Rough Guide has taken the step of recognising that visitors to Scotland will find at least two different worlds - the Lowlands, extending from the English border to the two major cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, and, to some extent, following the east coast round through the cities of Dundee and Aberdeen. Much of the tourist trade will be centred on this area, with many people heading in to the two major cities. City guides are available, meeting the specific needs of visitors to, say, the Edinburgh Festival or exploring the many attractions of the capital or of Glasgow. Travel within the Lowlands is fairly well catered for, but once you leave the Lowlands and enter the Highlands, you are into a very different world. The Highlands is characterised by its mountains, with limited road access, and very limited rail access. Roads often become single track, or even dirt track, weaving their ways through the mountain valleys. The weather can be variable, and any traveller has to view this region with respect. The mountains may only be 3-4000 foot in height, but they take an annual toll of the lives of those who set out to explore them without adequate equipment or preparation. And the West coast is an entirely different prospect from the east. It is carved into by the sea and broken up by river estuaries, creating an almost fjord-like landscape. Beyond the major routes, navigation skills are at a premium. Off-shore, you will find scores of small islands, rich in archaeology and romance, often accessible only through infrequent ferry or light aircraft journeys (though the Isle of Skye can be reached by bridge, now, gloriously free of tolls).Read more ›
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A guide for the involved traveler26 Mar. 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Most travel guides to Scotland include lots of photographs mixed with bumper sticker descriptions, limited amounts of travel hints, and listings for high-end accomodations. The Rough Guide to "Scottish Highlands & Islands" aims at a somewhat different audience, readers who have already decided to visit Scotland and want some honest and substantive travel narrative and practical details about more-affordable accomodation and travel.
This rough guide is dense with the kind of details one gets from the locals, and favors maps, graphics, and written description over photographs. The guide provides narrative oriented along the major travel routes with enough description to allow travelers to make their own choices about what might be worth visiting, and to avoid glitzy and typically overcrowded sites. A useful amount of historical detail is provided about a variety of points of interest without overwhelming or boring the reader. Information about hiking, biking, and other outdoor fun is enough to anticipate these activities while pointing the traveler to where to find additional information once on the ground in Scotland. Discussions about accomodation and food center on mid-range facilities and on inexpensive hostels and bunkhouses. The information about trains, planes, and automobiles should allow the traveler to figure out his or her own itinerary.
This book is highly recommend to travelors planning a vacation in the Scottish Highlands and Islands.