Full name: It is simply ‘Scotland’ ( ‘Alba’ in Scottish Gaelic)
Population: 5,327,700 (2014 National Records of Scotland)
Major Cities: Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee
Area: 78,772 sq km ( 30,414 sq miles)
Density Population: 64 / km sq
Life Expectancy: 77.1 (Male) 81.1 (Female) (National Records 2014)
Currency: Pound Sterling ( £)
GDP: $248.5 billion (2013) includes revenue from North Sea Oil and Gas .
Major Languages : English ( Scottish Gaelic is spoken by 1.4% of the
Major Religions: Church of Scotland ( Presbyterian), Scottish Episcopal Church,
Nationality: Scottish and British
Anthem: Flower of Scotland
Flag: Cross of St Andrew ( white cross on blue background )
National Day: 30th November, St Andrew’s Day
Official Animal: The Unicorn
International Dialing Code: (United Kingdom) +44
Time Zones: GMT Greenwich Mean Time
Scotland is steeped in a very vibrant and varied culture which can be said to define the country and certainly leaves a lasting imprint on the visitor. This culture reveals itself in so many areas of Scottish life... in dress, in food, in drink and in music. The kilt and the marvellous array of tartan cloths, the haggis , a unique food peculiar to Scotland, the world famous range of whiskies, and the plaintive cry of the bagpipes. Here we have a culture that is encountered wherever one goes in Scotland and along with a plethora of inspiring architecture, poetry and literature, Scotland can be truly proud of its culture and traditions.
Scottish people, often referred to as Scots, are well known for their welcoming and generous hospitality. The important principals of social justice, equal opportunity and fairness radiate from the diverse range of Scottish communities. Scots are very proud of their nationality and rightly so. The people are the beating heart of Scotland and are the catalyst which has created such a rich wealth of culture, history and tradition. It is not surprising therefore that over 50 million people around the globe celebrate their Scottish ancestry which reflects the pride which is ingrained in every true Scot.
Scotland occupies the northern third of Great Britain having its only mainland border with England to the south. The country has many attractive offshore islands, notably the romantic Isle of Skye, the island groups of the Outer and Inner Hebrides, as well as the northern isles of Shetland and Orkney. Amazingly there are almost 800 islands around Scotland’s varied coastline that fronts the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, with the east coastline facing the North Sea.
Being located in mid west Europe, Scotland enjoys close proximity to Norway Sweden and Denmark to its east, but has even closer neighbours on its west coast with Northern Ireland (UK) just 35 miles away at its nearest point and Eire slightly further south. Iceland and Greenland lie to the north. Scotland’s varied coastline boasts countless sandy bays and beaches as well as many miles of wild cliff strewn coasts. When in west Scotland one is never far from beautiful sea lochs, many of which penetrate deep into the Scotland’s mainland, whilst on its eastern side large estuaries dominate as they jag into the North Sea.
Scotland has a rightful claim to some of the finest scenery in the world. The beauty of its coastline, is perfectly complimented by Scotland’s inland splendour. Here a magnificent array of inland lochs, mountains, forests and rivers combine to provide the most stunning of landscapes that have charmed people throughout history. Scotland’s unique geography makes it a truly beautiful country to enjoy.
Scotland’s climate is quite temperate and tends to be changeable. The country is warmed by the gulf stream from the west Atlantic and as such is warmer than other areas of the northern hemisphere with similar latitudes, such as parts of Canada. Rainfall varies with the west being wetter than the east, whist sunshine records show that over the whole territory sun shines 25% of the time. On average January and February are the coldest months with July and August being the warmest.
The Church of Scotland often referred to as ‘The Kirk’ is recognised as the national church of Scotland and is the largest religious group comprising 42% of the population. Christianity is the largest religion with 65% of the Scottish population claiming to be Christians in the 2001 census. Within its increasingly diverse society, many others religions are represented albeit in relatively small numbers.
HISTORY & POLITICS
Upon the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 23rd March 1603, James VI of England became James 1 of Scotland. Furthering this marriage of crowns, in 1707 Scotland embarked on political union with England whereby 59 Scottish members of parliament were incorporated into the Westminister parliament in England. In 1999 a 129 member Scottish Parliament was set up in Edinburgh being granted limited devolved powers from Westminister. A referendum of the Scottish people in September 2014 decided of Scotland to remain as part of the existing union with Britain and therefore the existing Scottish Parliament continues to govern Scotland under devolved Westminster powers. So Scotland remains as part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and is not an independent country.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Scots have a long rich heritage of celebrating New Year’s Eve and even have a special word for it, Hogmanay. The word can be traced back to the Flemish word ..’hoog min dag’ .. meaning ‘ great love day’!
J K Rowling the author of the famous Harry Potter novels is a Scot.
The shortest official scheduled flight in the world is the one-and-a-half mile flight from Westray to Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. It takes 1 minute 14 seconds to complete.
The border between Scotland and England stretches for 108 miles ( 174 kilometers) running from the Solway Firth along the Cheviot Hills to the mouth of the river Tweed into the North Sea.
Hadrian’s Wall built by the Romans to construct a barrier with the Scots to the North is not the actual border between England and Scotland. It runs further south than the real border.
Scotland, known as the home of golf, boasts over 550 registered golf courses.
(The iconic 18th hole at St. Andrew's Old Course Golf Club).
(Photo credit: VisitScotland).
Why do golfers often yell ‘four’? The word is actually ‘Fore’ meaning forward, in front, or ahead and it is shouted by the golfer warning people ahead of him that they may be struck by his ball.
The SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow is rated third in the Top 100 global arenas list finishing ahead of New York’s Madison Square Garden and Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome in Pollstar’s Top 100 list.
The oldest building in Britain is the Neolithic settlement known as Skara Brae on the island of Orkney in Scotland. It dates from 3100BC.
Red Squirrels have been part of Scottish wildlife for thousands of years. Tree cover in Scotland used to be so extensive that a red squirrel could have journeyed from one side of Scotland to the other without touching the ground!