Regions

Regions

Badenoch & Strathspey

  • Covered by the Cairngorms National Park.
  • Serving mainly the tourism industry, the region provides outstanding facilities for mountaineering, field sports and fishing, wildlife watching and winter sports.
  • A number of major distilleries operate in the area, utilising access to rivers and streams to create some of the world’s best known single malts and blends.

Caithness

  • Two main population centres, Thurso and Wick
  • Historically a fishing port, Wick is steeped in Norse history and is the main administrative hub for Caithness. Once Europe’s largest herring fishing port, Wick is now home to Old Pulteney whisky distillery and to high-tech businesses such as Kongsberg Maritime, which manufactures around 60% of the world’s underwater cameras from its Wick base.
  • Whilst retaining its traditional restaurants, shops and hotels, Thurso has become an emerging centre of excellence for renewable energy which offers future economic potential as the nuclear facility at Dounreay is decommissioned.
  • Scotland’s first designated marine energy park is situated off the Caithness coast and utilising the harbour at Scrabster near Thurso saves vessels operating in the Shetland oil fields a full day in operating time over Aberdeen.
  • The Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership brings together key partners to address the socio-economic effects of decommissioning at the Dounreay site and diversification opportunities.
  • The area's waves and tides have long attracted surfers. The prestigious national and international surfing events that have taken place in the area include the O’Neill Cold Water Classic and the UK Pro Surf Championships.

Inverness

  • One of Scotland’s 7 cities and the administrative hub for the Highland region, Inverness has a thriving economy. Inverness continues to grow in population and attract exciting new businesses.
  • Popular with businesses for its modern infrastructure, and its developing reputation as a leader in sectors such as Life Sciences, Inverness has exciting developments such as the new Inverness Campus which can offer both business and educational opportunities in world class facilities.
  • The Inverness area is also extremely popular with tourists, and attractions such as Culloden Battlefield, Inverness Castle, The Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness attract visitors from all parts of the world.
  • Tourism is a key sector for the city, as are retail, construction, public administration, IT services and commercial activities related to the primary industries of forestry, agriculture and fisheries which continue to form an important part of the Highland economy.

Lochaber

  • The area is marketed as the outdoor capital of the UK, with well known natural features such as Glencoe and Ben Nevis, and the development of the Great Glen Way. 
  • Hosts one of the world's most scenic train journeys across the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which featured prominently in the Harry Potter™ films.
  • Businesses in the region are largely focussed on meeting the large demand from tourist visitors, with business providing a wide selection of activities that suit all ages and experience. 
  • Nevis Range is home to the Downhill Mountain Biking World Cup and offers year round facilities for walkers and an excellent ski and snowboard area consisting of 12 lifts. A number of visitor centres and restaurants offering breath-taking views are available for relaxation. 
  • The Lochaber Chamber of Commerce is active in many projects throughout the region and is focused on the continued development of the area as a premier destination for tourism.
  • Other businesses successfully established in the area include Marine Harvest's salmon farming activities.

Nairn

  • The smallest of the Highland sub-regions.
  • Enjoys one of the driest and warmest climates in Scotland.
  • Situated beside the sea with an oustanding coastal environment (including an RSPB Reserve), Nairn retains the aura of a small fishing town while remarkably fertile land nearby produces some of Highland's finest produce and livestock.
  • In close proximity to Inverness Airport, the area has several sites of historic importance, including the Cawdor Castle & estate, and two championship golf courses.
  • Reasons to locate a business in Nairn include low cost property, an outstanding environment, a skilled and experienced workforce and good transport links with the rest of Scotland and the UK.

Ross & Cromarty

  • Stretching from the North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, Ross and Cromarty has a varied business base spanning a number of sectors. Several of the area's major towns are within easily commutable distance from Inverness, while still maintaining thriving local businesses.
  • Invergordon is a base for the energy industry around the Cromarty Firth, which has been designated as a strategic site by the Scottish Government. 
  • Nigg Energy Park has one of the finest dry docks of its kind in Europe and can accommodate a number of on and offshore fabrication projects.
  • The energy sector is an important employer in the area, with many highly skilled and experienced staff - to an extent a legacy from its major North Sea oil & gas fabrication role from the 1970's to 2000.
  • Invergordon attracts a large and growing number of cruise liners a year where tourists can observe dolphins and whales in the Moray Firth, visit distilleries such as the Glenmorangie in the Royal borough of Tain and ancient ruins and religious buildings.
  • Ullapool is a picturesque fishing village, and has a range of activities on offer such as fishing, walking, a museum & library, boat cruises and golf clubs. It is also home to The Seaforth, known for its award winning fish & chips.

Skye and Lochalsh

  • Connected to the mainland by bridge, Skye, once voted the 4th best island on the entire planet by National Geographic magazine, is renowned for its rugged beauty, seascapes, Gaelic culture and outstanding hotels and restaurants.
  • These features sustain a thriving tourism market on the island which is complemented by industries such as farming and fishing. The landscape and land uses are reflected in a prominent crofting way of life that stands alongside modern facilities that have helped  attract an increasing population.
  • Lochalsh, also a traditional crofting area, on the mainland is a fascinating region with rich history. Two areas, Kintail and Balmacara, are under the care of The National Trust for Scotland. These remote and wild regions include the Five Sisters of Kintail – a mountain ridge incorporating three Munros – and the Falls of Glomach, Britain’s second-highest waterfall.
  • Tourism is prominent across both areas. Destination Skye & Lochalsh has been established to encourage the continued development of the sub-region's important tourism sector.
  • Many small businesses cater for the needs of the adventurer, the fine diner or those interested in wildlife. Over 20 Munros are accessible on Skye which attracts many hill walkers and climbers. Eilean Donan Castle in Lochalsh is one of Scotland’s most iconic images.
  • The area is committed to the development of its younger generation in an attempt to safeguard the future. Graduate schemes and employment grants are proving successful in attracting younger individuals back to the area to supplement the workforce. Columba 1400 offers leadership training to disadvantaged young people and provides year-round employment in a relatively remote part of Skye.

Sutherland

  • Named by the Vikings, Sutherland is famous for the Highland Clearances during the 18th and 19th centuries. Distributed across small crofting communities, and despite its sparse population, the area is well connected through modern communications and travel networks.
  • Dornoch on Sutherland's east coast is recognised globally as having one of the best golf courses in the world. Golf plays a major part in the local economy and the local college was the first to offer a Golf Management qualification in Scotland. Hospitality in the town is exceptional, as elsewhere in the area. Small businesses and boutique shops and hotels make the town a must for tourists to visit.
  • Further north, villages on the east, north & west coasts offer beautiful sandy beaches and stunning coastal walks. The area is highly reliant on tourism, attracting visitors looking for a peaceful retreat with lots to do.