THE debate has long raged over what is the finest glen in Scotland. It perhaps shouldn’t be pitched as a contest, yet with its mix of tranquil beauty, awe-inspiring majesty and enticing mystery alike, Glen Affric is surely a frontrunner?

This picture-postcard expanse of the north-west Highlands proffers mountains, lochs, forests, waterfalls and moorland. Depending what part of Glen Affric is on the itinerary, you can soak up breathtaking views, wander through meandering tree-lined trails or simply bask in quiet seclusion.

One such gem is Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin with its sandy beach and shoreline dotted with weathered tree stumps – remnants of the ancient Caledonian Forest. The freshwater loch is popular among wild swimmers and makes a picturesque picnic spot.

Another must-visit is the spectacular Plodda Falls, a thundering cascade of water that plunges down a craggy rock face. There’s also Dog Falls, a series of waterfalls and rushing rapids on the River Affric.

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The area is steeped in history and folklore. Glen Affric was part of the lands that belonged to Clan Chisholm and Clan Fraser of Lovat between the 15th and 19th centuries. A fugitive Bonnie Prince Charlie is said to have passed through as he fled Culloden in 1746.

In the early 1800s, the tenant farmers who lived here were evicted during the Highland Clearances, their crofts swept away in favour of more profitable sheep grazing. In the mid-19th century, Glen Affric became a Victorian sporting estate complete with gentleman’s shooting lodge.

Today, it continues to draw those who love the great outdoors, not least Munro baggers keen to notch up a clutch of peaks in a single day.

Wildlife abounds, with pine martens, red squirrels, mountain hares, otters and even the elusive Scottish wildcat, as well as many dragonfly species and trees festooned with lichen.

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Golden eagles and ospreys soar overhead and the “chip, chip chip” song of the delightful Scottish crossbill can be heard among the pine woodland. As summer gives way to autumn, the roar of rutting stags becomes a spine-tingling soundtrack.

What to read: A Season in Strathglass by John Fowler is an affectionate portrait taking in Glen Affric as well as neighbouring Glen Cannich and Glen Strathfarrar.

What to watch: The BBC series The Last of the Mohicans (1971) saw a fort and wigwams built next to Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin during filming.

Movies such as The Little Kidnappers (1953), Dog Soldiers (2002), Valhalla Rising (2009), Victoria & Abdul (2017) and Detective Pikachu (2019) all shot scenes in Glen Affric.

The stunning scenery helped inspire the landscapes seen in the Disney Pixar animated fantasy Brave (2012).