No two visits to the Scottish Highlands or to one of the country’s many stunning Islands are ever the same. The influx or tourism over the years has accounted for a fantastic range of hotels, restaurants, bars, attractions and local products to experience. It’s not only the views attracting visitors as more and more businesses are making their mark in this vibrant territory. As tourism season quietens, why not take a trip and indulge in some of the Highlands and Islands many hidden gems…

Highland Titles

Around twelve years ago, Highland Titles arrived in Duror. Since then they have seen the return of Red Squirrels, Otters, Hedgehogs and even an Osprey to mention just a few.

Caring for the land has inevitably progressed to caring for wildlife, and endangered species has become something of a priority for the team at Highland Titles. The construction of the biggest Wildcat Rehabilitation Centre in Europe was an amazing milestone, and to have three cats with them since June has been unbelievable – arguably the rarest animal on the planet! It has also meant the construction of an additional two enclosures.

Stewart Borland, the Reserve Manager, said; “Back in the early days, I don’t think many local people knew what we were about, but nowadays everyone understands crowd funding. We don’t take government funding or seek lottery money, we fund our own development by the sale of little souvenir plots of the Reserve.”

With around 10,000 people, from all over the world, visiting last year, local businesses have realised the value of these guests to their coffee shops, B&B’s, hotels & restaurants too.

“The construction of Loch Fois, which we stocked with Wild Brown Trout, and the repair and rebuilding of Loch Keil made a huge difference to our species list, and also proved a great location for our honey bee hives. I think just about everybody knows the importance of bees by now, but we are attempting to ensure our youngsters do too, by running an incredibly popular educational effort with our local schools. The children paint a hive and in conjunction with Webster Honey from Kinross, we visit each school for a presentation about bees, and then in summer, the best part, we hire buses and bring the kids to the Reserve, pop them in little bee suits and open up the hive and let them see and understand bees up close.”

The new facility, offering a forever home for injured Hedgehogs is also proving popular, with 10 hogs passing through to release and one injured one staying in the enclosure and being cared for by volunteers. Their next project which is under construction is a Hedgehog Hospital so they can build on early successes.

Also nearing completion is the final link in the Glencoe to Oban SusTrans Cycle Path, which Highland Titles gave free access to, to allow it across The Reserve rather than run alongside the busy main road – arguably one of the most beautiful sections of the route.

The Reserve is free to use, open 24 hours, seven days a week, and everyone is welcome to visit.

www.highlandtitles.com

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Karen Duncan Jewellery

Born and bred in Orkney, Karen Duncan has designed and created jewellery for over 30 years. From an early age Karen showed an interest in working with her hands, and as a teenager she was fortunate enough to work with renowned silversmith David Hodge at his workshop in Burray during the school holidays. He taught Orkney jeweller Ola Gorie among others, and opened Karen’s eyes to the possibilities of silversmithing.

In 2007 she set up Karen Duncan Jewellery, based in her workshop in Burray. With stunning views overlooking Water Sound and Churchill Barrier No 4, this is where Karen is happiest, creating new designs, experimenting with different textures and colours, perfecting each piece before it is packaged up ready for sale.

Karen comes from a long line of craftspeople. Her father designed and made wooden boats with his father and brother in the Burray boatyard, operated by at least five generations of the Duncan family. They worked by eye and fine judgement, using an intimate knowledge of their materials and their craft to fashion boats which travelled all over the world.

Karen’s experience in the industry has varied from traditional bench skills to modern design and production processes.

The jewellery that Karen creates is inspired by all she sees all around her every day, including the natural world and Orkney’s heritage.

Karen’s creations reflect seven designs inspired by what she sees. These are blocks, Glimps Holm, Lamb Holm, shield, solar, bubbles and willow. Her bestsellers include blocks charm bracelet, small drop earrings and pendant.

Karen’s handmade, Orkney jewellery received the accolade of being accepted into The Guild of Master Craftsmen, making her the first designer/maker in Orkney to have achieved this. The Guild is an association which recognises the high standards of craftsmanship attained by artisans engaged in craft, art, trade, profession or vocation.

