Scotland is one of four constituent nations which form the United Kingdom (the other three are England, Wales and Northern Ireland). Scotland forms the northern part of the island of Great Britain. Scotland is 31,510 sq. miles in area; it is 274 miles long from North to South and varies in breadth between 24 and 154 miles.
Scotland is a country of some 30,414 square miles (78,772 square kilometres) including some 609 square miles of fresh water lochs. Its population was estimated at 5,100,000 at June 1991. It is bounded west and north by the Atlantic Ocean and on the east by the North Sea, while in the south the border with England runs 60 miles roughly along the line of the Cheviot Hills.
The name "Scotland" derives from the Scoti, a Celtic tribe who migrated to Scotland from Ireland during the fifth and sixth centuries and who, in time, merged through conquest and intermarriage with the Pictish tribes to form the nucleus of the Scottish nation. Scotland has some 790 islands ranging from large rocks to land several hundred square miles in area. Of these, the largest and best know are the groups of Shetland and Orkney in the north-east; Lewis, Harris, Skye, Mull and Islay in the Hebrides – the string of islands which lies off the west coast of Scotland – and the islands of Bute and Arran in the Firth of Clyde. About 130 of the Scottish islands are inhabited.
The official language is English, although Gaelic is spoken, primarily in the North and West of Scotland. The Scots language (which has many similarities to English, but also draws on French and Gaelic) is also spoken. Whereas Gaelic is the language of the Highlands & Islands, Scots is the language of the Lowlands.
Scotland - Physical Characteristics
Scotland is divided into three main regions; the Highlands, the Midland Valley and the Southern Uplands. The cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee together with numerous towns, most of the population and the majority of Scotland's industry is located within the Midland Valley. This broad valley averages 50 miles across and runs WSW to ENE across the centre of the country. It is geologically distinct from the surrounding regions, being composed of Devonian Old Red Sandstone, peppered with ancient volcanoes, as against the older sedimentary rocks forming the Southern Uplands or the ancient metamorphic melange, comprising the Highlands to the north.
Scotland includes 787 islands, of which most belong to groups known as the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland. Only 62 exceed three square miles in area.
Of 26 rivers flowing directly into the sea. The Rivers Clyde, Forth and Tay open into significant estuaries and support three of the major cities of Scotland (Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee respectively). Scotland is well known for its mountainous and beautiful scenery. Much of the upland within the UK is contained within the borders of Scotland, along with the highest peaks. The highest mountains in Scotland are listed on the slide No.3. Scotland is also noted for its lochs (this name is generally used for lakes in Scotland). Much of the west coast of the country is intersected by Sea Lochs, the longest of which, Loch Fyne, penetrates more than 40 miles inland. Notable fresh-water lochs include Loch Ness (the one with the Monster!). Further information is available on the slide No.3, too.
Eilean Donan Castle
Although the island of Eilean Donan has been a fortified site for at least 800 years, the present building largely dates from the early 20th century. Today's castle, which rose from the ruins of its predecessor, was re-built between 1912 and 1932 by Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap.
At the meeting point of three sea lochs on the west coast of Scotland, Eilean Donan is situated by the picturesque village of Dornie on the main tourist route to the Isle of Skye.
Dun Telve & Dun Troddan – Highland, Scotland - Brochs
Dun Telve and Dun Troddan are situated within sight of each other not far from the coast of the mainland near Skye.
During the centuries before and after the birth of Christ, the world of northern Europe was going through uncertain and often dangerous times. The civilizations of the Mediterranean world were making their presence felt. Greek traders gradually opened up the region, selling wine and manufactured goods to the natives. The Romans soon followed, adding tribe after tribe and country after country to their empire until they eventually arrived on the shores of Britain. Needless to say, these events brought utter chaos to the Celtic world and this turmoil is reflected in the construction of fortifications. In the north of Scotland and the islands off its coast these took the form of stone-built towers known as brochs.
