Luxury Highland Hospitality at the Torridon Hotel

July 20, 2016 by Keith Savage
The Torridon Hotel, Wester Ross, Scotland

In the far northern highlands, where you base yourself is more about specific accommodations and less about particular towns since so much of the region is empty, beautiful wilderness. The Torridon Hotel was one of the first places I bookmarked when I began planning my trip around Scotland’s North Coast 500. The enchanting Victorian facade, luxury amenities and activities, and glittering reputation were enough to snag my interest, but its position in the heart of Wester Ross made it an ideal base for exploring many of the area’s natural treasures.

My journey led from Kinlochewe west to Torridon, and that single-track road winding… Read more...

Simply the Best: A Stay at The Dulaig

July 13, 2016 by Keith Savage
The Dulaig, Luxury Bed & Breakfast, Grantown-on-Spey, Scotland

Here’s a secret: I’m a homebody. I like my routines, the familiarity of home and family and friendship. There’s a comfort in moving through a world defined, and it was so strong as a child that I did everything in my power to avoid sleepovers. By its very nature travel wrests us from the cobwebs of comfort, casting us into foreign places filled with foreign experiences and foreign thoughts. The irony is that I also love to travel, and it can be hard to reconcile these two forces. Traveling with family and friends goes a long way, but you know what else helps? Staying in places that feel like home, places that exude comfort and warmth and make you forget just how far away home is. Such places are treasures… Read more...

Northern Scotland Trip Recap

July 6, 2016 by Keith Savage
A gorgeous highland loch

Northern Scotland has many names: the northern highlands, the northwest highlands, the “real” highlands, the North Coast 500. Such a large swath of land is not easily defined. Here you’ll find moor and mountain, coastline and cliffside, beach and bush. Red deer outnumber the inhabitants, and villages humbly huddle beneath the mountains. There is true wilderness here, the kind where mankind’s mark feels like a distant thing. In that way, northern Scotland casts our vision beyond our collective selves, and that can be a scary or exhilarating feeling depending on your point of view. For my part, I found it to be an invigorating place that carried away the stress of modern life on its crisp winds. Read more...

Impressions from the Road: Caithness

June 29, 2016 by Keith Savage
Keiss Castle, north of Wick, Caithness, Scotland

In Scotland’s far north, a land of rearing mountains and sweeping glens, you will find a corner that is broad, flat, and sliding down to the sea. This northeastern section, a region called Caithness, stands apart from its neighbors, and what it lacks in mind-blowing scenery it makes up with the highest concentration of people in the far northern highlands. The towns of Wick and Thurso, both near 8,000 people, stand on Caithness’s eastern and northern coasts, respectively, and dwarf Ullapool, the largest town on the northwestern coast. It’s easy to see why. The broad, float expanse of Caithness is ideal for raising livestock, and indeed sheep and especially cattle roamed pastures everywhere. Read more...

Impressions from the Road: Sutherland

June 22, 2016 by Keith Savage
West Sutherland Skyline

Take a look at the northern horn of Scotland and most of what you see is the region called Sutherland. From just north of Ullapool all the way up to Cape Wrath and Durness, Sutherland then swoops east almost to Thurso and south to Dornoch to include places like Clynelish Distillery and Dunrobin Castle on the east coast. Only the northeastern corner, an area called Caithness, is saved from Sutherland’s sweep, and I’ll cover that region next week. This is a truly large section of the highlands, and the irony is that much of it is inaccessible. Today, Sutherland is a sparsely populated corner of Scotland thanks, largely, to the Highland Clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries, which hit the crofting communities here extremely hard. Read more...