While you may have explored Season X’s new Siege Map—the Highlanders’ ancestral home of Broch Eastray—you may not have had the opportunity to visit the inspiration behind the iconic landscapes and fortifications of Scotland itself! Never fear, as we’re here to transport you to the land of deep-fried Mars bars, tartan, and bagpipes as we discover some of Scotland's choicest castles and loveliest landmarks that inspired Season X: Highlanders.

Edinburgh Castle

Standing proud and strong on the volcanic Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle has loomed, quiet and domineering, over Scotland’s capital since the 11th century and has been the home of many monarchs, from James IV to Mary Queen of Scots. Edinburgh Castle is also the most besieged site in Europe, having been attacked no less than 23 times in its lifetime, resulting in much rebuilding.

It’s now a popular tourist attraction where visitors can marvel at its architecture and immerse themselves in its rich and dramatic past.

The castle is also home to the National War Museum. Housed within its storied battlements, it includes exhibits of over 400 years of conflicts.

As well as numerous buildings which once operated as munitions storage, chapels, and more, the sprawling forecourt provides the backdrop for the annual Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a fantastic exhibition of drills, displays, and bands.

Edinburgh Castle

Loch Ness

Does a mythical sea creature lie within the depths of this world-famous natural landmark? That is the question many visitors to the freshwater loch have wondered, and some purport to have even captured the Loch Ness Monster (or Nessie) on camera. Containing more water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined, it’s no wonder that wishful thinkers claim there is a cryptid living in its depths.

First brought to wider public attention in 1933 (but allegedly spotted as far back as 565 AD) by George Spicer, whose story of witnessing “the nearest approach to a dragon or pre-historic animal that I have ever seen in my life” in the Courier sparked a greater interest in what could be out there. Since then, several photographs and videos have been taken of ‘Nessie’, and sonar experiments have been carried out to see whether Nessie is lurking deep within the loch. With any pure-hearted seeking of the truth also come hoaxes, including that of a deceased bull elephant seal placed in the water by a zoologist from Yorkshire's Flamingo Park Zoo.

Whether Nessie is real or not, the legend of her existence continues to spark wonder and curiosity in tourists and travellers worldwide.

Loch Ness

Stirling Castle

Atop Castle Hill sits Stirling Castle, one of Scotland’s most important historical sites. Dating back to the 12th century, the stronghold and its buildings have endured many sackings and attacks, most notably by Robert the Bruce. He seized the castle and destroyed its defences during his armies campaign for freedom.

While its past is fascinating, and its sweeping views of the Scottish countryside breathtaking, Stirling Castle has seen its fair share of ghoulish events. Here, James II ordered a brutal assassination of William, 8th Earl of Douglas, resulting in the Earl being stabbed 26 times, then thrown from a window into the grounds below. This was not the only violent killing to take place within the castle grounds, with five skeletons discovered within the last decade with traumatic and blunt injuries to the skulls leading scientists to suggest these poor souls fell to a war hammer.

Don’t let these less than family-friendly occurrences put you off, though, as Stirling Castle has many incredible sights to see, including the exquisite Great Hall, the sprawling and peaceful Queen Anne Gardens, and the Palace Vaults.

Stirling Castle

Calanais Standing Stones

At over 5,000 years old, the Calanais Standing Stones (also known as the Callanish Stones) pre-date even the world-renowned Stonehenge. Erected in the Neolithic era and used for ritual ceremonies, the stones stand in a cruciform formation near the village of Callanish, on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. The thirteen stones have an average height of three metres and are thought to have been used for religious rituals and mapping the sky.

Standing Stones on Lewis, Outer Hebrides (Credit)

Ben Nevis

The highest mountain in the whole of the United Kingdom with a summit height of 1,345 metres, Ben Nevis entices over 100,000 climbers every year who wish to conquer its peak. The first to do so was James Robertson, a botanist, who conquered the mountain in 1771.

Due to its immense altitude and polar climate, snow covers the mountaintop almost all year round, and because of this, avalanches frequently happen, making the notoriously tricky climb even more dangerous.

If you don’t fancy a four-hour trip to the top of Ben Nevis, you can always simply look upon its stunning topography from the safe vantage point of the ground.

Ben Nevis taken from Banavie

Whether you want to climb a mountain, gaze out from a historic castle’s walls, or spot a cryptid, there’s something for everyone in the mystical and magnificent lands of Scotland.