The rough and tumble landscape of Scotland was once covered by glaciers during the Pleistocene Ice Age. When those masses of ice retreated (or melted) they left in their wake a rocky, pockmarked landscape of mountains and rolling hills, dozens of deep lakes, cold water rivers and streams.
The Northern Highlands are generally mountainous with many lofty peaks. This isolated area is widely considered one of the most scenic spots in Europe.
The granite Grampian Mountains extend southwest to northeast, and include Scotland's (and the UK's) highest point, Ben Nevis, at 1,344 meters (4,409 ft).
Scotland has nearly 800 islands. The major groups include the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland; most are hilly and rugged.
The Central Lowlands, a valley of sorts, formed by ancient volcanic eruptions, is a relatively flat area punctuated by hills.
The Southern Uplands is a hilly area with wide, green valleys, fronted in the south by the Cheviot Hills on the border with England.
There are numerous bodies of inland freshwater including Loch Lomond and Loch Ness. The Tweed and Clyde are the largest rivers.