The Highlands and Islands of Scotland are broadly the Scottish Highlands, plus Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.
The Highlands and Islands are sometimes defined as the area to which the Crofters' Act of 1886 applied. This area consisted of eight counties of Scotland:Argyll
Ross and Cromarty
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) uses a broader definition also used at Eurostat's NUTS level 2, and there has been a Highlands and Islands electoral region of the Scottish Parliament since 1999.
In Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service the name refers to the local government areas (council areas) of Highland, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. Northern, as in Northern Constabulary, is also used to refer to this area.
The Highlands and Islands Partnership for Transport, established in 2006, covers most of the council areas of Argyll and Bute, Highland, Moray, Orkney and the Western Isles. Shetland is covered by the separate Shetland Partnership for Transport.
In the 2007 Scottish Parliament election held on 3 May 2007, the Highlands and Islands region was the last to declare its regional votes, which were the decisive results in determining that the Scottish National Party overtook the Scottish Labour Party to obtain the largest representation in the Scottish Parliament by one seat.