South Highlands: what to see

Some of Scotland’s most beautiful spots are in the South Highlands. The area is also home to iconic Scottish wildlife.

From sea to summit

Golden eagles breed across the South Highland, and white-tailed eagles are recolonising their former haunts. Fantastic woodlands include the pinewoods of the Cairngorms National Park and the west coast’s Atlantic oakwoods.

Hidden in the depths of west coast sea lochs are natural treasures like flame shell beds and sea pens. It’s even possible to spot whales and dolphins from the west and east coasts.

The Southern Highlands are home to Scotland’s highest peaks, which host a unique range of plants and animals. Visit any of 13 National Nature Reserves (NNRs) to explore the area’s natural heritage – though three NNRs in particular stand out.

The big three

Beinn Eighe and Loch Maree Islands National Nature Reserve is a natural jewel of Wester Ross. Hit the mountain trail or woodland trail to see majestic peaks and ancient pinewoods, and look for dragonflies and golden eagles. Our visitor centre is open from Easter to September.

Islands are always special places – and you don’t get much more special than Rum National Nature Reserve. Its rugged mountains are the dramatic stage for superb wildlife and archaeology. Rum supports 25% of the world population of Manx shearwater, an intriguing seabird that breeds in burrows on mountains.

Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve is an exposed whaleback ridge cut through with ice carved gullies. A big focus of our management is restoring the native broadleaf woodland on the lower slopes. Black grouse is one species that’s made a strong recovery here.

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