The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Scottish Highlands

Highlanders redirects here; for the rugby union team from Otago, New Zealand, see Otago Highlanders.

The Scottish Highlands are considered to be the mountainous regions of Scotland north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault.

The area is generally sparsely populated, with many mountain ranges dominating the region. Regional administrative centres include Inverness. The Highland Council is the administrative body for around 40% of this area; the remainder is divided between the council areas of Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Moray, Perth and Kinross, and Stirling. Although the Isle of Arran administratively belongs to North Ayrshire, its northern part is generally regarded as part of the Highlands.




Culturally the area is quite different from the Scottish Lowlands. Most of the Highlands fall into the region known as the Gaidhealtachd, pronounced roughly Gailtahk, which was, within the last hundred years, the Gaelic speaking area of Scotland. Highland English is also widely spoken.

See also boobrie.

Historical Geography

In traditional Scottish geography, the Highlands refers to that part of Scotland north-west of a line drawn from Dumbarton to Stonehaven, including the Inner and Outer Hebrides and the County of Bute, but excluding Orkney and Shetland, Caithness, the flat coastal land of the Counties of Nairnshire, Morayshire and Banffshire, and all East Aberdeenshire. This area differed from the Lowlands by language and tradition, better preserving the Gaelic speech. Even in a historical sense the Highlanders were a separate people from the Lowlanders, with whom, during many centuries, they shared nothing in common. The City of Inverness is usually regarded as the capital of the Highlands.



The Highlands consist of an old dissected plateau, or block, of ancient crystalline rocks with incised valleys and lochs carved by the action of mountain streams and by ice, the resulting topography being a wide area of irregularly distributed mountains whose summits have nearly the same height above sea-level, but whose bases depend upon the amount of denudation to which the plateau has been subjected in various places.

Towns and villages

Places of interest

Historic names of areas in the Highlands include:

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