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Wester Ross (Scottish Gaelic: Taobh Siar Rois) is a loosely defined area in the North West Highlands of Scotland and a part of Ross and Cromarty. It contains a number of villages on its west coast, including:
- Kinlochewe (inland)
Wester Ross is geographically regarded as the western watershed of Ross-shire, but administrative and political boundaries diverge from this and have been subject to several changes and inconsistencies.
Wester Ross is a popular scenic tourism destination, although the level of this has declined considerably since the 1970s. Tourism still forms a major part of the economic activity of the area, particularly with the dramatic declines in fishing over the same period.
The area is well known for its spectacular mountain scenery, especially the Torridon Hills which includes such peaks as Beinn Eighe and Liathach. Although many peaks in the North-west highlands exhibit Torridon geology, the Torridon hills are generally considered only to be those in the Torridon Forest to the north of Glen Torridon. Specifically, these are:
Hills between Glen Torridon and Strath Carron share much of the splendour and character of the main hills, although perhaps less of the drama:
The Torridon Hills exhibit some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the British Isles, surpassed in grandeur probably only by the Cuillin of Skye. Other notable peaks include An Teallach and Slioch. The landscape is dominated by the Torridonian sandstone, a Precambrian and very old rock formation. Each of the Torridon Hills sits very much apart from each other, and they are often likened to castles. They have steep terraced sides, and broken summit crests, riven into many pinnacles. There are many steep gullies running down the terraced sides. The summit ridges provide excellent scrambling, and are popular with hill walkers and mountaineers. However, like many ridge routes, there are few escape points, so once committed, the scrambler or hillwalker must complete the entire ridge before descent. The area is thinly populated, so walkers need to come fully prepared. Under winter conditions, many walking routes become serious expeditions.
Wester Ross in popular culture
Wester Ross is featured in the lyrics to the song Letter from America by The Proclaimers, and Kishorn Commandos by North Sea Gas, which relate the wild lifestyle of construction workers on the Ninian Central Platform in Kishorn. Many other songs refer to or are named after areas, geographical features and villages of Wester Ross, notably Loch Maree Islands, which has been recorded by many artists including Calum Kennedy.
Wester Ross also served as inspiration for the fictional continent of Westeros in George R.R. Martin's fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, and the subsequent television adaptation by HBO.
- Easter Ross
- Ross and Cromarty
- Dundonnell and Fisherfield Forest
- Little Gruinard
- Visit Wester Ross - a community website for the region.