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Scotland. General information. Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Scotland borders with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest.

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Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom.

Scotland borders with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest.

In addition to the mainland, Scotland includes over 790 islands including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

The capital of Scotland called Edinburgh. Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, was once one of the world's leading industrial cities. Aberdeen is the third largest city in Scotland.

The Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707, although it had been in a personal union with the kingdoms of England and Ireland since James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English and Irish thrones in 1603. On 1 May 1707, Scotland entered into an incorporating political union with England to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain, despite widespread protest across Scotland.

Scotland's legal system continues to be separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland, and Scotland constitutes a distinct jurisdiction in public and in private law.

The population of Scotland in the 2010 was 5,222,100. This would make Scotland the 113th largest country by population.

The official language of Scotland is English, but one can discern a Scottish kind of English, a dialect. In the Highlands there are still people who speak Gaelic.

The area of Scotland - 78,772 square km.

The monetary unit of Scotland is Scottish or British Pound (GBP). 1 pound is about €1. Like Ireland, Scotland has its own banknotes.


National symbols of Scotland

  • The Flag of Scotland, the Saltire or St. Andrew's Cross, dates (at least in legend) from the 9th century, and is thus the oldest national flag still in use. The Saltire now also forms part of the design of the Union Flag.
  • Stone of Scone, Block of red sandstone used for the coronation of Scottish kings. Usually seen as a symbol of unity and Scottish independence.
  • Declaration of Arbroath (1320) Scotland Declaration of Independence.
  • The Royal Standard of Scotland, a banner showing the Royal Arms of Scotland, is also frequently to be seen, particularly at sporting events involving a Scottish team. Often called the Lion Rampant (after its chief heraldic device), it is technically the property of the monarch and its use by anybody else is illegal, although this is almost universally ignored, and never enforced.
  • The unicorn is also used as a heraldic symbol of Scotland. The Royal Coat of Arms of Scotland, used prior to 1603 by the Kings of Scotland, incorporated a lion rampant shield supported by two unicorns. On the Union of the Crowns, the Arms were quartered with those of England and Ireland, and one unicorn was replaced by a lion (the supporters of England).
  • The Honours of Scotland, the Scottish Crown Jewels, are displayed in the Crown Room of Edinburgh Castle, from where they are removed only for State Occasions. Stylised versions of the Crown of Scotland appear upon the badges of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, those of the Scottish Police Forces, the Scottish Ambulance Service and upon Royal Mail premises, vehicles and pillar/wall boxes in Scotland.
  • William Wallace, a national hero and a leader in the Scottish Wars of Independence.
  • The thistle, the floral emblem of Scotland, features in many Scottish symbols and logos, and on UK currency. Heather is also considered to be a symbol of Scotland.
  • Scotland has no official national anthem. There are several candidates, however: Flower of Scotland is popularly held to be the National Anthem of Scotland, and is played at events such as football and rugby matches involving the Scotland national teams, and as of 2010 is used for the Scottish team at the Commonwealth Games. Other candidates include Scotland the Brave, Highland Cathedral, Scots Wha Hae and A Man's A Man for A' That.
  • Tartan is a specific woven textile pattern that often signifies a particular Scottish clan, as featured in a kilt.
  • St Andrew's Day, the 30 November, is the national day, although Burns' Night tends to be more widely observed. Tartan Day is a recent innovation from Canada. In 2006, the Scottish Parliament passed the St. Andrew's Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Act 2007, designating the day to be an official bank holiday.
  • Gordon
  • Gordon's Kilt

Climate of Scotland

Scotland has a very changeable climate. One minute the sun could be splitting the stones, the next minute it could be lashing rain. Throughout the day, there are often wide variations in the climate. There are also wide variations over small distances.

Although Scotland just touches on the Arctic Circle, the Gulf Stream winds manage to keep the temperatures relatively mild.

In the Highlands, the weather can turn extreme at any time - and very quickly too.

Scotland’s East Coast tends to be cool and dry. In winter the temperature rarely drops below freezing. On the West Coast, it’s a lot milder and wetter with average highest summer temperatures of around 19°C, in summer. Scotland’s driest months are May and June; the warmest are July and August. In northern Scotland the summer sun barely sets while during the winter months it hardly rises at all.



