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Enjoy some Highland beauty with waterside breaks in Scotland

Scotland's coast and lochs feature some of the most glorious scenery in Europe. Waterside breaks in Scotland can provide delightfully memorable holidays in these islands, with vistas breathtaking enough to make you ignore that unpredictable weather.

Would-be monster-spotters will find a comfortable base at the Clansman Hotel (www.lochnessview.com) on the shores of Loch Ness. Rooms come with balconies offering loch and woodland views.  The Cobbs restaurant serves up innovative cuisine, and a fine selection of Scotland's best malt whiskies.  Rooms start at £99 per night bed-and-breakfast, but look out for special offers on weekend breaks, and deals with dinner included.

One of the best ways to explore the banks of Scotland's Great Glen is from the vantage point of a converted barge making the spectacular journey through Scotland's most distinguished waterway from Inverness in the east to Fort William in the west.

Fingal Cruising (www.fingal-cruising.co.uk) offers cruises along the Caledonian Canal, including Loch Ness, with plenty of opportunities to cycle or hike along the waterside, and explore the Highland trails, then return to the boat for dinner and a comfortable cabin on board. Listen to the waves lap against your porthole, and watch deer scurrying through the forest. The 7-night cruises are £775 per person full board, while 4-night cruises in either direction are £395.

The silver sands of Camusdarach beach, midway between Arisaig and Mallaig on the remote north-west coast, will be familiar to fans of the film Local Hero. Despite being immortalised on celluloid, it remains an unspoilt and tranquil escape, with fantastic views out to sea and across towards the islands of Rhum, Eigg and Muck.

Rental cottages and self-catering accommodation in the area are available from www.road-to-the-isles.co.uk, including Rasger Lodge. This rustic house sleeps up to 8, and costs from £695 per week in the low season and from £995 in the high season. Its proximity to the beach make this among the most idyllic of all waterside breaks in Scotland.

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