Having travelled pretty extensively through Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, I feel fairly well placed to comment on which places are special and different. I particularly love places that have elements of wilderness and natural beauty. It is increasingly hard to find unspoiled and untouched areas, that still retain their innocence and their true form. For me, Scotland can be one of these places, and something like camping in Scotland can be a life-changing experience. Scotland can appear as mystical, lush, green and wild as it must have been thousands of years ago. There are places you can visit that don't seem to have been affected at all by the passing of time and the modernization of the world. In these next two articles I'm going to talk about where to find these spots.
The second part of the article will look at the Scottish islands and lonely Scottish mountain roads.
If you want to find a place that looks like it has not changed since electricity was invented, then Ullapool and the small fishing villages that are dotted around this lonely community is the perfect place. Based in the Ross-shire area in the Scottish Highlands, only about 1500 people live in this small town, and people have been fishing the plentiful cold waters for more than 300 years. There are still parts of Scotland not affected by social media and modern consumerism, and Ullapool is one of these. In the little villages everyone knows each other, and instead of being treated like a commodity, strangers are treated with interest and curiosity (which is incredibly refreshing).
Looking like something from Game of Thrones or Braveheart, Dunnottar Castle is one of the most exposed, windy and blustery castles I have visited, and also one of the most beautiful. It perches on this savage Aberdeenshire coastline like a rock, and soaks up the best nature can throw at it, and has done since it was built in the 15th Century. The path leading to the castle is barely used and slightly treacherous, and it looks like hardly anyone ever comes here. It's a fairly isolated and hard to reach area so it's entirely possible this is true. Whatever the case, for me the lack of carefully prepared footpaths only adds to the charm of this castle and the barely contained and controlled environment it lives in and around.
Next to Loch Rannoch in eastern Scotland, Rannoch Moor is 50 square kilometres of savage beauty.
These watery, wet and muddy plains might not necessarily seem like the most inviting place to visit, but to many people, myself included, a little discomfort is well worth the staggering natural beauty. There are not that many places left in the world with this kind of isolation and quiet. Due to the unique structure of the soil and hard areas, building here is remarkably difficult, and so hopefully this area will remain untouched as much as possible for many years to come.
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