to seek out the essence of the Scottish Highlands at first sight doesn’t appear too exhausting. However it’s actually a two half query: the place are the Highlands by way of their geography – but additionally in a cultural sense.
See more: Is glasgow in the highlands
Of the 2 components, the geography or geology half is the extra easy. Check out the sketch map additional down the web page. Separating the Highlands from the extra populous central belt of Scotland, the Highland Boundary Fault runs south-west/north-east throughout Scotland.
It reaches the North Sea on the nice little city of Stonehaven, nicely inside the metropolis of Aberdeen commuting belt. Its different mainland city extremity is at Helensburgh, like Stonehaven a commuting form of place however this time for Glasgow, Scotland’s largest metropolis.
Observe that Highland Boundary Fault!
Have a look…
This function continues on down the Clyde estuary and thru Arran, which is the island faintly seen on the horizon.
(See? Extra occurring within the image right here than you first thought, eh?)
East of Helensburgh, the straight-ish fault line runs via the islands of Loch Lomond, via Conic Hill behind Balmaha and off to the north-east by way of the Menteith Hills at Aberfoyle.
Strathearn and the Earthquake Centre of Scotland
On goes the fault line up via Strathearn, by way of the good-looking wee city (or massive village) of Comrie in Perthshire. An attention-grabbing apart right here is that Comrie is typically known as the ‘Earthquake Centre of Scotland’ or ‘The Shakkin Toon’ (shaking city).
That took place as a result of they get extra tremors right here than anyplace else in Scotland – just by its very shut proximity to the Highland Boundary Fault. (By the way in which, we’re speaking occasional tiny, tiny tremors right here – you’ll be superb.)
See right here – Ben Chonzie as a distant white dome on the left. However when you stand on the summit of Ben Chonzie, this subsequent view is what you see, nonetheless wanting north. (No snow on this image – taken in autumn.)
Wait, a second in the past (I hear you say) we have been speaking earthquakes in Scotland? Now, it have to be repeated that there are only a few and likewise very, very tiny tremors right here, in world phrases.
However sufficient for 2 native males, one the postmaster, the opposite a shoemaker, to start out protecting data of tremors as early as 1839.
In 1874 a small sq. constructing was constructed to carry measuring devices. Earthquake Home in Comrie was restored in 1988 and nonetheless holds working seismometers, previous and new. (You might be welcome to see in via the home windows at them.)
Into Strathmore – ‘the massive valley’
Anyway, off goes the ‘HBF’ up in the direction of the Grampians, the final title for the plateau lands of the central and japanese Highlands. The boundary is definitely very clear, because it types the northern fringe of Strathmore (Gaelic: massive large valley).
The principle A90, Aberdeen-bound, has a rolling wall of hills in parallel to it and from, say, round Forfar, it seems impenetrable – an actual Highland barrier. Hold studying beneath…
The Angus Glens – off the crushed observe
Although the road of the Grampian hills look all however impenetrable lengthy and wonderful glens attain deep into the heartlands. The Angus glens equivalent to Prosen, Isla and Esk and others are value exploring.
And it’s also possible to cross the Highland Boundary Fault when you observe the A93 out of Perth to Blairgowrie and past – an actual upland motoring journey. (Cease me, somebody. I sound as if I’m writing a kind of awfully insincere vacationer brochures.)
Anyway, you get the image. Anybody with any form of an eye fixed for panorama can see that the central belt of Scotland abruptly and dramatically provides method to the Highlands – at Balmaha on Loch Lomond, at Aberfoyle and Callander within the Trossachs, at Dunkeld on the A9, Blairgowrie and so forth.
You enter a portal and it isn’t simply geology; it’s partly a cultural factor…..
“…in case you are searching for the Highlands, be assured that you just solely should drive west of Aberdeen for barely half an hour earlier than it begins to ‘really feel’ Highland once more alongside the valley of the River Dee.”
The place are the Highlands – is it a cultural factor?
Ah sure, half two of the reply to the query about monitoring down one thing sometimes Highland.
