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So, have you had enough of castles, beaches and bagpipes yet? Fortunately the Highlands has an incredibly diverse range of unusual attractions, activities and out of the ordinary experiences to tempt you out of the distillery.

Although maybe not evident from strolling in its cities, Scotland has a long spiritual history. If the pace of modern life gets too much, or you find the need to atone for overindulgence in some of the Highlands more traditional spots then there are a number of options.

Pluscarden Abbey is a traditional Medieval Monastery where you can experience a taste of life as a monk without the commitment.

If contemporary spirituality is more to your taste then the Findhorn Foundation also offers residential programmes for those in need to crystal healing or chakra realignment.

Although the Presbyterian faith is largely in decline on the west coast the Isle of Skye still attracts spiritual seekers. Try Equine Meditation sessions on horseback at the retreat near Dunvegan.

If your taste in outdoor sports veers toward the extreme, then the wild landscapes of the Highlands provide the perfect backdrop for your adrenaline fix. The Celtman Extreme Ironman takes place in Torridon each year, truly one of the most epic challenges in anyone’s lifetime.

For a more sedate alternative, the local community in Durness organizes a week-long series of running events every summer, culminating in a marathon that goes to the lighthouse at Cape Wrath.

The Ice Factor in Kinlochleven is the place ice climbers go if the weather is bad. Learn to wield an ice axe or hone your skills inside the massive freezer.

If you have never surfed then you may be surprised to find that some of the best wind and waves in the country can be found on the Islands. There are two surf schools on Lewis, and another two on Tiree offering kite surfing and wind surfing tuition and the Tiree Wave Classic every year in October, is one of the biggest wind surfing events on the international calendar.

We also love sloth here at True Highlands, an integral part of any relaxing holiday in our opinion. If you have left your mobility scooter at home or that hangover means the thought of even a meander to the Free Church is too much then Segway tours, available in Aviemore, Fort William and Stornoway are the answer.

Or, if animals are your thing then how about adopting a reindeer or going husky dog sledding in Aviemore.

The Highlands are also a great destination if you are attracted to pursuits of a more cerebral nature, there are archeological digs a plenty to volunteer at, trees to plant at Invermoriston and no shortage of conservation and heritage trusts where you can lend a hand.

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Celtman 01
Siberian Husky racing at Glenmore Forest in The Cairngorms Nationl Park, Aviemore Inverness-shire.
Bothy

Photography courses are also a great way to interact with the environment and can be arranged throughout the Highlands.

Still looking for something different? A more rustic holiday experience can be had in some of Scotland’s remote mountain bothies. A bothy is a basic shelter, unlocked and free to use for anyone and most commonly located away from main roads. All are watertight and have a fireplace and make a great base for hillwalking. Bring whisky to make friends.

If you have kids then you could put them to work panning for gold. Kits are available to hire from the Strath Uille crafts and information centre in Sutherland.

If that doesn’t keep them quiet then stick them in jail!

So whether you want to become a castaway on Taransay, see Snakes on Skye or see a fossilised tree – speak to the locals, speak to us and do some digging!