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Highland Life

The Scottish Highlands as a region is now world famous for its extraordinary landscape and its appeal for travellers as a place for fresh air, down-to-earth hospitality, and a wealth of outdoor pursuits - from hill-walking and golf to white-water rafting and mountain-biking. Inverness on the east coast, for example, is in 2010 the fastest growing city in the United Kingdom, as people flock to take advantage of the many benefits living in the Highlands has to offer.

The interest in the Highlands as a destination of choice for tourists and house-movers is a relatively recent one, however. It was not until the Victorian era, when Victoria and Albert made frequent trips to Balmoral and visits to the Highlands became fashionable among Victorian society, that the area as a whole received much attention from tourists from other parts of the UK and beyond.

The rugged landscape and geographical isolation of much of the Scottish Highlands made it a relatively inaccessible place for much of its political and cultural history. With this, however, came the evolution of its own very unique traditions, cultural life, and folklore. Click an image for further details.

A token reminder

Charms and incantations have been in use for thousands of years to ward off evil and cure disease in both humans and animals. The West Highland Museum has a significant collection of these charms, including stones to ward of witches and cure nightmares, and brooches used to ward off evil from children.

The hussif (men's sewing kit) pictured contained a letter saying:

"I send a small bag, if you should chance to go to Battle, or an affair of honour, it will be of no great trouble to put it Round your Neck, I trust it will save you from your Enemy ..."

Hussif

Stitched into the letter was a small square of satin and pebbles, seeds and pieces of stalk, as well as a tiny padlock. The seeds were identified as the fruits of either Germander or Mountain Speedwell. Unfortunately, this particular charm proved of little benefit to its recipient. It was sent by Unity Matthews to Colonel John Cameron of Fassifern who fell at Quatre Bras, Belgium, on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo.