If you’re looking to escape the cities, there are so many picturesque villages tucked away in Scotland’s hills and valleys that are worth exploring. The Highlands is home to quaint communes set on peaceful lochs, in places where time seems to have stood still. But home to more than just beguiling vistas and jaw-dropping scenery, these hidden destinations are unique places where traditional Highland life is the heart of the community.
These postcard-perfect villages will give you a sense of being totally off the beaten path, and they’re all within easy distance of Corrour Lodge.
Located less than an hour away from Corrour Lodge is the lovely village of Laggan, on the edge of the River Spey in the western Cairngorms. Acting as a gateway to the beautiful national park, it boasts spectacular views and nature. It is surrounded by the Monadhliath and Grampian mountain ranges and is home to a variety of wildlife. You’ll be able to spot everything from the Golden Eagle and Osprey to the Red Deer Stag on the nature trails.
This is also a base for outdoor activities such as fishing in the River Spey and surrounding lochs, pony trekking, golfing, and even skiing.
Corpach, Fort William
The village community of Corpach is located just north of Fort William and is at the entrance to the Caledonian Canal through the canal lock at the Corpach Basin. Unlike Fort William, it is an unnatural harbor but has a rich history and is today a thriving village with a small community center and lush gardens. To escape the hustle and bustle of Fort William town, this is a charming little place to come. It’s the perfect spot to take photos of the water, and there’s a small selection of local shops and guesthouses.
Killin, Loch Tay
Set on the western head of Loch Tay in Stirling is the beautiful and tranquil Killin, a village that is magnificently sited around the scenic Falls of Dochart. Its striking main street, lined with traditional buildings, will lead you down towards the loch which lies on the confluence of the rivers Dochart and Lochay. The spectacular waterfalls create a roaring backdrop to village life all year round, and the surrounding trees transform with magical golden hues in the autumn time.
Portree, Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is one of the most popular island day trips from Fort William and the western Highlands. The drive to the ferry port at Mallaig is just over an hour, and the ferry ride will take you across in half an hour. Make your way to the pretty area of Portree, the island’s capital to witness the charming row of painted houses lining the sheltered bay.
If you’re looking for a scenic hike, further north is the Old Man of Storr, a trail that’s been made for sunsets. Take in the views overlooking the Sound of Raasay, with the contrasting grassy slopes on the other side.
Fort Augustus, Loch Ness
Just 45 minutes away is Fort Augustus in the parish of Boleskine and Abertarff. This historic little hamlet has views of the south-west end of the famous Loch Ness and is a serious paradise with walkers and cyclists.
You won’t find too much going on here, but there’s a tiny handful of pubs and restaurants where you can fill your boots with an authentic Scottish meal.