Scotland, most northerly of the four parts of the United Kingdom, occupying about one-third of the island of Great Britain. The name Scotland derives from the Latin Scotia, land of the Scots, a Celtic people from Ireland who settled on the west coast of Great Britain about the 5th century ad. The name Caledonia has often been applied to Scotland, especially in poetry. It is derived from Caledonii, the Roman name of a tribe in the northern part of what is now Scotland. It has a sixty mile (96km) land border with England to the south and is separated from Northern Ireland by the North Channel of the Irish Sea. The capital is Edinburgh and the largest city is Glasgow.
Scotland is a beautiful country well known for its dramatic scenery of mountains and valleys, rolling hills, green fields and forests, and rugged coastline. While everyone knows the Highlands for this, Scotland is beautiful in the Lowlands, islands and the flat lands of the North-East as well.
Home to over 90,000 species, Scotland has a rich and diverse natural history which attracts thousands of wildlife-enthusiasts each year.
Red deer spend most of the summer months in Scotland’s hills and remote glens. They are the largest terrestrial mammal with their sights and sounds enjoyed by locals and tourists from around the world.
The Highland Cow is one of Scotland most iconic animals. With its flowing red coat and long pointed horns, Highland Cattle have long been a part of everyday life at Scotland.
The red squirrel is the UK’s only native species of squirrel and Scotland boasts over 80% of the UK’s population. As well as their native Scots pine and oak woodland areas, they have also adapted well to living in commercial forestry plantations.
The Scottish Blackface is the most common breed of domestic sheep in the United Kingdom. This tough and adaptable breed is often found in the more exposed locations, such as the Scottish Highlands or roaming on the moors of Dartmoor. It is also known as Blackfaced Highland, Kerry, Linton, Scottish Mountain, Scottish Highland, Scotch Blackface and Scotch Horn.
Scotland is the home to a vast array of castles dating from as early as the 11th century.
Situated within dramatic landscapes of jagged mountains, towering forests, glistening lochs or acres of green land, Scotland’s castles are a breed apart from any other buildings in the world.
When visiting, you can’t help but let your mind wander back to the times of historic battles and sieges outside the grounds of these fantastic stone structures.
Scotland has over 790 offshore islands, most of which are to be found in four main groups: Shetland, Orkney, and the Hebrides sub-divided into the Inner Hebrides and the Outer Hebrides. There are also clusters of islands in the Firth of Clyde, Firth of Forth, and Solway Firth, and numerous small islands within the many bodies of fresh water in Scotland including Loch Lomond and Loch Maree.
Scottish kilts are known as “The National Dress of Scotland” and are a highly recognized form of dress throughout the world. Kilts have deep cultural and historical roots in the country of Scotland and are a sacred symbol of patriotism and honor for a true Scotsman. The word “kilt” is a derivation of the ancient Norse word, kjilt, which means pleated, and refers to clothing that is tucked up and around the body.
From the Highlands to the islands, there are handsome distilleries across Scotland with doors flung wide open to welcome whiskey tourists. Each one offers a guided tour followed by the best bit: a tasting.