Enjoy a winter wonderland in the north of Scotland
The Highlands and Moray are breathtaking all year round but are magical in winter – time to wrap up and get outdoors!
Beinn Eighe, Wester Ross
Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve (NNR) really showcases the Highlands in all of its rugged beauty. Many trails through the NNR are open all year round but a climb to the summit of Munro Ruadh-stac Mor is really for the experienced climber, particularly in winter.
The icy sections of path along with a jumble of rocks on the route through Coire Mhic Fhearchair can make it rough going and the ascent of the scree chute to the ridge can be a challenge in itself. But you will be rewarded with magnificent panoramic views of snow-capped mountains. www.nnr.scot
Loch Ness is teeming with tourists in the summer months but one of its most famous attractions, Urquhart Castle, is open all year round (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day) and provides an excellent vantage point to see magnificent Loch Ness and the surrounding countryside – especially in the depths of a snowy winter. Urquhart is one of Scotland’s largest castles. Visit the website at historicenvironment.scot
Sanquhar Pond, Forres
Winter wonderlands are not just for experienced hikers and climbers! There are lots of places to enjoy beautiful wintry weather. Not just for daffodil-lined strolls, Sanquhar Pond is just as enchanting on a cold winter’s day when the trees are dusted with snow and frost.
Ben Loyal, Sutherland
Ben Loyal is known as the queen of Scottish mountains and offers panoramic views of the countryside and sea. It's a Corbett, a mountain between 2500 and 3000 feet high, with at least 500 feet of descent on all sides. Hillwalking here, with snow lying, requires an ice axe, crampons and the experience to use them. www.walkhighlands.co.uk
Highland Wildlife Park, Kincraig
It's a great day out for the family all year round but in winter it has a special kind of magic. You can see snow monkeys, well, monkeying around, magnificent polar bears and the beautiful snow leopard family, complete with cubs born earlier this year. There are lots of animals to see here and it's all surrounded by the spectacular Cairngorms. www.highlandwildlifepark.org.uk