Brochs are generally tall, conical structures, up 15 metres or so high and about the same across at the base. The outer wall is typically made of two concentric 'skins' bonded together by stone lintels. The space between them is generally occupied by a winding staircase and a number of small cells. They have a single entrance which was heavily defended. The door was recessed, about halfway down the long entrance passage, and there were often guard rooms on either side. About 500 examples have been recorded, mainly in the Northern and Western Isles and on the mainland of Caithness and Sutherland. Although there are earlier prototypes, the majority seem to date to the period between 100 BC and the arrival of the Romans in the second century AD. They are remarkably uniform in design and some believe that they are the work of a few itinerant 'broch architects'.
The Picts were Celts. Their ultimate ancestors were the people who built the great stone circles like Calanais on the Isle of Lewis in the third millennium BC in Neolithic times, and the brochs in the early Iron Age from about 600 BC to 200 AD.“
Although most of Scotland was in Scottish hands by August 1297, Wallace successfully recruited a band of commoners and small landowners to attack the remaining English garrisons between the Rivers Forth and Tay.
IONA - ABBEY
One of Scotland's most historic and venerated sites, lona Abbey is a celebrated Christian centre and the burial place of early Scottish kings.
The Abbey and Nunnery grounds house one of the most comprehensive collections of Christian carved stones in Scotland, ranging in age from 600AD to the 1600s.
Over the centuries the Abbey buildings have been considerably altered. St Columba and his followers built a small monastery from wood, wattle and daub. Later, the timber was replaced with stone and in around 1200, the Columban Monastery was transformed into a Benedictine Abbey. Numerous additions were made to the building from then until the mid 16th Century. The architecture of the church was determined by the demands of its monastic community, local congregation and pilgrims, so its shape evolved to meet their needs.
There has been a monastery at Melrose, or Mailros, since about 650AD. The first monastery was founded here by St Aidan of Lindisfarne and monks came from St Columba's monastery on Iona. This monastery was located in a loop in the River Tweed two miles to the east of today's Melrose, now known as Old Melrose. In 1136 King David I asked Cistercian monks from Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire to found an abbey at Melrose. David intended this to be on the site of St Aidan's monastery, which had been destroyed by Kenneth MacAlpin and the Scots in 839AD. The Cistercians, however, needed good farming land within which to place their abbey, and negotiated instead for a site two miles away in what we today call Melrose.
'A place of legends and fairytales.' Family home of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne and a royal residence since 1372. Childhood home of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, birthplace of Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret and legendary setting for Shakespeare's famous play 'Macbeth'.
A Loch Lochy. It is one of the long, deep lochs which makes up the Great Glen which links Loch Ness to Loch Oich, Lochy and the western sea. The whole forms a substantial part of the Caledonian Canal.
Ben Nevis (possibly from an old Gaelic word meaning venomous) is the highest mountain in the British Isles at 1344 metres. This also makes it the highest Munro. It is easily accessible from Glen Nevis via the old pony track which used to service the observatory on the summit.
Ben Nevis, or the 'Ben' as it is fondly known locally, sits majestically at the head of Loch Linnhe, its presence dominating the landscape from all corners of Fort William and some parts of Lochaber.
The dramatic effect of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain, is emphasised by the fact that it begins its rise from sea-level on the shores of Loch Linnhe, to tower 4,406ft (1,344m) above the town of Fort William, providing an almost paternal presence.
Ben Nevis, although not as high as Alpine mountains, is positioned on a more northerly latitude and the climate can be considered similar to Arctic regions.
One of the largest and best known Scottish islands, Skye is particularly famous for its mountain scenery. Many people come here to climb or walk in the Cuillin and the Quiraing. Quite an expanding population since the early 1990s, now there are over 9000 people living on the island.