To browse Karen’s jewellery, visit her website or Facebook page.

karenduncanjewellery.com

www.facebook.com/karenduncanjewellery

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North Harbour Bistro

Based on the small Hebridean island of Scalpay, the North Harbour Bistro, has emerged into a multi award-winning destination seafood restaurant, recently winning awards for “Informal fine Dining Chef of the Year” at the Scottish Food Awards & Academy in 2018 and “Fish Gold Medal and Islands Restaurant of the Year” in 2017.  At the Bistro you will find fresh, locally sourced ingredients and creative, modern cooking techniques, offering a unique dining experience which stands apart from local competitors.

HeraldScotland:

The restaurant and seating area outside offer stunning views of Scalpay and the North Harbour where the local fishermen land their daily catch of the king of crustaceans (Lobster), tasty Brown Crab and a favourite of the Bistro menu, delicious Scalpay Prawns (Langoustines).

The Bistro offers an informal, friendly and welcoming dining experience where the food is passionately prepared by George Lavery, chef and owner, to create stunning and delicious dishes like “Creel Caught Scalpay Crab Sandwich” served with a delicate mustard and herb mayonnaise and crisp pumpkin seed bread and “Slow Braised Pickled Octopus” served with creel caught Scalpay Langoustines in red cabbage gazpacho, which can be enjoyed with a glass of your favourite drink, taking in the local sights, wildlife and some wonderful sunsets.

HeraldScotland:

Come and experience the North Harbour Bistro & all that Scalpay has to offer.

facebook.com/NorthHarbourBistro

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Glen Mhor Hotel

HeraldScotland:

Glen Mhor Hotel is within walking distance from Inverness City Centre, situated on the banks of The River Ness and offers great facilities for business and leisure purposes. In June 2018 Glen Mhor Hotel became the proud owner of the Waterside Hotel and with this new addition the hotel now comprises of 10 Victorian buildings along the River Ness, allowing them to offer additional facilities to their leisure and business customers.

- 110 rooms, 10 apartments and River House

- The Waterside Restaurant

- Nicky Tam's Whisky & Wine Bar

- 6 Function/ Meeting Rooms

- 2 Wedding Venues

- Free Parking

- Free Wi-Fi

- Accessibility to people with reduced mobility

Book your weekend away 

1st of October until 29th December 2019 (T&Cs apply)

  • 2 nights away
  • Bed and Breakfast for 2
  • Dinner for 2 on first night
  • (Table d’hote £15 per pp)
  • £149

Visit the website to book your stay. 

Waterside Restaurant at Glen Mhor Hotel

HeraldScotland:

The Waterside Restaurant provides modern & contemporary dining, fusing a variety of popular dishes to achieve a varied and eclectic menu of home cooked quality dishes served in a beautiful modern restaurant with a stunning view of the River Ness. The Waterside restaurant is a unique place where you can catch up with friends, family or colleagues, over lunch or dinner, served every day of the week.

HeraldScotland:

Nicky Tam’s Whisky and Wine Bar at Glen Mhor Hotel

Enjoy an extensive selection of pure malt Scottish whiskies at Nicky Tams Whisky & Wine bar, with more than 120 individual whiskies on display, there will be the perfect dram for everyone. For those who enjoy wine, you can taste any wine from our wide selection by the glass.

Ideally located in Inverness City Centre, on the banks of the River Ness, Nicky Tams Whisky & Wine bar provides a sumptuous, relaxed environment with open fire where you can enjoy the best of Scotland in the heart of the Highlands.

HeraldScotland:

Contact:

7-17 Ness Bank

Inverness

Scotland

IV2 4SG

Tel: 01463 234 308

Email: reception@glen-mhor.com

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Wilderness Cottages

Looking for a relaxing getaway to a remote secluded luxurious cottage? Wilderness Cottages have just the thing...they offer a wide array of unique self-catering properties in some of the most spectacular locations throughout Scotland.

From the stunning coastal views, secluded villages and untouched beaches of the West Coast to the iconic landscapes, mountain ranges and captivating history found on the Isle of Skye, where many of their properties are ideally situated close to the award winning Three Chimneys Restaurant. Or why not visit Dumfries and Galloway where you'll be greeted by glorious green countryside, rolling hills and friendly towns or maybe the ‘Highland Capital’ Inverness, a compact, cosmopolitan city with a lot of heart, and all the wonders of the Highlands right on the doorstep.

