My Braveheart Experience at the Highlands of Scotland

Ever since I was a wee kid, I was always a big fan of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, not because of the battle scenes (which were actually kind of bad) or the acting (which was even worse) but because of the central message of freedom that the movie advocated.

When contemplating the Highlands of Scotland, it isn’t hard to understand why William Wallace valued freedom above everything else: From snow-caped mountains to mighty lakes where ancient creatures roam, the highlands of Scotland are the living embodiment of freedom.

Here’s my Braveheart experiences in the Scottish Highlands. Are you ready to shout “freedom” with me?

Inverayray and the Highlands

Inverayray and the Highlands

Reflections of the Highlands

Reflections of the Highlands

Understanding the Scottish Highlands

The Highlands of Scotland refers to the region north of Stirling (considered as the gate of the Highlands but more on that later) which is known for its breath-taking nature and which serves for a nice contrast to the mostly plain lands located south of them (known as the Lowlands).

In times before our own, these lands were inhabited by different Clans (from the Gaelic word “clann” which means “progeny”) ruled by different chiefs. If you have watched Pixar’s Brave, you will probably be familiar with the way the clan system worked in the Highlands of Scotland.

The place where the Lowlands meet the Highlands

The place where the Lowlands meet the Highlands

The lochs of the Highlands

The lochs of the Highlands

Things in the Highland were relatively peaceful until the English invasion led by King Edward I (the same guy who conquered Wales). The key to controlling the Highlands of Scotland was the city of Stirling since that was the neck that connected them from the rest of the island of Great Britain.

It was at the battle of Stirling Bridge (in the movie, said bridge was edited out since it was considered impractical. Hollywood, uh?) that William Wallace defeated the English and proved himself to be a fierce warrior, inspiring other Scots to join his fight for freedom.

Yes. It is the time. Use those lungs and start shouting “FREEEEEEEEDOM” now!

Waterfalls of the Highlands

Waterfalls of the Highlands

The sheep of the Highlands

The sheep of the Highlands

Let the Skyfall: From William Wallace to James Bond

Ever since, the region has suffered some highs and lows, including the Jacobite rebellion and the introduction of farming which changed the local economy but no matter the changes that the people endured, the nature still remained.

Today you can explore the breath-taking landscapes of the Highlands of Scotland at your own pace. The region is vastly large that it would probably take you weeks to explore every single landscape and climb every single mountain.

My favorite part of the Highlands? Glencoe (Gaelic for “weeping valley”), which is mostly known in modern times as the filming spot for James Bond’s Skyfall. If it’s good enough for James Bond, it’s good enough for anyone.

Glencoe, let the Skyfall

Glencoe, let the Skyfall!!!

Sunset at the Highlands

Sunset at the Highlands

“So how about Loch Ness, Raphael?” Well, the highland is home to many Lochs (Gaelic word for “Lakes”), of which Loch Ness is the most famous one without doubt. It is said that an ancient monster inhabits it and the loch is deep enough to remain unexplored, fueling myths and legends among locals and foreigners alike.

If you ask me, it’s just a Marketing ploy to encourage people to visit it but hey who cares? Loch Ness (and frankly, all the lochs of the Highlands) are some of the most beautiful lakes that you’ll ever see in your lifetime. What are you waiting for? Book those tickets and go to the Highlands right now!

If you hurry you might still see some snow!

Sunset at Loch Ness

Sunset at Loch Ness

The Loch Ness Monster

The one and only place where you’ll find Nessie is the souvenir shop

How to Plan a Visit to the Highlands from Edinburgh

There are basically two ways to explore the Highlands, one is to rent a car and the other is to go on a tour (alright, in theory you can explore them on foot if you have a few weeks to spare).

During my most recent visit to Scotland, I based myself at Edinburgh where I was invited to stay at the Haggis Hostels, a boutique hostel conveniently located on Prices Street (and yes, their New Year’s Eve buffet dinner was beyond amazing!).

You can make a booking for this and more properties via our Affiliate Link of Wonders!

Same price for you and a small pocket money commission for this website of yours.

Sweet deal, uh?

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and it’s a truly remarkable city where you can enjoy both culture and nature. My favorite spot is Arthur’s seat, a great mound that overlooks the city. Can you imagine experiencing nature just a few minutes away from the urban madness?

And of course, the fireworks of New Year’s Eve (known as Hogmanay) really made the city stand out as one of the best ones I’ve traveled to.


Edinburgh, the place where legends come true

Edinburgh, the place where legends come true

The Fireworks at Hogmanay 2014

The Fireworks at Hogmanay 2014

From Edinburgh you can take multi-day excursions or diverse day trips to the Highlands. This time I was invited to join Rabbie’s Tours to explore the Highlands with them on the weekend after Hogmanay. They have many different routes which visit diverse areas of the Highlands so be sure to choose the one that best suits your needs.

