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The Climat The three graphs show the average sunshine, rainfall and

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1 The Climat The three graphs show the average sunshine, rainfall and
snowfall for three areas of Scotland. Lerwick is the main town on Shetland north of the Scotland mainland. Aberdeen is a city of the east coast of Scotland, while Glasgow is situated on the west coast of Scotland.

2 Average Sunlight Scotland's position on the edge of the European continent with sea on three sides means that the weather is very varied. Records show that May and June are usually drier than July and August.

3 Average Rainfall Edinburgh's annual rainfall is only slightly greater than London's and many of the east coast towns have less annual rainfall than Rome.

4 Average Snowfall Generally speaking, the east coast tends to be cool and dry, the west coast milder and wetter. July and August are normally the warmest months, average temperature of 15-19oC/60-68oF.

5 Scottish Areas Although relatively small, Scotland is a land rich in contrasts. Often within a few hours travelling, you can experience a landscape that changes rapidly from gentle rolling hills to rugged coasts and dramatic, towering peaks. Vibrant, cosmopolitan cities whose outlook is definitely to the future rub shoulders with ancient castles and monuments rooted firmly in the past while the cultural frenzy of the Edinburgh Festival is also within easy reach of the peace and tranquility of sandy beaches, country parks and outstanding nature reserves. In fact, the only constant is the warmth of the welcome you'll receive wherever you go!


7 Outer Islands Lying at the very edge of Europe, the islands of the Inner and Outer Hebrides share a rugged natural beauty, with unspoilt beaches, plentiful wildlife and a unique culture and traditions. The northern archipelagos of Orkney and Shetland share many of these qualities and supplement them with some of the most fascinating and, at times, awesome archaeological sites in Europe, found in the burial mounds, stones circles and settlements of the earliest peoples. The islands' Norse heritage is also evident everywhere althought today's invasions tend to be from the thousands of birds and other wildlife that make their home in these magical isles.

8 Outer Islands

9 Shetland Shetland is surely one of the Scotland’s most distinctive destinations. The main town, Lerwick, is built around its harbour, sheltered by the island of Bressay. Behind the busy harbour front, the older part of the town has narrow flagged streets, a good choice of shops, and some fine 18th-century buildings complete with 'lodberries', the private piers which serve as a reminder of the town's origins as a trading post founded by the Dutch. Beyond Lerwick, the Shetland landscape unfolds as rounded hills, green slopes and moors to form the ideal backdrop for Shetland's teeming natural history. The sea is the lifeline for so many of Shetland's wildlife sites, like the island of Noss with its awesome cliffs and gannet colony, or Sumburgh Head, just one of many places where puffin sightings are all but guaranteed - look out for otters in the surf as well. Wildlife is also one reason to visit Hermaness on the most northerly island of Unst; it also hosts one of the most rewarding of Shetland's many walking routes where a walk across the moor brings visitors within sight of Muckle Flugga, the most northerly tip of the UK .

10 Orkney The green islands which make up the Orkney archipelago provide visitors with a wealth of prehistory, wildlife and seascapes to discover and explore, while enjoying the relaxed pace of life and genuine warmth of the Orcadians. The ferry from Scrabster on mainland Scotland to Stromness on Orkney sails by the impressive red stone sea-stack of the Old Man of Hoy, then on below the cliffs of St John's Head - the highest vertical cliff in the UK - making this the most dramatic way of reaching Orkney. Yet the drama of the hills of Hoy misleads, as the landscapes elsewhere are much gentler and well farmed. Wildlife thrives here and there are a variety of nature reserves on the islands, with seabird colonies and moorland, seashore and loch habitats all holding spectacular numbers of birds. Orkney is also the amateur archaologist's ideal destination. Part of mainland Orkney has been declared a World Heritage Site because of its richness of its prehistoric sites. For example, at Maes Howe, visitors wonder at the skills of stone masons who built this large tomb some 5000 years ago. Nearby stand the eerie stone cirlces at Stenness and Brodgar while further west you can marvel at the sunken Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae overlooking the Bay of Skaill. In fact, almost every one of the islands can boast some prehistoric relic or find.

