Shetland's geology has long shaped the lives of those who live there, and its volcanic origins and sheer cliffs have been awarded a Geopark status.
National Nature Reserves
Scotland's National Nature Reserves (NNR) stretch from Caerlaverock in Dumfries & Galloway to Hermaness on the northern tip of Shetland. There are also over 1,400 Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI), which include the NNRs. Together these conservation areas and diverse habitats are ideal for spotting a range of endangered wildlife and plant life.
For more information about the SSSIs, visit the Scottish Natural Heritage website.
Explore the fascinating routes through Scotland's hills and mountains and acres of forests and woodlands to uncover an unrivalled picturesque landscape, bursting with flora and wildlife. If you choose to travel by train, why not make use of the Scottish Natural Heritage mobile phone app View from the Train?
The country is home to two National Parks, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs and the largest of its kind in Britain, Cairngorms, which provide great opportunities to experience Scotland's unspoilt wilderness throughout the year.
Scotland's wild scenery is ideal to explore by foot, whether making the most of Shetland's light summer days, known as the Simmer Dim, reaching the remote peaks of the Knoydart peninsula, which is only accessible by boat, or walking on beautiful west coast islands, such as Rum, Eigg and Muck.
By the waters' edge
With thousands of miles of coastline and beaches, Scotland is home to a fantastic marine environment, including dolphins and whales, and some of the largest collections of seabirds anywhere in Europe. This landscape is incredibly diverse, from the white sands of Kiloran Bay on the Isle of Colonsay, to the iconic Old Man of Hoy seacliff on Orkney.
The Moray Firth coastline was recently voted one of the world's top coastlines by National Geographic.
Inland, there are many rivers, lochs and waterways to explore, including the UK's largest freshwater stretch of water.