The Scottish Highlands are a mountainous region encompassing northwest Scotland. Loch Ness is at the centre, overlooked by the ruins of medieval Urquhart Castle and known for mythical monster “Nessie”. Northeast, near the city of Inverness, dolphins swim in the Moray Firth. Southwest, in the Western Highlands, trails wind up Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest peak, and red deer roam Glencoe valley with its waterfalls.
The Northwest Highlands are located in the northern third of Scotland that is separated from the Grampian Mountains by the Great Glen (Glen More). The region comprises Wester Ross, Assynt, Sutherland and part of Caithness. The Caledonian Canal, which extends from Loch Linnhe in the south-west, via Loch Ness to the Moray Firth in the north-east splits this area from the rest of the country. The city of Inverness and the town of Fort William, by far the two largest settlements in the area, are both close to the boundary between the Northwest Highlands and not the Grampian Mountains.
The Cairngorms (Scottish Gaelic: Am Monadh Ruadh) are a mountain range in the eastern Highlands of Scotland closely associated with the mountain of the Cairn Gorm. The Cairngorms became part of Scotland's second national park (the Cairngorms National Park) on 1 September 2003.