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Posted by
1207 posts

Yes. The "Highlands" has been over Romanticized since Queen Victoria. TV shows filming locations have especially impacted such locations as Skye which has limited accommodations. There are many other beautiful and interesting area to see in Scotland. Much of the Middle Ages and Rennaissance took place in the central and southern parts of Scotland. Look and the Visit Scotland, Historic Scotland and Secret Scotland to see less trod areas. Driving will allow you to get away from the crowds.

Posted by
2801 posts

Yes, I get it about Skye being over-publicized. If I mention to people that I took a trip to Scotland, their first question is often "Did you go to the Isle of Skye?" I mean, yes, Skye is beautiful, but so are many many other destinations in Scotland.

Posted by
5022 posts

Skye in Scotland is like the Cotswolds in England - there are many places that are as attractive without the tourist hoardes, which make for a pleasanter trip.

Posted by
768 posts

The problem with Skye, as Kathleen points out, is that more people are drawn there in recent years and despite increased accommodation there's never going to be enough to cope with the influx. I suspect just a few of the 'hot spots' on the island are overrun and the rest is pretty quiet as it always has been.

The Black Cuillin is the only alpine mountaineering equivalent in the UK and this will attract hardened climbers and walkers from all over, but because they are so strenuous and difficult they'll hardly be overrun. Not quite yet anyway.

And as also pointed out there are many other equally interesting places on the mainland. We went to the Outer Hebrides a couple of years back and climbed Clisham, the highest peak there and exited down a pathless glen. Didn't see a soul all day! And it was largely the same with the coast, beaches etc. It is possible to find solitude if that's what you are after. And equally beautiful solitude at that!

Posted by
263 posts

I understand the article is about the effects of heavy tourism on the land and the locals. But, for whatever it is worth, I traveled with my wife and 10-year old son through a portion of the Highlands in July, and while we found other tourists certainly we also found it easy to get away from tourists if you tried to. Once outside of Inverness it was easy to find quiet roads and ruins that weren't heavily promoted. Castles like Dunrobin were touristy of course with buses in the parking lot (as we expected), but just up the road a mile or so there's a little unpromoted ancient site (Carn Liath) and we were the only people there on our visit. It was wonderful. On our trip to John 'O Groats (tourist mecca) we pulled off the road in the little town of Wick and found a seaside castle ruin that again was not heavily promoted (Castle Sinclair Giringoe) and also was all ours to enjoy on our own. While this isn't the point of the article in the link provided, I would just note that it seemed for us fairly easy (even in July) to get away from the tourist groups if you want to visit lesser known areas or sites in the Highlands.

Posted by
2801 posts

Good points, all. I think it all underscores the Rick Steves approach to travel, which is the antithesis of the big-bus tours that disgorge crowds of clueless tourists at the "high points" -- treating each destination like a mini-amusement park that only exists for tourists -- without much context or appreciation for the everyday lives of the people who live in the region.

Posted by
123 posts

Just got back from trip into highlands, no issues with crowds whatsoever. May depend upon time of year. We purposely chose ‘off season’ so wouldn’t have to stumble upon hoards of tourists. Plan paid off.