Scotland is not lacking in the famous literature category, claiming such creative minds as Sir Walter Scott, considered the father of historical novel, Lord Byron, the famous poet, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes books.
Hope You Came Hungry
The national dish of Scotland is haggis, a savory pudding made of sheep heart, liver, and lungs with some vegetables and spices, traditionally cooked inside the animal’s stomach. We wouldn’t know, but it is apparently delicious with a nutty, savory flavor.
If you speak English, you won’t have to worry about a language barrier in Scotland. However, the country does have three officially recognized languages: English, Scots, and Scottish Gaelic. About one percent of the population speaks the last.
According to the United States and Canadian censuses, there are as many Scottish people living in North America as in Scotland. Statistics estimated around five million people claiming Scottish ancestry in America and Canada.
Rain, Rain, Go Away
It will come as no surprise that the raincoat was invented in Scotland in 1824, as per its reliably wet climate. Created by Charles Macintosh, a chemist born in Glasgow, the garment is still referred to as a “Mac” in Great Britain.
One of Scotland’s greatest treasures is Europe’s oldest tree. A gnarled, twisted Yew, it has stood in Fortingall, Perthshire for an estimated 5,000 to 9,000 years.
I'll Drink to That
Edradour distillery is Scotland’s smallest traditional distillery, found in Perthshire. Dating back to 1825, Edradour is the last farm distillery of handmade single malt whiskey still in production today. It receives 100,000 visitors a year but produces just 90,000 liters of malt whiskey.
Down to the Depths
Scotland’s deepest loch is Loch Morar and is also the deepest freshwater body in the British Isles. Measuring at 1,017 feet deep, the loch was created by glacial action some 10,000 years ago.
The famous Loch Ness is the second deepest loch in Scotland, so you can only imagine what wonders (or terrors) Loch Morar is hiding.
You’d be hard pressed to find someone in this day and age who hasn’t heard of the Loch Ness Monster. The earliest recorded sighting of the legendary beast occurred in 565 AD when a “water beast” attacked one of St. Columba’s followers in the River Ness.
Every place has its own quirky wordage found nowhere else, and Scotland is no exception. In the northeast of the country, girls are affectionately called “quines” and boys “louns”.
The Heights of the Highlands
The Scottish Highlands is also home to Ben Nevis, the highest mountains of the British Isles. Standing 4,411 feet above sea level, the summit of this mountain is made of the collapsed dome of an ancient volcano. The ruins of an observatory rest atop it, which was continuously staffed between 1883 and 1904.
One of Scotland’s less appealing features is the Highland Midge, which plagues the Scottish Highlands each summer. Queen Victoria is reputed to have actually smoked cigarettes during her stay there to keep the midges at bay.
On Scotland’s island of Fife, the town St Andrews holds one of the oldest golf courses in the world, St Andrews Links. Known as the “Home of Golf,” the game has been played there since the 15th century.
Scotland was ruled by its own singular monarch until 1603. After Elizabeth I of England died, James VI of Scotland (her first cousin twice removed) also became James I of England, ruling both countries simultaneously.
The Hamilton Mausoleum can be found in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire. It was the final resting place of the family of the Dukes of Hamilton, but that isn’t its only feature. The Mausoleum boasts the longest echo of any man-made structure in the world at a total of 15 seconds.
On the Scottish isle of Orkney lays a Neolithic structure called Skara Brae, a collection of eight stone houses that was occupied from roughly 3180 BC to about 2500 BC.
It is Europe’s most complete Neolithic village and gained status as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is dated to be older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids and has been called “The Scottish Pompeii” due to its excellent preservation.
The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh. Don’t worry, we can’t pronounce it, either. Edinburgh has been the country’s capital since the 15th century and is the official place of residence of Scotland’s monarch.
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