Beautiful sandy beaches, sparkling lakes, old pine forests, rocky peaks, purple heather moorland, great white waterfalls, mountain torrents and slow peaceful rivers: Scotland’s diverse landscape is rich with wildlife and natural beauty. With over 6000 lochs and lakes and 6200 miles of coastline, Scotland is full of beaches, coves, cliffs, and sea lochs. Loch Lomond, the largest expanse of freshwater in Great Britain, sits within The Trossachs; the first of Scotland’s national parks, while the Cairngorms National Park boasts four of Scotland’s largest peaks, including Ben Nevis. Scotland is well known for its mountainous and beautiful scenery. The mountains often aren’t covered by trees.


Loch Ness

Loch Ness is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands extending for approximately 37km southwest of Inverness. Its surface is 15,8m above sea level. Loch Ness is best known for the alleged sightings of the Cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster, also known as "Nessie". Loch Ness is the second largest Scottish loch by surface area at 56,4 sq km. Its deepest point is 230m (deeper than the height of London's BT Tower at 189m and deeper than any other loch with the exception of Loch Morar). It contains more fresh water than all lakes in England and Wales combined.

Legend say the Nessie is similar to other supposed lake monsters in Scotland and elsewhere, though its description varies from one account to the next. One thing we know for sure: supposed Nessie has the long neck.

Popular interest and belief in the animal has varied since it was brought to the world's attention in 1933. The scientific community regards the Loch Ness Monster as a modern-day myth, and explains sightings as a mix of hoaxes and wishful thinking. Despite this, it remains one of the most famous examples of cryptozoology.


Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle sits on a cliff overlooking the River Ness, in Inverness, Scotland. The red sand stone structure evident today was built in 1836 by architect William Burn. It’s built on the site of an 11th century defensive structure. Today, it houses Inverness Sheriff Court. There has been a castle at this site for many centuries. The castle itself is not open to the public but the grounds are.


Culture of Scotland

Scottish music is a significant aspect of the nation's culture, with both traditional and modern influences. A famous traditional Scottish instrument is the Great Highland Bagpipe, a wind instrument consisting of three drones and a melody pipe (called the chanter), which are fed continuously by a reservoir of air in a bag. Bagpipe bands, featuring bagpipes and various types of drums, and showcasing Scottish music styles while creating new ones, have spread throughout the world. The clàrsach (harp), fiddle and accordion are also traditional Scottish instruments, the latter two heavily featured in Scottish country dance bands. Today, there are many successful Scottish bands and individual artists in varying styles.

The term Highland dress describes the traditional dress of Scotland. It is often characterized by tartan patterns in some form.

Male highland dress includes kilt (or trews), sporran, sgian dubh and ghillies. Ghillies, or ghillie brogues, are traditional thick soled shoes with no tongues and long laces. The laces are wrapped around and tied above the wearer's ankles so that the shoes do not get pulled off in mud. The shoes lack tongues so the wearer's feet can dry more quickly in typically damp Scottish weather. The ghillie brogue is named after the ghillie, the traditional Scottish gamekeeper and outdoorsman.

Female highland dress includes women's shoes, also called ghillies, that are tied in the same way but have thin soles for indoor wear and dancing. Traditionally, women and girls do not wear kilts but may wear ankle-length tartan skirts. A tartan sash or shawl may also be worn. Women may also wear dress tartans which are modified versions which include white in place of a more prominent colour.

Scottish literature includes text written in English, Scottish Gaelic, Scots, French, and Latin. The poet and songwriter Robert Burns wrote in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and in a "light" Scots dialect which is more accessible to a wider audience. Similarly, the writings of Sir Walter Scott and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were internationally successful during the 19th and early 20th Centuries. More recently, author J.K. Rowling has become one of the most popular authors in the world through her “Harry Potter” series, which she began writing from a coffee-shop in Edinburgh.

Piper playing the Great Highland Bagpipes, in traditional Scottish piper's uniform. From top to bottom these are called, feather bonnet, doublet, plaid & plaid broach, belt, sporran, kilt, hose tops, spats, brogues.


