The Lowlands are the southeastern part of Scotland, and they are (as you might expect) low. We mean that literally: they're relatively flat, whereas the Highlands in the northwest are mountainous. Even though it's all Scotland, you might be forgiven for thinking that the Lowlands and the Highlands are entirely different countries after reading Kidnapped. As we say in our section on "Characterization," Stevenson sets up a clear set of oppositions between the religion, politics, and even clothing that's popular in the two regions. But what really distinguishes Stevenson's Highlands is their rugged, barren, deserted landscape. On the run with Alan, Davie finds a whole series of forests, nooks, and crannies that hide not only Alan and Davie, but other Highland clan folk on the run from England's soldiers. The impression is one of the Highlands as a highly secret place, only available to Davie (and us) thanks to the grace of Alan Breck Stewart.
Davie's surprise at the generosity of the Highlanders he first meets on the island of Mull suggests that he expected them to be miserly and mean.
Davie only defines the Lowlands in relation to the Highlands. For example, he describes his speech to Cluny Macpherson on the subject of cards as "[smacking] somewhat of the Covenanter" and "little in [its] place among wild Highland Jacobites" (23.26).