Located in the northern part of the United Kingdom, Scotland is a country of a rich and ancient history, strikingly beautiful landscape and proud, hardy people. There are many reasons why you should visit this amazing country but in today´s post, we will focus on things that are unique to Scotland. From the traditional Scottish dish haggis to the legendary Loch Ness monster, check out these 25 amazing things unique about Scotland.
World´s shortest commercial flight
Operated by Loganair, the world’s shortest commercial flight takes place between the two Orkney Islands, Westray and Papa Westray, north of Scotland. The flight covers a distance of only 1.7 miles (2.7 km)and if the weather conditions are favorable, it can be completed in just 47 seconds.
Home of golf
Modern golf originated in Scotland and it is the Old Course at St. Andrews, a town on the eastern coast of the country, which is considered to be the site where the sport was born. Golf has been played there since the 15th century.
Possibly the oldest tree in Europe
Located in the churchyard of the village of Fortingall in Perthshire, Scotland, the Fortingall Yew is estimated to be 3,000 – 5,000 years old which means it could be Europe´s oldest tree. With its massive trunk of 52 feet (16 meters) in diameter, the yew is still in good health and may last for many more centuries.
Considered the national dish of Scotland, haggis is a savory pudding containing sheep’s pluck, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach and simmered for about 3 hours. Haggis is popularly assumed to originate in this country but there is no historical evidence that would prove it.
If you ask people what they associate with Scotland, they will mostly say whiskey. And that’s right – whiskey has been the national drink of this country for centuries (since 1494) and Scotch whiskey (often referred to as just “Scotch”) ranks among the finest and most desired whiskeys in the world.
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Scotland is notable for its abundance of stunning medieval castles. Some estimates suggest there were as many as 3,000 castles built in the country. Located on the southern coast, the iconic Caerlaverock Castle with its typical moat and triangular shape is one of the most famous ones.
Breathtaking Scottish islands
Few people know Scotland can boast of almost 800 islands. Only about 100 of them are permanently inhabited which means the remaining islands offer pristine nature, breathtaking views and unique wildlife. The Hebrides, for example, provide breeding grounds for many important seabird species including the world’s largest colony of northern gannets.
World´s longest echo
The world record for the longest echo in a man-made structure has been set in an underground fuel depot constructed near Invergordon, Scotland before World War Two. The time for the reverberation to end was 112 seconds. That beat the 1970 Guinness World Record set in Hamilton Mausoleum in Lanarkshire which is also in Scotland.
Loch Ness monster
The legend of the Loch Ness monster belongs among the most famous myths in the world. Reputedly occupying the Loch Ness lake in the Scottish Highlands, the monster (nicknamed “Nessie”) is believed by some to be a plesiosaur. Since 1933 when the modern interest in the monster was sparked, there have been hundreds of videos and photos of the alleged creature, most of which have been proved hoaxes.
Born in 1759 in Alloway, Robert Burns is considered to be the national poet of Scotland and one of the pioneers of the Romantic movement celebrated all over the world. The cottage where he was born has been fully restored and has become part of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.
Built in 1898, the Glenfinnan Viaduct on the West Highland Line in Glenfinnan is a must-see for both train as well as architecture fans. No wonder this spectacular rail viaduct has been featured in several films and television series, including Ring of Bright Water, Charlotte Gray, Stone of Destiny, and the Harry Potter movies. Photographer Antony Meadley captures the Viaduct’s stunning landscape in this gorgeous photo. (See his gallery for more of his work here)
This knee-length garment became the iconic symbol of Scotland. The traditional dress of men and boys in the Scottish Highlands of the 16th century, kilts are an integral part of local culture and Gaelic heritage. However, these days, the kilt is usually worn only on formal occasions, folklore festivals etc.
Perched high above the capital, the Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s most important and famous castle. Dominating the city skyline for hundreds of years, the castle has been the site of numerous historical events and battles throughout Scottish history.
Unique Scottish coastline
Despite being a relatively small country, Scotland has an unusually long and indented coastline. Mainland Scotland has 6,160 miles (9,910 km) of coastline, which is three times larger than England’s and twice that of France or Spain. If you include the numerous islands, it increases to an astonishing 10,250 miles (16,500 km).
Yes, the Loch Ness monster is not the only legendary creature allegedly living in Scotland. Hiding deep in waters of Loch Morar in Scottish Highlands, the Morag monster is another mythical beast of the country. The alleged witnesses have reported it as a large snake-like creature about 30 feet (9 meters) long.
Located on the Bay of Skaill in the Orkney archipelago, Skara Brae is a stone-built Neolithic settlement dating back to about 3200 B.C., which means this unique building complex is older than Stonehenge or the Egyptian pyramids. It has been called the “Scottish Pompeii” because of its excellent preservation.
A bagpipe is another item commonly associated with Scotland. The first mention of bagpipes having been used in this country dates back to 1547 when they allegedly replaced the trumpet on the battlefields. Nowadays, similarly to kilts, bagpipes are usually played just during traditional ceremonies and formal occasions.
Louns and quines
If you wonder what these are, let us tell you “louns” and “quines” are boys and girls in Doric dialect, a very specific dialect spoken in north-eastern Scotland. Another popular Doric phrase is “Ay ay, fit like?“ (Hallo, how are you?“).
Venue of world´s first international soccer match
In 1872, Scotland v England was the first ever official international association football match to be played. It was held at the West of Scotland Cricket Club’s ground at Hamilton Crescent in Partick.
Situated deep into the Highlands, Ben Nevis is – at 1,344 meters (4,409 feet) – the highest mountain in the U.K. Offering stunningly spectacular views, Ben Nevis attracts viewers, hikers and climbers alike to celebrate the tranquility of the surrounding nature. Estimates suggest there are about 100,000 ascents on Ben Nevis every year.
Located in the Outer Hebrides, the Callanish Stones are an arrangement of standing stones placed in a cruciform pattern with a central stone circle. Built in the late Neolithic era, they were probably a center of ritual activity during the Bronze Age. Numerous other ritual sites can be found within just a few miles from there.
Glasgow cathedral and necropolis
Built in the 12th century, the Glasgow Cathedral (also called the High Kirk of Glasgow or St Mungo’s Cathedral) is one of the prime landmarks of Scotland´s largest city. Next to the cathedral, there is the Glasgow necropolis where over 50,000 people have been buried.
Scottish feral goats
Feral goats are a fairly common sight in the Scottish Highlands. The goats are descendants of livestock abandoned, through necessity, by Highlanders during the Highland Clearances (18th and 19th century forced displacement of the Highlanders). The goats act as a living reminder of the region’s turbulent past.
One of the world´s greatest sport derbies
The rivalry between the two most famous Scottish soccer clubs – the Glasgow Rangers and the Celtic Glasgow is enormous. It’s deeply embedded in Scottish culture and has largely contributed to the political, social and religious division in Scotland. Rangers and Celtic have played each other 399 times and most of these matches have been marked by crowd ferocity, severe riots and hooligan brawls.
More redheads than anywhere else
Scotland has the highest proportion of red-haired people in the world. As much as 13% of the Scottish population has red hair and approximately 40% carry the recessive redhead gene. Ireland comes second with 10% of redheads.