The Scottish Highlands (Scottish Gaelic: A’ Ghàidhealtachd meaning Land of the Gaels) is a historic region of Scotland. It was culturally distinguishable from the Scottish Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the Modern period, when English replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands. The term is also used for the area north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault, although the exact boundaries are not clearly defined, particularly to the east. The Great Glen divides the Grampian Mountains to the southeast from the Northwest Highlands. The Scottish Gaelic name of A’ Ghàidhealtachd literally means ‘the place of the Gaels’ and traditionally, from a Gaelic-speaking point of view, includes both the Western Isles and the Highlands.
The area is sparsely populated, with many mountain ranges dominating the region, and includes the highest mountain in Britain and Ireland, Ben Nevis. Before the 19th century the Highlands was home to a much larger population, but due to a combination of factors including the outlawing of the traditional Highland way of life following the Jacobite Rising of 1745, the infamous Highland Clearances, and mass migration to urban areas during the Industrial Revolution, the area is now one of the most sparsely populated in Europe. The average population density in the Highlands and Islands is lower than that of Sweden, Norway, Papua New Guinea and Argentina.
The Highland Council is the administrative body for much of the Scottish Highlands, with its administrative centre at Inverness. However the Highlands also includes parts of the council areas of Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Moray, Perth and Kinross, and Stirling. Although the Isle of Arran administratively belongs to North Ayrshire, its northern part is generally regarded as part of the Highlands.
Between the 15th century and the 20th century, the area was different from the most of the Scottish Lowlands in term of language. Most of the Highlands fell into the region known as the Gàidhealtachd, which was the Gaelic-speaking area of Scotland (now largely confined to the Outer Hebrides). The terms are sometimes used interchangeably but have different meanings in their respective languages. Scottish English (in itsHighland form) is the predominant language of the area today.
Historically, the Highland line distinguished the two Scottish cultures. While the Highland line broadly followed the geography of the Grampians in the south, it continued in the north by cutting off the north-eastern part of Caithness, Orkney and Shetland from the more Gaelic Highlands and Hebrides.
Ben Nevis from the path to the CIC Hut alongside the Allt a’ Mhuilinn