A short history of Scotland

c.450mil BC- Northern Highland & Grampian Mountains are formed.

c 4000 BC- Neolithic farmers arrive, building burial chambers &stone circles.

c2,000 BC- Bronze Age, stone circles built in Orkneys & Lewis.

c500 BC- Iron Age tribes build their stone towers, the Brochs.

123 - Roman Emperor Hadrian starts building his border wall.

563- Columba arrives on Iona to spread Christianity

600- First recorded sighting of the 'Loch Ness Monster'.

c900- Vikings arrive in Orkney Islands.

1005- MacBeth last of Scotland's Gaelic Kings is born.

1018- Kingdom of Scotland is born through merger.

1136- Building starts on Melrose Abbey.

1174- Stirling Castle given to English for release of Scottish King William.

1250- Saint Margaret is canonized by Innocent IV

1270- William Wallace born.

1306- Robert the Bruce crowned King of Scotland.

1314- Bruce defeats English at Bannochburn.

1320- Declaration of Arbroath asserting Scotland's independence.

1323- Crathe Castle, with its beautiful gardens.

1401- Building starts on Dunrobin Castle

1410- St Andrews university founded.

1446- Rosslyn Chapel, construction commenced by William St Clair, Prince of Orkney

1450- Glasgow declared a City.

1501- James IV starts building Falkland Palace

1513- Scots defeated at Flodden by English.

1542- Birth of Mary Queen of Scots.

1559- John Knox denounces Roman Catholic church as idolatry.

1571- Siege of Edinburgh Castle.

1587- Execution of Mary Queen of Scots

1597- Culross Palace built.

1603- Elizabeth of England dies, James VI of Scotland Becomes James I of England

1671- Birth of Rob Roy Macgregor

1676- Alexander Selkirk "Robinson Crusoe" born.

1685- Covenanter prisoners held at Dunnottar Castle

1692- Massacre of MacDonalds at Glencoe.

1701- William Kidd (Captain Kidd) Infamous pirate hanged.

1720- Birth of Charles Edward Stuart,"Bonnie Prince Charlie".

1723- Adam Smith father of economics born at Kirkcaldy.

1736- James Watt Developer of the steam engine born.

1745- Bonnie Prince Charlie arrives in Scotland proclaims himself King.

1746- Prince Charlie escapes to Skye, Scotland's most famous island

1746- Jacobite army defeated at Culloden, last battle fought on British soil.

1746- Flora MacDonald helped Bonnie Prince Charlie to safety.

1759- Robert Burns born.

1771- Sir Walter Scott born.

1813- Birth of David Livingstone.

1835- Birth of Andrew Carnegie.

1847- Alexander Graham Bell the inventor of the telephone born..

1865- Joseph Lister pioneered the use of antiseptics

1850- Robert Louis Stevenson born, author of "Kidnapped" and "Treasure Island".

1852- Prince Albert buys Balmoral Castle.

1856- Birth of James Keir Hardie a founder of the British Labour Party.

1870- William Wallace monument completed at Stirling

1879- Dundee Tay Rail Bridge Disaster.

1890- Forth Rail Bridge opened

1925- John Logie Baird demonstrated first Television.

1928- Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin.

1930- St Kilda evacuated

1997- Referendum 'yes' vote for Scottish Parliament.


Scottish cuisine

Scottish cuisine is the specific set of cooking traditions and practices associated with Scotland. It has distinctive attributes and recipes of its own, but shares much with wider European cuisine as a result of foreign and local influences both ancient and modern. Traditional Scottish dishes exist alongside international foodstuffs brought about by migration.

Scotland's natural larder of game, dairy, fish, fruit, and vegetables is the integral factor in traditional Scots cooking, with a high reliance on simplicity and a lack of spices from abroad, which were often very expensive. While many inveterate dishes such as Scotch broth are considered healthy, many common dishes are rich in fat, and may contribute to the high rates of heart disease and obesity in the country. In recent times greater importance has been placed on the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, but many Scots, particularly those of low incomes, continue to have poor diets, which contributes to Scotland's relatively high mortality rate from coronary heart disease.