Scotland is one of the four countries which make up the United Kingdom, the others being England, Ireland and Wales.
Scotland occupies the northern third of the U.K. With it's rolling hills and stunning scenery, the country known as Scotland, Caledonia, Alba or Scotia is bordered by the North Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, the North Channel and the Irish Sea. It is composed of the Scottish Highlands, the Scottish Lowlands and the Central belt
The capital city of Scotland is Edinburgh, probably best known for its imposing castle built upon volcanic rock, but Edinburgh didn't always hold the honour of being Scotland's capital. Dunfermline, birthplace of steel magnate and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie and final resting place of Robert the Bruce was once capital city of Scotland. Edinburgh or Auld Reekie as it is affectionately known is actually the second largest city in Scotland with Glasgow being the largest.
Scotland also has many quaint fishing villages, particularly in the East Neuk area. Villages such as St. Monans, Anstruther and Pittenweem are all particularly pretty, with their whitewashed houses complete with crow step gables and red pan tiled roofs. The shoreline varies throughout Scotland with some areas having pebbled, craggy beaches while others have beautiful golden sand. St. Andrews in particular has a beautiful beach.
Scotland boasts a rich history, which includes the Jacobite uprisings, a period when the Jacobites tried, unsuccessfully to remove the Hanovers from the British throne.
Worldwide the influence of Scotland prevails. Early settlers leaving Scotland to start a new life in North America influenced the musical style there. Golf is thought to have been invented in Scotland, indeed, St. Andrews in Fife is regarded as the 'home of golf', the Old Course being considered somewhat of a golfer's pilgrimage.
The national emblem of Scotland is the Thistle but Heather plays a more prominent role, probably due to the fact it has no prickles. Heather is commonly used at traditional Scottish weddings in place of the normal corsage. White Heather is considered to be a symbol of luck and good fortune amongst Scots.
The national dress of the Scots is the kilt which is made from tartan, although it is only usually worn at weddings nowadays. The design and colouring of each tartan signifies a particular clan (family) My father, grandfather and great grandfather were all kiltmakers and it is a very complicated process to make a real kilt. The material used stretches across the whole floor of a normal sized room, the positioning of the pleats have to be marked with precision with French chalk and once made, the wearer has to kneel on the floor to check length as a kilt should just touch the floor when in a kneeling position.
FLAG OF SCOTLAND
Scotland's flag is known as the Saltire and is a white cross on a blue background. The flag is thought to date from the 9th century and forms part of the Union Jack, the national flag of Britain
It is worthwhile to note at this point that Scottish people are known as Scots or Scottish but never Scotch! It is a commonly held belief that the Scottish nation as a whole are Scotch but Scotch is the common term for whisky and is never used to describe a native of Scotland.