The perpetrators of the highland clearances never had 21st century ecotourism in mind. But the brutal, forced removals of tenant farmers in the north of Scotland during the 18th and 19th centuries created great swaths of barely populated land that today lie pristine and unmolested, home to thriving wildlife populations. One of the most beautiful of these is Ardnamurchan the most westerly point of mainland Britain and a remote, rugged region reached via ferry and single-track road.
Ardnamurchan is known for its abundant fauna. Whale sightings are common between March and October. Dolphins and seals are also regular visitors. Boat trips can be organized through Ardnamurchan Charters, who also arrange loch and sea fishing expeditions (a 103-kg skate heads the list of record catches). For landlubbers, Ardnamurchan provides excellent treks up mountains like Ben Hiant, and the chance to glimpse red deer and pine marten or sea and golden eagles.
Decent hotel accommodation is available, but to properly get into the spirit, rent an old farming croft on the tiny isle of Carna on Loch Sunart. There's usually no television or phone, and food is delivered by boat. See west-scotland-marine.com.