The Neogene evolution of the Central Swiss Alps is outlined and used as an analogue for the Grampian Orogeny of Scotland. A direct comparison is made between the three tectonothermal stages which characterize the Alps and similar events in the Scottish Highlands. Geometric similarities are emphasised using geological cross-sections. Kinematic and mechanistic similarities are inferred. A net convergence model which links the metamorphic and uplift–denudation history of the Alps to its tectonic development in a crustal-scale duplex is argued to describe appropriately the history of the Dalradian and northern Scottish Highlands.