Popular belief says the sun is an infrequent visitor to Scotland, but this series of sun-soaked photos by Shadowgate reminds us why thousands of visitors each year love to spend their time trekking this wild and wonderful landscape.
Tourism accounts for 5% of GDP and 7.5% of employment in Scotland, and it’s not hard to see why! The ancient Ring of Brodgar on Orkney highlights the Neolithic heritage of the Western Isles, while two of Scotland’s most notorious battlefields (above) look serene today, the blood spilt upon their ground buffered by centuries of quiet. At Bannockburn (above, left) in 1314, the Scots won their freedom. The dream ended at Culloden (above, right) on April 16, 1746. Even today, Culloden Moor is a eerie place with a gruesome legacy.
The ruined Urquhart Castle, which stands on a headland overlooking Loch Ness, is thought to date back to the early 1200s. Nobody knows for sure when the current castle was built, but historians believe there has been a building on the site since the days of Gaelic missionary monk St. Columba in the sixth century.
The resort town of Oban lies between Helensburgh and Fort William on the west coast of Scotland. With 9.4% of its population speaking Gaelic and ferries departing to the Hebrides, Oban lives up to its name “Gateway to the Isles.” Its modest population of 8,120 residents swells to around 25,000 during tourist season. Oban also played a surprisingly critical role during the Cold War, with the first Transatlantic Telephone Cable carrying the “hot line” between U.S. and Russian presidents coming ashore in Gallanach Bay.
No visit to Scotland would be complete without exploring the grand old city of Edinburgh, home of Hogmanay, Burns Night, the Beltane Fire Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – the largest performing arts festival in the world. The picture above shows a view down Princes Street, with the clock tower of the magnificent Balmoral Hotel, the Scott Monument and the distant spires of St. Mary’s Cathedral in the West End.
For all Edinburgh’s stunning architecture, cultural sophistication and tremendous nightlife, one of the city’s main jewels remains its natural topography, in particular Arthur’s Seat (above). It may look like an exposed and isolated crag, but this volcanic hill rises from the heart of Edinburgh. Take a walk to the top for stunning views over the medieval Old Town, the neo-classical New Town and the Firth of Forth, then wonder at the fact that you’re standing in Europe’s only city to be built on two extinct volcanoes – one of which is Arthur’s Seat, the other being the Castle Rock, upon which Edinburgh Castle stands.