11 Western Isles Unique is the word best describing the Hebrides. The wildlife, awe-inspiring scenery and way of life leave a lasting impression on everyone who is lucky enough to visit. Standing majestically off the northwest edge of the British Isles, this 150 mile-long island chain, ranging from grassy flatlands, peat and marsh to mountainous, rocky and scenic terrain, is only 30 miles from the Scottish mainland. Culturally and traditionally the Hebrides is in a class of its own. Nowhere else will you find such diversity of landscapes and species, arts, crafts and music. The islands have an abundance of beautiful habitats - peaceful, unspoilt and natural. Fresh water and sea lochs stand unsurpassable in their beauty and abundance and provide a massive resource for fishermen and bird life alike. Pure, traditional music and crafts live on in what is a lively and vibrant culture. Pioneering events attract people from all over the world, with festivals soaked in the traditions of this Gaelic heartland. Get even closer to nature: a boat trip to spot whales, dolphins, seals or puffins or a guided walk to mix with otters, buzzards or deer. Spiritually these islands are an oasis. The welcome is friendly, making the visitor feel that sense of belonging and freedom - one of the great traits of the local heritage. The sense of being surrounded by the cool Hebridean air carries the visitor into a world of serenity.

12 Highlands of Scotland The Scottish Highlands have so much to offer - spectacular mountains, majestic glens and mirror-like lochs form the perfect backdrop to picturesque towns, isolated crofts, towering castles and pagoda-topped distilleries. A startling variety of wildlife also makes its home in the sea-lochs and glens where an unbroken thread of human history reaches back into the mists of time. History, legend, romance and the great outdoors combine seamlessly here to guarantee visitors a warm Highland welcome and a truely memorable holiday. Whether you are looking for an action-packed adventure, a taste of the local culture and history, or just complete peace and quiet, the Highlands of Scotland is the place to come.

13 Highlands of Scotland

14 Northern Highlands From the cavernous dark depths of Smoo Cave at Durness to the exhilarating hairpin bends of the 'Pass of the Cattle' near Applecross and from the towering sea-stacks at Duncansby to the dolphins leaping off the coasts of the Black Isle, the Northern Highlands is thrilling and designed to leave a big impression. It is a land of escape - a place to discover the wonders of the natural world amid one of the most dramatic landscapes in Europe. There's also a long human heritage in this area, starting with archeological gems such as the Grey Cairns of Camster and passing through 5000 years of Pictish, Viking and Gaelic history right up to the present-day to the late Queen Mother's castle at Mey, near Thurso. The Northern Highlands also provides an ideal base for viewing the annular solar eclipse at dawn on 31 May northern and eastern coastal locations are recommended.

15 Skye and Lochash True romantics pack their bags and head for Skye and Lochalsh. However, so do a host of enthusiastic climbers, walkers, cyclists, sailors, sightseers, anglers and clan history buffs. Commanding mountains - the jagged Cuillin ridge and the spectacular peaks of Kintail - offer serious challenges to walkers and climbers alike. The influence of the sea is also never far away with sea fishing and a wide range of other watersports being catered for on Skye, Raasay and the mainland. Wildlife cruises sail from various locations from which you might be able to spot sea otters, seals, golden eagles or even sea eagles. History is told in old stone at Dunvegan Castle, Eilean Donan Castle, the Glenelg Brochs and Bernera Barracks and also in words and pictures at fascinating visitor centres such as Aros Heritage Centre in Portree, the Skye Museum of Island Life in Kilmuir, Armadale Castle Gardens and the Museum of the Isles.

