Who better to give us the lowdown on the best natural spots in Scotland than Scottish travel photographer Ali Horne? Ali has spent years capturing the staggering beauty and drama of wild Scotland and is keen to share the many reasons his country should feature on every travel wish list. Scotland is a small country but, as Ali tells us, â€œit offers a wide variety of things to doâ€¦besides breath-taking landscapes on the mainland there are countless islands to discover, great food, lots of alcohol and different accents. Whatâ€™s not to love?â€
Exploring the Scottish Highlands with Ali Horne
Itâ€™s a land of majestic mountains, stormy seas and over 31,000 awe-inspiring lochs. The majority of Scots live in and around the countryâ€™s big cities so the Highlands are one of the most sparsely populated areas in Europe, with an average of just eight people per square kilometre. If youâ€™re looking to get away from it all, Scotland certainly fits the bill. Although, Ali adds, â€œIf youâ€™re looking for a sunbathing holiday, Iâ€™d probably give Scotland a missâ€¦â€
Sunshine is something you can never guarantee in Scotland. But, the countryâ€™s unpredictable weather certainly adds intensity to its landscapes. Ali has captured Scotland throughout the changing seasons and, whatever the time of year, he finds being out in the wilderness a soothing experience. â€œI just really enjoy the feeling of freedom I get outside. The fresh air and the views take a weight off my shoulders. I rarely get stressed, even in stressful situations, and I think the fact that Iâ€™m not stuck inside all day for my job definitely has an impact on that.â€
Ali has had plenty of opportunity to experience the calming force of nature. He has travelled extensively throughout Scotland, capturing spectacular vistas, colours and wildlife along the way.Â Here Ali shares his top destinations for getting out in nature and experiencing the best of Scottish scenery:
Glen Coe is a touristy place but thereâ€™s a good reason why; this area of Scotland is extremely beautiful. The main road north along the west coast passes through the valley, meaning Glen Coe is really accessible even if youâ€™re not a hiker. The thing I love most about the area is the animals: deer are incredibly tame here which, for many people is a dream come true. You can get up close to these magnificent creatures and, if photography is your thing, get some pretty cool photos too
Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is Scotlandâ€™s most famous island and its second largest. Geographically itâ€™s a little different to the mainland, with geological formations that wouldnâ€™t look out of place on the moon. Itâ€™s a crazy place of incredible landscapes â€“ moorlands, seascapes, lochs and castles. Itâ€™s totally unique amongst the Scottish islands Iâ€™ve visited so far.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
There are only two national parks in Scotland. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs is one of them. Itâ€™s pretty popular but, being over 720 square miles in size and with a population of under 18,000 people, there is plenty of space to find some peace and quiet within the trees or on the shores of the loch. You can hike some challenging mountain trails, go boating on the loch or camp out there overnight. And Loch Lomond is just one hourâ€™s drive from Glasgow. This is one of Scotlandâ€™sÂ greatest charms; all of the big cities are close to this spectacular scenery so youâ€™re never too far away from beautiful, expansive wilderness.
Big thanks to Ali for sharing his Scottish travel tips with us. You can head over to Instagram to see more of Aliâ€™s incredible images of Scotland, along with kindred landscapes heâ€™s photographed in Norway and the Faroe Islands.