The stark rise of the jagged Cuillin ridge drops to the gentle white of a soft sand beach. Inlets, bays and islands create a complex lacework pattern with the sea. Tiny villages and historic keeps are familiar and fascinating. And time means nothing, because beneath every footstep lies 500 million years of history. Discover the compelling past, the dynamic future and through the essence of this remarkable land create unforgettable memories to live with you forever.
Edinburgh is a major and historic city on the east coast of (One of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; located on the northern part of the island of Great Britain; famous for bagpipes and plaids and kilts) Scotland on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, and in the unitary local authority of City of Edinburgh. It has been the capital of Scotland since 1492 and is the site of the Scottish Parliament, which was re-established in 1999.
Edinburgh is the historic capital of Scotland — though it didn't become the capital until the 15th century. Before that, the capital was Perth. Its attraction to visitors is really twofold: its incomparable geographical setting; the city sits on several strange hills (they are in fact extinct volcanoes) with magnificent views of the River Forth, and its architecture; the city is called the "Scottish Athens" for its wealth of neo-classical buildings. Even though many of the buildings appear dirty and grey, Edinburgh is nevertheless one of the great beautiful cities of Europe.
Edinburgh is clearly divided into two cities: the Old Town and the New Town.
Edinburgh Castle is the city's most famous monument.
The Old Town is built on a narrow ridge extending from the castle east towards Holyrood House. The street running between them is called the Royal Mile, and is by far the most fascinating street to walk.
Princes' Street and Princes' Gardens roughly divide the Old and New Towns. Princes' Street is Edinburgh's most famous.
Slide No. 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 - GAMES
Tossing the Caber
Tossing the caber is easily the most recognisable trademark of Scottish Highland games and is one of the most spectacular of the heavy events.
The origins of caber tossing are unknown although it has been suggested that it was developed by foresters for throwing tree trunks into the river. It would be difficult to devise a more physically demanding method of moving felled timber and the more likely explanation is that it was a sport amongst foresters that became part of the traditional Highland Gathering events.
The dimensions of a caber - or cabar in Gaelic - can vary enormously but the norm weighs about 150lbs (68kgs), is 18 feet (5.5m) long and about 9 inches (23cms) thick at one end, tapering to about 5 inches (l3cms) at the other.
The caber used at Crieff for the Scottish Heavyweight Championship each year weighs over 150lbs (70kgs) and is 17ft 4ins (5.3m) long. The Braemar caber is only 132lIbs (59.9kgs) in weight but is 19ft 9ins (6m) in length. The largest caber recorded in the Guinness Book of records is 25ft (7.62m) and 280lbs (127kg).
Putting the Shot
This made comparison of distance records between the various Highland games, very difficult indeed.
Nowadays the old stones tend to have been replaced at most gatherings by a standardised iron sphere weighing either 16lbs (7.26kgs) or 22lbs (10kgs).
The weight or shot is thrown with one hand only from in front of the shoulders. A run not exceeding 7ft 6ins (2.3m) is allowed up to the trig which is a length of wood 4ft 6ins (1.37m) long and six inches ( 15cms) high.
Throwing the Weight
Throwing the weight is divided into two different events: throwing it for distance and throwing it for height.
Said to be one of the most graceful of heavyweight events. There are two standard weights - the commonest being 28lbs (12.7kgs). The weight consists of a 28lb ball, chain and handle, the overall length of which must not exceed 18 inches (0. 45m).
For this event the commonest weight is a standard commercial 56Ib (24.5kgs) box weight with a ring attached. As in the high jump, a bar is raised between two posts and each contestant has up to three attempts at each height to which the bar is raised.
The Great Highland Bagpipe
Unique to Scotland
Of the multitude of bagpipes in the world today, the Great Highland Bagpipe is unique to Scotland and probably the best known and certainly the most frequently played. This is undoubtedly the result of expatriate Scots spreading the word and the very great influence of the colourful displays mounted by the Scottish Regiments serving in all corners of the globe.
The bagpipe is played by firstly blowing air through the blowpipe into the sheepskin or cowhide bag which incorporates a non-return valve. The bag is then squeezed between the piper's arm and side to force air out through the chanter and drones.
