John O\' Groats © E. Asterion
Beyond Inverness and the Great Glen, Scotland stretches away in a spectacular fusion of wooded glens, sweeping moors, rugged coasts, towering mountains and welcoming villages. The Northern Highlands includes both the rich farmland of the Black Isle and the precipitous sea cliffs of Cape Wrath; the traditional crofting communities of North West Sutherland and the busy towns of Easter Ross; the historic fishing villages of Caithness and the wooded hills of Mid Ross; the popular beaches of East Sutherland and the majestic mountains of Wester Ross. Due to its remoteness this huge area is largely overlooked by tourists despite having some of the most dramatic landscapes in all of Europe. The Northern Highlands are a paradise for those seeking out solitude and active outdoor pursuits in breathtaking landscapes. There are ancient archaeological sites and a number of quality heritage centres around Caithness and along the northern coast, dealing with the rich clan history and Viking heritage of the region. The Northern Highlands seem designed for walkers and hikers and the patchwork of beautiful lochs in the northwest attract fishermen. Golf, cycling and watersports are also popular activities, with a number of great boat trips exploring the rugged coastline.