Stretching from the rich farmlands of the Borders to a chain of isles only a few degrees south of the Arctic Circle, the Scottish landscape has a diversity without parallel in Britain.
As you travel northwest from Edinburgh, the land becomes more mountainous and its archaeological treasures more numerous. In the Western far northwest, Scotland’s earliest relics stand upon the oldest rock on Earth.
A PORTRAIT OF SCOTLAND
From the grassy bills of tbe Borders to the desolate Cuillin Ridge Of Skye, the landscape of Scotland is breathtaking in its variety, Lonely glens, sparkling lochs and ever-changing skies give the land a challenging character, which is reflected in the qualities of the Scottish people. Tough and self-reliant, they have made some of Britain’s finest soldiers, its boldest explorers and most astute industrialists.
The Presbyterian Church of Scotland was established in 1689, though a substantial Catholic minority remained which today predominates in the pig crofting (small-scale farming) > communities of the Western Isles. Now sparsely populated, the Isles preserve a rural culture that once dominated the Highlands, a region that is the source of much that is distinctively Scottish.
The clan system originated there, along with the tartans, the Edinburgh bagpipes and such unique bagpiper sports as tossing the caber — a large tree trunk. Highland sports, along with traditional dances, are still performed at annual oames.
The History of Scotland Since the Roman invasion of Britain, Scotland’s history has been characterized by its resistance to foreign domination. The Romans never conquered the area, and when the Scots , extended their kingdom to its present boundary in 1018, a long era of Bonnie Prince conflict began with England. After Charlie, by G Dupré many wars, the Scots finally accepted union with the “auld enemy”: first with the union of crowns, and then with the Union of Parliament in 1707. In 1999 the inauguration of the Scottish Parliament was a dramatic change.
Evolution of the Scottish Castle There are few more romantic sights in the British Isles than a Scottish castle on an island or at a lochside. These formidable retreats, often in remote settings, were essential all over the Highlands, where incursions and strife between the clans were common. From the earliest Pictish brochs and Norman-influenced motte and bailey castles, the distinctively Scottish stone tower-house evolved, first appearing in the 14th century. By the mid-17th century fashion had become more important than defence, and there followed a period in which numerous huge Scottish palaces were built.
The Flavours of Scotland
At its best, Scottish food is full of the natural flavour of the countryside. Served with few sauces or spices, its meat is lean and tasty. Beef doesn’t get better than Aberdeen Angus, the lamb is full flavoured, and the venison superb. Scottish salmon and trout are renowned, but there are also excellent mussels, lobster and crabs. Wheat does not grow here, so oatcakes and bannocks (flat,round loaves) replace bread. The Scots have a sweet tooth, not just for cakes and shortbread but also for toffee and butterscotch.