16 Inverness, Loch Ness and Nairn
Golden beaches, towering castles, legendary lochs and the ancient woodlands of Glen Affric and Glen Strathfarrar provide a stunning backdrop for a holiday in this area. You may even get to see Nessie - the most famous local resident! Inverness - bustling, cosmopolitan and attractive capital of the Highlands and Scotland's millennium city - makes an ideal base for exploring. Highlights include the beautiful River Ness, Eden Court Theatre and the superb Inverness Aquadome. Visit the traditional Highland village of Beauly, charming Drumnadrochit on the shores of Loch Ness, picturesque Fort Augustus in the centre of the Great Glen, and, of course, the classic Victorian seaside resort of Nairn which is world-renowned for its fine golf courses, lovely beaches and impressive hotels. The rich history and environment of the wonderful Culbin Forest and the crofting townships around Abriachan and Kiltarlity offer the real character of the Highlands to discover, experience and enjoy.

17 Fort William and Lochaber
Lochaber is an adventure playground offering a range of exhilarating outdoor experiences.: hillwalking, ice climbing, skiing, snowboarding, canyoning, canoeing, paragliding and mountain biking. A wild environment - capped by Ben Nevis, Britain's highest peak - is backed up by essential infrastructure including two excellent ski resorts at Nevis Range and Glencoe, experienced mountain and activity guides, and equipment hire shops. Leisure cruises on Lochs Linnhe and Shiel, ferry trips to the Small Isles of Eigg, Rum, Canna and Muck, as well as stunning coastal and forest walks make this area a joy to explore. Add to this the newly-opened Great Glen Way, stunning Glen Nevis, the poignant history of Glencoe, Glenfinnan and the Commando Memorial near Spean Bridge, the remote Ardnamurchan Lighthouse - which marks the most westerly point on the British mainland.

18 Aviemore and The Cairngorms
The Cairngorms National Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty. The area's attractions come big - the Cairngorm mountains contain some of Scotland's highest peaks - and they come small - the ancient pine forests of Abernethy and Rothiemurchus are home to the tiny crested tit, one of our rarest native birds. The attractions also come fast - think about downhill alpine skiing, snowboarding or mountain biking - and they come slow - turn your mind to gliding, golfing, salmon fishing, pony trekking and nostalgic steam train trips. This is an area of stunning scenery where you should take your time to explore - preferably by bike through green forest paths and cycle trails, or on foot on some of the best high- and low-level walking.

19 Aberdeen and Grampian Highlands
This region of Scotland is blessed with outstanding scenery - the majestic Grampian Mountains dominate the skyline to the West whilst miles of unspoiled and often dramatic coastline frame the area in the East. With its sparkling granite buildings, Aberdeen has one of Scotland's most enchanting skylines, while the old town has a magical air of time gone by. A fantastic range of first class restaurants and a vibrant nightlife combined with a thriving cultural calendar and shops galore, all help make Scotland's third largest city a modern destination well worth the trip. The capital of the Grampian Highlands is even more unique thanks to the treasures on its doorstep. Sample the "water of life" and visit the eight distilleries and cooperage on the world's only Malt Whisky trail. Follow the Castle Trail taking in 11 of the finest gems the region has to offer. Or head to the coast where vast empty beaches, interspersed with picturesque fishing villages and dramatic cliff top scenery waiting to be explored. Hit the ski slopes, play on championship golf courses or follow in Queen Victoria's footsteps.

20 Aberdeen and Grampian Highlands

21 Coastal Trail With its clean air, clear seawater and stunning vistas, here in Aberdeen and Grampian you will find some of Europe's best coastline. From the lava cliffs of St Cyrus all the way round to the notorious Culbin Sands on the Moray Firth, the north-east coastline is one long series of surprises. Tiny villages, picturesque harbours and 150-miles of unspoilt beaches line much of the coast which, together with the area's teeming wildlife (including dolphins, seals and seabirds), make the area an invigorating and uplifting holiday destination. The coast is a turning point on the map of Scotland, guarding land that has been tilled since the Stone Age. It forms a natural boundary to a land of pride and promise, the home to people whose aspirations down the centuries have created a clear identity and strong entrepreneurial spirit.