At Crieff Highland Games the track events take place: Running, Cycling, Jumping and of course Tug-o-War.
Traditionally, dancing competitions included just four standard dances - The Sword Dance, The Seann Triubhas, The Reel of Tulloch and The Highland Fling, but in 1986 a couple of imports were added to the repertoire - The Sailor's Hornpipe and The Irish Jig.
Each island in Orkney has its own unique character. The Mainland is the largest, but of the total of around 70, a further 16 have lively communities. Each has wonderful archaeological sites, spectacular scenery and wildlife, quality assured accommodation, and easy going, welcoming people.
ORKNEY - RING OF BRODGAR
Recumbent Stone Circles (RSC's) are found in the Grampian region of northeast Scotland where over one hundred have been identified. They are particularly concentrated in the rolling hills around Bennachie, a singular peak dominating the Aberdeenshire countryside. These are the best and earliest examples of the type, dating (on the basis of the pottery) to about 3000 BC. Over the course of the following centuries, the tradition spread to some of the peripheral areas to the north, east and south—the latest dating to about 1500 BC. This probably represents a spread of settlement to less favourable parts of the region as population steadily increased throughout the Bronze Age.
"The Ring of Brodgar is the finest known truly circular late Neolithic or early Bronze Age stone ring and a later expression of the spirit which gave rise to Maeshowe, Stenness and Skara Brae."
Slide No. 48 - ORKNEY - SKARA BRAE
Neolithic village of Skara Brae - one of Orkney's most visited ancient sites, and rightly regarded as one of the most remarkable monuments in Europe.
Slide No. 49, 50, 51 - ORKNEY - MEASHOWE
"Maeshowe is one of the greatest architectural achievements of the prehistoric peoples of Scotland".
"one of the greatest architectural achievements of the prehistoric peoples of Scotland"
Built around 2,700 BC, Maeshowe has a diameter of 35 metres and is approximately 7.5 metres high. Built from huge Orkney flagstones (some of which weigh up to 30 tonnes) and clay, the tomb is made up of a low entrance passage (found on the south-west side of the mound) which leads into a large central chamber with three smaller side-cells in each wall.
Slide No. 52, 53 - Whisky
The principal ingredients are three, notably water, barley and yeast.
In order of importance, the second ingredient is barley. This must be clean and plump. Special distiller's yeast is the third ingredient. This has the texture of dough or putty and is vital to the process of fermentation. And fourthly there is peat, which comes to the whisky through the water passing over peat bogs on its way down the mountain, and from the 'reek' from the fire lit during the manufacturing process.
Staffa is a tiny uninhabited island in the inner Hedrides. It is famous for it rock formations, and in particular Fingal's cave. A cave at the south end of the island.
Created a royal burgh in 1588, Culross was the legendary birthplace of St Kentigern (or St Mungo).
Today, you can visit Culross Palace and imagine what it would have been like to live within the splendid interiors, featuring painted woodwork, and 17th- and 18th-century furniture. There is also a fine collection of Staffordshire and Scottish pottery. The herbs, vegetables and fruit trees in the palace gardens would all have been found in an early 17th-century garden.
The town is rich in 17th and 18th century cobbled lanes and buildings, many of which have been restored by the National Trust for Scotland.
Located 9 miles (14 km) west of Edinburgh, the Forth Railway Bridge is a remarkable cantilever structure which is still regarded as an engineering marvel and is recognised the world over. The bridge was built to carry the two tracks of the North British Railway the 1½ miles (2½ km) over the Firth of Forth between South Queensferry and North Queensferry, at a height of 46m (150 feet) above the high tide. The structure, with its three massive cantilever towers each 104m (340 feet) high, was designed by Sir John Fowler (1817-98) and Sir Benjamin Baker (1840 - 1907) and constructed by Sir William Arrol (1839 - 1913) at the cost of some £2½ million.
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