Highland profile - key facts and figures


The Highland Council serves a third of the land area of Scotland, including the most remote and sparsely populated parts of the United Kingdom. The Highlands has the 7th highest population of the 32 authorities in Scotland (235,540) while having the lowest population density at 8 persons per square kilometre.

The total land area including all islands at low water is 26,484 square kilometres. This is 33 per cent the land area of Scotland and 11.4 per cent of Great Britain. It is 10 times larger than Luxembourg, 20 per cent larger than Wales, and nearly the size of Belgium.

The length of coastline including islands at low water is 4,905 kilometres, 21 per cent of the Scottish total, and excluding islands is 1,900 kilometres (49 per cent of Scotland). Argyll and Bute has the next longest coastline with 3,723 kilometres, then Western Isles with 3,716 kilometres.  

The geography of the Highlands is also diverse ranging from fertile farmland around the Black Isle and Cromarty Firth; dramatic seascapes on the west and north coasts; some of the tallest mountains in the British Isles (including the tallest, Ben Nevis, Lochaber); and the largest blanket bog in Europe (Flow country, Sutherland).

The Highlands is also home to many lochs. This includes Loch Ness, which is the largest by water volume in the United Kingdom, containing nearly twice as much water as all the lakes of England and Wales combined; and Loch Morar which at 310 metres is the deepest. Other significant lochs include: Loch Maree, Loch Long and Loch Shin.