The two tours I took were the “Loch Ness, Glencoe and Highlands” and the “West Highlands Lochs and Castles”. Be sure to check them out next time you’re in Edinburgh!!!

Glencoe, gem of the Highlands

Glencoe, gem of the Highlands

Sunrise at the Highlands of Scotland

Sunrise at the Highlands of Scotland

Have you ever dreamed about visiting the Highlands? Share your thoughts and let me know what you think!

The Ultimate Scotland Highlands Travel Guide

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37 Responses

  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    I am a quarter Scottish, so I would love to get to Scotland someday. It looks like a beautiful place to visit.

  2. linda

    what amazing shots!! these images are so so lovely. would love to visit scotland one day.

  3. Catherine S

    What a great place to visit. It looks like you had a fantastic time. I would love to visit Scotland one day.

  4. Tanya Coffman

    I envy you! I’ve always wanted to go to Scottland, thank you so much for sharing these beautiful pictures and a snip it of your journey there. :)

  5. Danielle I.

    This series is perfect timing as my family and I are going to the UK in June for 2 weeks and are hitting many of the places you are covering, including the Highlands. We’re staying in Culloden and visiting the battlefield amongst other places. We’re renting a car and driving everywhere except when we are in London.

  6. Nina Say

    The photography in this post is just breathtaking. I hope one day to visit such a beautiful place like this, and take beautiful photos.

  7. Elizabeth Copeland

    I long to travel to Europe, but with three, soon to be four young kids, it isn’t practical for us right now. My husband would love to go to Scotland, maybe when they’re all school age. Your photos are really dazzling.

  8. Tonya C

    Braveheart is one of my favorite movies of all time. I would have loved to visit Scotland. Thanks for this virtual tour.

  9. dogvills

    So many beautiful pictures, they were taken so well; it does the country so much justice. I would love to go one day!

  10. Nicole

    Such a beautiful place. I haven’t ever been outside of the U.S. but I hope to make it around the world some day.

  11. Elizabeth O.

    Scotland is in my bucket list. I sooo want to visit the place someday, somehow!

  12. Rebecca Swenor

    Great post indeed. I have always been interested in history from all times and places. Love reading your post because of the history you always put into them. These are amazing pictures for sure. Thanks for sharing.

  13. courtney

    Omg your pictures are seriously breathtaking!!!! Scotland looks like an amazing place to visit!!

  14. Jhady

    Awww Scotland!! I always love to visit that place. Because of somebody I knew who was dear to me was from that place. Also, I love the movie Braveheart. All your photos are beautiful.

  15. Lynndee

    Those photos are gorgeous! I love Braveheart too and we would love to see Scotland. Someday, we hope. :)

  16. rosey

    We saw the Braveheart sword when we visited, that’s what I thought this post was going to be about. This was better though. :)

  17. Cherri Megasko

    I travel internationally all the time, but I’m really not a big fan of Europe. Scotland, however, is on my bucket list. (And I’m sure it has nothing at all to do with the fact that I am a consummate Scotch drinker!)

  18. Chrystal @ YUM eating

    Scotland is high on my husbands bucket list as that is where is family is from. We are hoping to do a Ireland / Scotland trip soon. I have family and friends in Ireland so it will be great to see them, too.

  19. Manu Kalia

    What an amazing experience would be on those photos. Stunning. The highlights is on the Sunlight on Scotland.

  20. R U S S

    Braveheart does have one of the best pre-battle pep talk, it’s a scene that I’ve repeatedly watched because same as you, I like how it put focus on freedom.

    All the photos in this post are beautiful! The views are breathtaking! I would definitely love to see ’em one day.

  21. Lisa Rios

    I really love this post! These pictures are really awesome! It clearly shows the beauty of those places during sunrise and sunset. I think you had a great experience here. Will have to plan to visit with my family.

  22. Katelyn @ Diaries of a Wandering Lobster

    Amazing photography! I actually saw they featured one of your pictures on the Travel & Leisure Instagram account. Congrats! That’s awesome. I have a little Scottish blood in me so Scotland and the Highlands are high on my list of places to visit. I would love to see where my great-great-grandparents came from.

  23. Angela Christoper

    What a beautiful place!! I really love visiting Highlands of scotland!! That’s a nice place and peaceful. I really love the waterfall and sunrise. Very beautiful place.

  24. Paula schuck

    These photos stunning. I would love to visit in this manner seeing all the landmarks I know from.history and movies and books.what a great trip th day would be.

  25. Erica

    I am so jellies of you right now. I wish I was there in every photo which are amazing by the way.