Scotland is brimming with beautiful natural wonders and even though most of the country is under a temporary lockdown, it doesn’t mean you can’t start planning your next holiday.
The good news is that if you want to experience all the awe-inspiring sites that Scotland has to offer, you won’t have to travel very far.
However, if you have limited time available, here are the most recommended Scottish natural wonders to experience during your holiday this year.
Must-See Scottish Natural Wonders in 2021
1. The Old Man of Storr (Isle of Skye)
Located on the Isle of Skye, the story behind this ancient rock formation is that it’s said to be the burial site of a giant who resided on the Trotternish Ridge. The “Old Man” is said to be the giant’s thumb, which is the only part that still remains partially above ground. To get here, you would need to travel about six miles from Portree, a neighbouring port village. Visitors can walk up and down the Storr, which takes about 90 minutes.
2. Fingal’s Cave
This is one of the most well-known caves in Scotland and it’s situated on the uninhabited Isle of Staffa in Argyll. The cave is said to have formed over 60 million years ago, with the walls consisting of large columns of basalt. To get to Fingal’s Cave, you will need to take a boat to Staffa and if you happen to go during the summer months, you may spot a few puffins along the way.
3. Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park
If you love participating in outdoor activities on land and water, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is a must-see. If you enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding and windsurfing, head to the east or west shore. The east shore is also where you will find The Trossachs, a woodland area that’s known for its wildflowers in the springtime. Ben Lomond’s summit is where you can take in the views of Arrochar Alps and the surrounding islands. Loch Lomond is about an hour from Glasgow.
4. Dark Sky Park
Situated in Dumfries and Galloway over 75,000 hectares of land, Galloway Forest Park is the first Dark Sky Park in the UK and Europe. If you love stargazing, this is one Scottish natural wonder you don’t want to miss. The current Sky Quality Meter scale reading is 21 to 23.6 out of 25, making this one of the darkest places to experience the stars and meteors in Scotland. There are even two large telescopes available for use near Ayr, which is on the edge of the park.
5. Fairy Pools
This is another natural wonder that’s located on the Isle of Skye, with many stories of mystical beings living under the water and hills. You can only get to the pools by hiking through the Glen Brittle forest, which will take you to the foot of the Cuillin Mountains. After a good rain, you can also enjoy the waterfalls that flow down into the pools.
6. Cairngorms National Park
This is another one for anyone who loves to windsurf, mountain bike or wants to explore picturesque lochs and forests filled with animals such as red squirrels. Located in the Scottish Highlands, this park is even home to castles and distilleries.
7. Fossil Grove
Discovered in 1887, Fossil Grove is a collection of tree stumps that contain the fossilised remains of extinct trees of the Lepidodendron species. The trees were discovered in Victoria Park in Glasgow during a quarrying process. These ancient trees were once growing over 325 million years ago, making this an impressive and rare natural wonder. The museum is only open from April to the middle of October.
8. Rannoch Moor
This uninhabited moorland is located in Perthshire, 305m above sea level, and is made up of rocky outcrops, peat bogs and rivers. While the landscape is rather harsh, it is still home to a large variety of flora, insects, birds and animals such as red deer. To get there, you would travel by train on the West Highland Railway line – it’s one of the best ways to experience this unique area.
9. The Old Man of Hoy
Rising out of the Atlantic Ocean and standing at a height of 137m, the Old Man of Hoy is the tallest sea stack in the UK. Formed by the sea and wind, this monolith can be found on the Orkney archipelago in the north of Scotland. Many years ago, the stack was an arch – it’s the two legs that led to the “Old Man” name. While most people just view the formation from a distance, it’s also possible to climb it.
10. Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls
This rock formation made up of basalt columns resembles a kilt and is also located on the Isle of Skye. The most interesting thing about this natural wonder though, is the sound it emits once the wind starts blowing. The Mealt waterfall, which is fed from Mealt Loch, is the other point of interest. You can reach Kilt Rock from Staffin Road in Portree.
Now that you have an idea of the best Scottish natural wonders to see, you can begin planning an adventurous holiday for later in 2021.