Kilts! Lake Monsters! Whiskey! Tall rugged men with swords – looking at you Jaime Fraser! Scotland is famous for such things, but what should they really be known for?
- Kind locals
You’ll find kind people all over the world, but Scotland is exceptional in how genuinely friendly people are.
Lochs are lakes, often narrow and sometimes connected to other bodies of water. They’re everywhere in Scotland and often have folklore attached to them. The most famous Loch of course is Loch Ness, where the famous lake monster Nessie lives, or does she? Whether you’re a believer, or a skeptic, the lochs are undeniably beautiful.
The land of scotch, which isn’t particularly my favorite. But all true Scotsmen(and women) must have a swig and I had to pay respect to my mother’s last name – finding myself at Urquhart Castle taking a shot with my dad on the banks of Loch Ness.
- Highlands are magical
The Highlands are perhaps the most famous part of Scotland and easily the first thing that comes to mind when picturing it. It is what people see most in media depictions of Scotland, and for good reason. The Highlands are absolutely astonishing. Driving through them feels like entering another realm, something more ancient and precious.
To learn more about them, click below!
Scotland is grey and wet, as is the stereotype. The summer can get pleasantly warm but never really hot (I was there for a week in August and I wore shorts and a light jacket for most of the time). The winter gets cold, less so for the low temperature and more for the wind chill and rain showers.
I didn’t think that people would wear kilts for everyday wear or on the streets, but I actually did see a lot of men in kilts. This could’ve been because I was around a wedding in Inverness, a company meeting in Edinburgh, and went to a lot of historical sites, but even without these I saw a couple on the streets.
These will creep up on you. Seriously, if you’re not used to driving in different countries then maybe have someone else drive for you, because my 59 year old father even had trouble with the roundabouts and how they worked. Also they drive on the left side of the road so be aware.
Scottish food is a lot like British and Irish food, heavy and hearty. Lots of meat and potatoes and – most famously – haggis. I didn’t try haggis because the smell of one made me nauseous, but I did try black pudding a different day, and lets just say that I’m still holding onto my title as a picky eater.
Scotland is apart of the UK and uses British currency, however it also prints out its own version of the bank notes as does Northern Ireland (these can’t be used in England).
Calling all MacDonalds, Campbells, Gordons, and Stewarts! Clan life still lives on today, although we mainly see it through television or movies. It is dynamic and beautiful, holding true to old traditions.
For more information about clan life, click below.
- Edinburgh – Scottish or British?
Something that was often on my mind in the Lowlands of Scotland was whether or not I felt as if I was in England or Scotland. Because the Highlands are the most striking feature of the country, it is what people think of most. It feels the most traditional, and it some ways it was, I saw more kilts and heard more of a heavy accent up north (I realize how stereotypical that sounds). However, down south it was a complex blend of the two countries, with influences from other cultures as well – as is to be expected in any large city.
I absolutely loved Edinburgh but will admit it felt more British than Scottish to me, especially with the Royal Mile and Holyrood Palace more reflecting the current royals, rather than the Scottish history there, and the Royal Yacht Britannia docked on the river. Yes, you can find Scottish roots wherever you look, but to me it felt as if it had been covered with a British sheen, something that I didn’t see up north.
Folklore is aplenty in Scotland, sharing many similarities with Ireland through Gaelic roots. There is a clear connection to nature, the seasons, and the earth.
Perhaps the two most famous creatures in Scottish folklore are the Kelpie and Selkie. Selkies are beings that can transform from human to seal with the help of their removable seal pelt. Kelpies are a little more mysterious and vaguely creepy. Whereas Selkies are often involved in romantic or tragic tails – similar to mermaids, Kelpies are beings who appear as horses near lochs or small bodies of water. Most tales involve them tricking humans onto their backs and dragging them down to their deaths.
Check out the animated movie Song of the Sea! It is Irish but depicts Selkies and Celtic folklore very well.