Wildreness Cottages provide a wide selection of high quality holiday cottages and apartments to suit all tastes, including holidays in remote crofts, unique modern builds and luxury apartments. These range in size from small and cosy cottages for two, ideal for honeymoon couples and romantic breaks, to larger holiday cottages that sleep from six to ten allowing the whole family to join.

Many of the properties also offer short breaks including weekend or midweek stays, which can also be helpful if you wish to discover a variety of what Scotland has to offer. They also offer a range of pet friendly properties in most areas, and as dog owners themselves they know how important it is for pets to be regarded as part of the family. They deserve a break too and will have a ball with endless forests, hill trails and beaches to run free on.

In terms of what to see and do in Scotland there are a whole host of things available. The team are in no doubt that you will have the most memorable holiday but here are some of their suggestions. Why not visit the fairy pools near Glenbrittle on the Isle of Skye or take the Jacobite Steam Train from Fort William to Mallaig featured in many films including Harry Potter. Take a Jacobite Cruise to see Nessie the Loch Ness monster and stop off at the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition or visit the famous Urquhart Castle which is definitely worth seeing. If you are interested in whisky you will find an abundance of well-known distilleries in Scotland such as ‘Talisker’, ‘Dalwhinnie’ ‘Dallas Dhu’ to name a few.

Wherever you choose you will be sure to find the ideal location for your perfect holiday with Wilderness Cottages.

Free Brochure available.

www.wildernesscottages.co.uk

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Cobbs: Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes

Offering the full flavour of the Scottish Highlands from one of four hotels in Inverness, Cobbs provides everything visitors could want from a trip to Scotland. The highland company owns Loch Ness Country House Hotel, Loch Ness Lodge, Loch Ness Clansman Hotel and OYO Loch Ness Drumnadrochit Hotel and can ensure guests have a truly unique, tailor-made holiday.

From 1 November 2019 – 29 February 2020, guests can stay in any one of the four hotels and benefit from the winter deals running. During this time guests can book three nights for the price of two, which includes a two for one Loch Ness passport for local cruises on the loch.

The Loch Ness Clansman Hotel is the only hotel located on the banks of Loch Ness and has recently undergone a £200k refurbishment. The Loch View rooms command stunning views across the water, as does the restaurant, which serves up delicious food showcasing Scotland on a plate. For those not staying at the hotel but wishing to dine at the restaurant, they offer a convenient Drive and Dine option that includes pick up and drop-off.

There are fantastic retail experiences running at the hotel over the next few months, including pop up shops and meet the maker events: perfect for some Christmas shopping. They also stock some of the best gifts and Scottish wares at The Clansman Hotel’s souvenir shop, from licenced Outlander products and Harris Tweed to Arran Aromatics and Walkers Shortbread.

At Loch Ness Country House Hotel, a haven of tranquillity, elegance and comfort awaits. The high-quality dining experience is AA Rosette rated, with chefs serving up only the best locally sourced and seasonal produce. Couples getting married can make the most of the picturesque views and beautiful gardens by hosting a winter wedding at Loch Ness Country House Hotel.

The luxurious, boutique bed and breakfast that is Loch Ness Lodge offers everything guests could need for a romantic escape, a quick getaway or a special celebration. It can also be booked out for exclusive use on request.

 OYO Loch Ness Drumnadrochit Hotel meanwhile has 29 well priced bedrooms offering flexible accommodation for families, couples or solo travellers.

At each of the hotels the team of staff will go above and beyond to ensure guests’ trips are ones to remember. They will often arrange bespoke experiences for visitors including Highland dancers, ceilidhs, bag pipers and storytellers.

Winter is a perfect time to visit Loch Ness and the surrounding areas as activities remain open, there are less crowds than in summer and the weather can remain mild. Visitors can enjoy exploring Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness by Jacobite cruises and tours, and Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition throughout the season.  

Highland tours to points of historical interest such as Fort George and Culloden can easily be arranged, as well as to local distilleries. With the Nevis Range and Aviemore both only a 40-minute drive away, many visitors also like to enjoy the skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking available nearby.

The hotels remain open year-round. To book a stay at Loch Ness Country House Hotel, Loch Ness Lodge, Loch Ness Clansman Hotel or OYO Loch Ness Drumnadrochit Hotel visit www.cobbs.info. Reservations made subject to availability.