Scotland, a catalyst for the imagination and a daydreamer’s playground, is worthy of a fairytale. Draped in intrigue and exalted upon high, one glance at the unfathomable transcendental essence of this bonnie land can truly transform any cynic. For a dose of sublime inspiration, Culture Trip has searched across Scotland far and wide to find the most magnificent fairytale destinations. And yes, they’re all real!
Watching over his kingdom, the ‘Old Man Of Storr’ is an ominous pinnacle of rock and one of the most photographed landscapes out there. Part of the Trotternish Ridge, this gracious chap came about from a leviathan ancient landslide.
What a venue indeed. Situated in the Trossachs close to Loch Katrine, the name ‘Ben Venue’ comes from the Scots Gaelic for ‘The Miniature Mountain’. A popular place for walkers, two summits and ferocious cliffs lurk within this beauty.
The stunning hidden cliff rivers of Finnich Glen evoke a sense of otherworldliness, displaying the natural world at its finest. One particular spot, aptly known as the Devil’s Pulpit, perfectly captures the glen’s supernatural. Folklore has it that ancient Druids congregated at this mystical spot, as did Satan when he preached to monks.
Notably narrow and exceptionally magnificent, Loch Earn in the central Highlands is ruled by Mirror Man, a wondrous sculpture by artist Rob Mullholland. This enchanting loch is bestowed with its own tidal system or seiche, making it rare and stunning.
The kind of place featured in a great novel, this lighthouse waved to the world when it was first lit in 1909. Operated remotely from Edinburgh since 1990, an aerial cableway was put in place to transport supplies to the cottages and lighthouse.
A sanctuary where faeries flock, Buachaille Etive Mòr is circled by the River Etive and sports steep ascents and vertigo-inducing ridges. Derived from Scots Gaelic, the name translates as ‘the Big Boy Of Etive’.
Astonishing and dominant, Aonach Eagach – a precarious rocky ridge and adventurer’s dream – sits to the north of Glen Coe in the Highlands. Unsurprisingly, this beauty has quite the reputation as being one of the the most difficult horizontal ‘scrambling’ ridges in Scotland.
The sort of place to evoke existentialist thoughts, Dunnet Head, a peninsula of Caithness, is home to the most northerly point of mainland UK. Although frightfully vertigo-inducing, the jagged cliffs were made to be admired.
While the age of this stone circle is unknown, the mystique that surrounds the historical artefact transcends time. Forming part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Sit in Stennes, the world-renowned circle of standing stones range between seven and 15 feet, bearing a number of ancient carvings. Though likely to have once served a ritualistic purpose, the true purpose is still unknown, cloaking these pillars of rock in intrigue.
The perfect fusion of wild and wondrous, the name ‘Quiraing’ stems from the Old Norse ‘Kvi Rand’, meaning ‘Round Fold’. Legend has it that the fold was a perfect place to hide cattle from Viking raiders. Unknown to many but avid adventurers, this is Game Of Thrones land.
The longest freshwater loch in Scotland and appropriately named, Loch Awe holds schools of salmon surrounded by unfathomable beauty and intriguing ruins. Hypnotic reflections resemble an other-wordly portal into uncharted territory.
Sitting proudly atop Abbey Craig near Stirling, the National Wallace Monument was built in commemoration of 13th-century Scottish hero Sir William Wallace and resembles a scene from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.
The kind of beauty worthy of a bucket list, Ben Cruachan is the tallest summit in the beautiful range of peaks amidst Loch Awe and Loch Etive. The dancing reflections of the mirrored waters juxtaposed with the all-seeing mountains is therapy at its finest.