The Scottish Highlands start at the Fort William and Aviemore area and goes to the very north of Scotland and includes the Isle of Skye and Lochalsh. Some of the largest towns in the Highlands include: Inverness, Aviemore, Fort William, Ullapool and Thurso. There are many significant castles throughout the area that have royal connections, seats of clan chiefs, and castles that are famous for their parts in television programmes or films.
Ardverikie Castle, located close to Aviemore, was home to the BBC TV series Monarch of the Glen. The castle is set in fantastic scenery with mountains, woods and lochs on its doorstep. Built in 1870 in the Scottish Baronial style, Queen Victoria lived here for a month with Prince Albert before she bought Balmoral. Inverness Castle sits on the banks of the River Ness on a low cliff and was built in 1835 on the site of a former fortress. On the opposite bank lies Inverness cathedral. It is thought that this is the castle from the Shakespeare play Macbeth, although historians say that it was probably to the east of the current castle location and there is no evidence that Duncan I was murdered here, though there have been sightings of the ghost of King Duncan along the banks of the River Ness dressed in full regalia! Urquhart Castle is also near Inverness, situated on Loch Ness. Three sides of the castle are surrounded by water and would therefore have been a prime location because this would have been a main route through the Great Glen of the Highlands. Urquhart Castle was built in the 17th century and in 1930 was purchased by the Chewett Family who later donated the castle to Historic Scotland in 2003.
Brodie Castle, located 24 miles east of Inverness was badly damaged by fire and rebuilt in 1645. This castle offers an alternative type of viewing with an excellent array of interiors with unusual plaster ceilings and French furniture, paintings, European and Chinese porcelain, Japanese artefacts, toys and much, much more. As well as this, if you visit during spring then you will see the acclaimed display of daffodils. Lochindorb Castle, located close to Grantown-On-Spey and to the south of Nairn and Forres is a slightly unusual castle in that it is built on a remote Island in the middle of the loch (same name as the castle). It is not reachable by public transport and therefore you will either need a car or bike to reach this secluded location and a boat to get across. The castle dates back to the 13th century and has had many owners, originally the Comyns. Later it was owned by the English and visited in 1303 by Edward I where he hunted in the area for 9 days. Later the castle was used by the English as a prison and a garrison for English troops. At the end of the 14th century the it was gifted by Robert II to his third son. Lochindorb Castle is now in ruins.
Other castles that are worth a visit in the higlands include: the Castle of Mey, located on the north coast between John O Groats and Thurso, built in 1566 and bought by The Queen Mother in 1952 and was her retreat during the months of August and October. It was said that her favourite place was the gardens. It was donated to a charitable trust in 1996 to secure their future. Tulloch Castle was built in the 12th century and was first owned by the Bains and then Clan Davidson. Tulloch castle is located north west of Inverness, near Dingwall. Where ever you are visiting in the north of Scotland, you are spoilt for choice with highland castles to visit - from spectacular ruins to beautiful National Trust for Scotland castles.