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Coordinates: 58°01′08″N 4°28′26″W / 58.019°N 4.474°W / 58.019; -4.474 The Northwest Highlands are the northern third of Scotland that is separated from the Grampian Mountains by the Great Glen (Glen More). The Caledonian Canal, which extends from Loch Linnhe in the west, via Loch Ness to the Moray Firth in the north splits this area from the rest of the country. The Highlands are formed on Lewisian gneiss, the oldest layers of rock in Scotland. Liathach, Beinn Alligin, Suilven, Cùl Mòr, Cùl Beag, and Quinag are just some of the impressive rock islands of dark red or gray Torridonian sandstone which project out of the gneiss. Some of the peaks, such as Beinn Eighe and Canisp, are topped with light gray or white Cambrian quartzite. The city of Inverness, known as the "Capital of the Highlands", is by far the largest settlement in the region. It is the administrative centre for the Highland Council area. Liathach seen from Beinn Eighe. With the Munro “Top“ of Stuc a' Choire Dhuibh Bhig (915 metres) in the foreground and the two Munro summits in the background. View east from Sgurr Mhòr over the "Horns" of Beinn Alligin Suilven from the Glencanisp Lodge path. Looking west from Sgurr na Sgine to Beinn Sgritheall and the Sound of Sleat. Contents 1 Climate 2 Geography 3 List of places in the Northwest Highlands 3.1 Towns and villages 3.2 Regions and mountain ranges 3.3 Glens and lochs 4 See also 5 External links // Climate This area's climate varies with altitude, altogether having wet, warm summers of average under 17C (62.6F). The winters are mild at low altitude but become snowier and colder with higher elevation, mountains may have up to 6 months of snow and naturally the area would be a vast birch, pine and montane shrub forest, such as those surviving in glen affric. Snow may lie from more than a month to 105 days, but not at coastal or very low altitudes. Geography The region is characterised by steep, glacier carved mountains, valleys and interspersing plains. Many islands (which also vary widely) lie off the coast. Elevations of up to and above 800meters are common, especially high mountains excelling 1000 metres, to the south of the region the Nevis range reaches over 1300meters and is the highest point in the entire landmass, to the east are the cairngorms which are often above 1200 metres at summits, this plateau is the coldest place in the landmass. The northwest highlands also create extreme cold that rivals the cairngorms, but not as often. For the latitude north- high 50's- the area is surprisingly warm considering its terrain as well, this is because the gulf stream has a mild influence on the climate. The northwest highlands, weather permitting, are prone to the aurora borealis; visible on winter nights and especially at the climax of the 11 year cycle. List of places in the Northwest Highlands Applecross Lochinver Torridon Shieldaig Kishorn Towns and villages Fort William Inverness Shieldaig Ullapool Inchnadamph Regions and mountain ranges Achnashellach Forest Applecross Assynt Coigach Dundonnell and Fisherfield Forest Inverpolly Kintail Knoydart Skye Torridon Hills Glens and lochs Glen Affric Glen Shiel Loch Cluanie Loch Torridon Loch Maree Loch Ness See also Assynt Scottish Highlands Sutherland Torridonian sandstone External links NW Highlands