22 Whisky Country A heavenly combination of whisky and water awaits you in Whisky Country as a unique trail of world-famous malts, distinctive distilleries and a unique cooperage weaves among the woods and glens of the Spey Valley. Whether you are a devoted whisky-lover or are just curious about this amazing potation, there's plenty to learn about the 'water of life' on a tour of any distillery, each of which has something different to offer. The true spirit of Scotland can also be found in the area's magnificent castles and gardens, teeming wildlife, eating-out opportunities, quality independent retailers and championship golf courses. Walk the Speyside Way from the coast, with its beautiful beaches and picturesque villages, through the fertile plains of the Laich of Moray, following the River Spey to the dramatic Grampian Highlands. The Moray Firth is one of only two places in Britain where there is a resident population of bottle-nosed dolphins and the keen-eyed visitor may be lucky enough to spot the dolphins at play or seals bobbing in the water.

23 Castle Country Castles have long been associated with romance and excitement and there is no more Scottish an image than that of a castle surrounded by swirling mist. Across Scotland, you can experience many truly majestic castles, recalling the history of a proud nation, together with the beautiful colours and scents of their gardens. Grampian in particular has more castles per acre than anywhere else in the UK. These range from romantic ruins like 12th-century Dunnottar Castle (which Zefferelli used as a location for his film of Hamlet), to the fine stately homes like Haddo House, designed by the great 18th-century architect, William Adam, not forgetting the fairytale turreted Castles of Mar and the lived-in charm of Delgatie Castle. Wander around the great Scottish castles of Grampian and be captivated with romance, legends, and even ghosts.

24 Royal Deeside Take a trip out to Royal Deeside, an area first given the monarch's imprimateur over 150 years ago by Queen Victoria. When she first came here in 1848, she fell in love with the area so much that her husband, Prince Albert, bought her Balmoral Castle as a holiday home. Today the Royal Family still maintain the tradition of visiting Deeside each year, spending the month of August at Balmoral Castle, a few miles east of Braemar (home to the famous Royal Highland Games). Royal Lochnagar Distillery at nearby Crathies invites budding whisky connoisseurs and those who simply want to experience an age-old process to sample the water of life in the heart of Royal Deeside. The area is outstandingly beautiful, with expanses of colourful grouse moors, ancient native forests of Scots pine, sparkling Highland rivers and misty mountains. Other attractions in the region include the striking castles of Crathes and Craigievar , both of which boast magnificent painted ceilings. Deeside is also home to Dunnottar Castle, a dramatic clifftop ruin located just south of Stonehaven and one of Scotland's most famous fortifications.

25 Perthshire, Angus and Dundee, The Kingdom of Fife
From the red-roofed villages of East Fife to the glens of Perthshire and Angus, this area displays many of the contrasts of Scotland: a superb coastline, lochs, mountains and, set in the rolling country between, some of Scotland's most attractive towns and cities.

26 Perthshire, Angus and Dundee, The Kingdom of Fife

27 Perthshire Situated in the very heart of Scotland, Perthshire represents the perfect place to find all that you expect of a great Scottish holiday, including that all important ingredient - relaxation. Most of Perthshire is little more than an hour by road or rail from Glasgow or Edinburgh, but a world apart. The area's greatest asset is undoubtedly its stunning scenery and natural environment. Within a compact geographical area taking in 2,000 square miles, you can enjoy both Highland and Lowland landscapes, take in forest and lochside scenes, or simply lose yourself in one of the remote glens. In contrast, there are numerous little picture postcard towns and villages to explore, each with a unique architecture reflecting Perthshire through the centuries. All are peppered with fascinating visitor attractions and steeped in history. The county town of Perth, winner of a string of Britain in Bloom titles, offers a cosmopolitan alternative. With its first class specialist shopping and eating out, a mix of unique visitor attractions, plus a range of exciting events.

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