Take my very own case: I used to be born away north of the Highland Boundary Fault, in a coastal city overlooking the North Sea. My ancestors there went again for generations. However I don’t take into account myself to be Highland in any manner. (Effectively, all proper, I’ve bought Menzies on one aspect!)
Inland from my dwelling city are trim farms, intensively cultivated fields, few woods and solely the hints of hills, away to the west. By tradition and language and even surroundings then, the Highlands of Scotland usually are not on the coastal strip that runs north previous Stonehaven (the place the Highland Boundary Fault reaches the east coast).
This easternmost coastal strip continues up and past Aberdeen to rural farming areas equivalent to Formartine, Buchan, and on spherical into the Moray Firth. That’s the massive chunk out of the east coast.
The coastal strip continues into the northern parts of the previous county of Banffshire – and even Moray and past. (We debate if Moray is within the Highlands on that hyperlink.)
And the conversations between the ploughing rivals, farmers, judges and everybody else there that day could be kind of opaque to outsiders.
Nevertheless it wouldn’t be in Gaelic. It could be within the Lowland Scots tongue. (Observe that hyperlink for extra on Scottish phrases.)
For example, as a local of those north-east coastal lowlands (as you’ll be able to see from the sketch map, past the Highland line), my first language there – the one we spoke within the playground in school – had in its vocabulary borrowings from French, Scandinavian, German and Dutch.
Nevertheless it owed a lot much less to Gaelic, the language of the true Highlands. (My first tongue was or is Scots – the language, for instance, of Robert Burns when he wasn’t writing in English.)
(In actuality, there are many place names that recommend Gaelic was previously spoken in these north-eastern Lowland fringes. There isn’t a area right here to debate how the Highland language of Gaelic retreated from these japanese areas way back.)
The place are the Highlands – only a way of thinking?
OK, so we’ve quintessentially Lowland Scotland by language and tradition present north of the Highland Boundary Fault on a slender strip alongside a lot of the east coast.
Nonetheless, in case you are searching for the Highlands, be assured that you just solely should drive west of Aberdeen for barely half an hour earlier than it begins to ‘really feel’ Highland once more alongside the valley of the River Dee.
Actually, the previous Queen Vicky thought so, as she and Albert constructed their retreat on Deeside – Balmoral Fortress.
There Victoria had her Highland fantasy, with wall-to-wall tartan furnishings and tartan-clad lackeys.
So the query of the place are the Highlands will be geographically answered by saying they’re north of the Highland Boundary Fault as described above. But, paradoxically, on the japanese edge from Aberdeen spherical into the Moray Firth you’ll find primarily a Lowland heritage.
Time to drag us again to the correct Highlands then.
(Pictured right here) That is Kilchurn Fortress and the highest finish of Loch Awe (which is definitely Scotland’s longest loch). It’s fairly typical Highland surroundings, although possibly you’ll have most well-liked one thing somewhat extra purple with heather maybe?
It’s August so there’s no snow, solely cloud shadows. The image is taken from the Inveraray highway and it’s unimaginable to get the ability traces out of shot. Sorry. Nonetheless, I guess you hadn’t seen until I discussed them.
Lastly, from an administrative standpoint, even the tier of presidency or ‘Native Authority’ known as the Highland Council has boundaries that don’t soak up all of this space. The Highlands of Scotland additionally spill into Perth and Kinross, Stirling, and Argyll and Bute.
Maybe the true reply to the query about the place the Scottish Highlands are is, mainly, the place it begins to appear like our preconceived and discovered notions of what the Highlands are.
And these expectations have been influenced for generations by romantic concepts of the cult of the picturesque promoted by the likes of Sir Walter Scott or Queen Victoria and plenty of others.
In flip these have been impressed upon these areas of Scotland the place, traditionally, the clans with their separate tradition, economic system and allegiances, was discovered.
There’s extra of this excessive falutin’ stuff on the Trossachs web page. For those who simply need some good Highland landscapes then click on that hyperlink.
The Highlands of Scotland? Och, simply preserve driving north and also you’re positive to seek out them!
Extra on the geology of Scotland for the layman. (Really helpful e-book at a very good value!)