Travel Guide: Scotland

Scotland wallpaper

If you dream of wandering in the wild valleys of the Highlands or wander through the mysterious streets of Edinburgh to the sound of bagpipes, Scotland is the site for you. Scotland has never had a dominant role in art, literature and music in the UK, but has produced brilliant minds in the field of philosophy and science the Scots have to logarithms, the second law of thermodynamics and the laws of electrodynamics was a Scot who has introduced the industry steam power and who invented the bitumen, waterproofing, telephone, television and radar.

The Scots were pioneers in anatomy, and the use of penicillin. One of them, Adam Smith, has even developed the theory of capitalism.

According to the Scots this prestigious list of names is the result of great importance has always been given to education. Not many famous names in Scottish art history, but the folk art has reached high levels. The best-known symbol of traditional culture is definitely the Highland bagpipe, which has achieved the pinnacle of popularity in the last century under Queen Victoria, who loved to be awakened by the sound of a bagpipe to the window. Other well-known symbol of Scotland is the tartan, the distinctive fabric squares formed by lines of various colors, which dates back to the period of the Roman Empire, even if only in the seventeenth century, the clans began to identify with the different tissues.

The kilts and other traditional clothing were banned after the Jacobite uprising, but in the following century were brought into vogue. The main social event was the traditional ceilidh ('visit'), a meeting of various people after work gathered around a bard to listen to the legends, fairy tales and folk songs. The ceilidh has not disappeared, but today listening to the legends you prefer to dance and drink. Many argue that the role of religion in the history of Scotland has been more important than in other parts of Britain.

Christianity arrived in Scotland in the fourth century; during the Reformation, the Scottish church did not recognize the authority of the Pope more. Later there was a schism within the Scottish church, due to the fact that the Presbyterians wanted to simplify the hierarchy of the Church. Two-thirds of Scots belong to the Scottish church, but the free Presbyterian church unity is stronger in the Highlands and islands. Catholics are present mainly in Glasgow and in some islands, secretly converted to Catholicism after the Reformation.

At Glasgow meanders a certain tension between Catholics and Protestants nothing comparable Ulster especially on the occasion of sporting events between Catholics and Protestants Celtic Rangers. Gaelic was spoken throughout Scotland until the twelfth or thirteenth century, but they are already several centuries in the Lowlands it comes Lallans English dialect with strong influences from French and Scandinavian. Today there are only 66,000 people speak Gaelic, and live mainly in the Hebrides and in the northwestern region. You are trying in various ways to keep alive this language, which has lent several words in the English spoken in Scotland, making it almost incomprehensible to foreigners.

Scotland can count on a wide variety of fresh ingredients meat, fish, vegetables and have earned a reputation as leading experts in the game think recipes venison, partridge or even smoked salmon. Among the famous dishes of Scottish cuisine include: porridge oatmeal with milk or cream, shortbread, haggis a dish prepared with the lungs, heart, liver, oatmeal and cooked in the stomach of a sheep, there's also a vegetarian option, beef broth and a brilliant modern invention, the fried Mars bar. The whiskey is still the most exported product.

The area of the Scottish territory is approximately half that of English, and for two-thirds of the land consists of mountains or stretches of moorland. Normally there are three zones: the Southern Uplands, the Central Lowlands and the northern Highlands and the islands. The Southern Uplands are made ​​up of fertile plains and hills and border with England; the Central Lowlands coincide with the industrialized region of Edinburgh and Glasgow, densely populated; the Highlands are formed by mountains of granite and sandstone: Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland, but also for the entire United Kingdom.

Of the 790 Scottish islands, only 130 are inhabited. The archipelagos are: Inner and Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland. Very little remains of the ancient Caledonian forest, which was formed by Scots pine, oak, white birch, willow, alder, rowan and wild heather. Today, three-quarters of the territory are made ​​up of marshes, moors and bare rock and 800,000 hectares of acidic peat. In the far north, which is unique to the British Isles, there are also mosses and lichens. deer are found in large quantities, while the wild boars, once in danger of extinction, were reintroduced; there are few remaining specimens of wild cats and wild goats.

On the Highlands can be seen everywhere cattle and sheep. There are many otters, while the number of minks is increasing. If you are lucky, in the woods thicker you may come across a grouse, black bird like a turkey in the family of partridges, and wild geese wintering on the stubble of the Lowlands. The seals are not uncommon; but the most famous animal, which attracts all the tourists, it is definitely the salmon. The most suitable term to describe the Scottish climate is varied. Within a few kilometers, the weather changes quickly and on a sunny day is often followed by a rain.

The proximity to the Arctic Circle is balanced by the Gulf Stream, which moderates - or almost - the temperature throughout the year. The climate of the Highlands is rather rigid in any month. The east coast is generally cool and dry, with winter temperatures almost always above zero - unless you are blowing the cold winds of the North Sea. On the west coast is less cold, but the relative humidity is higher; the average summer is 19 ° C. May and June are the driest months, July and August the warmest. The far north the sun almost never sets during the summer, and is set for a short time in the winter.

Given the breathtaking beauty of the landscape and the many possibilities for sports and other outdoor activities, it is surprising that Scotland has only recently established a national park (this is perhaps explained by the long tradition of Scottish free and unconditional contact with the nature): the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park was opened July 19, 2002, and July 24 Princess Anne has officially opened.

The Loch Lomond, 30 km north of Glasgow, is the largest lake in the British, but the park also includes the mountains of the Trossachs and Loch Katrine: it is about 1,300 square miles of mountains and lakes, which adds a center information with various activities; access to the park is free. Highland The best path is the West Highland Way, which, with its 153 km, runs through beautiful landscapes from Glasgow to Fort William, the starting point for those who want to climb Ben Nevis - the highest high in Britain.

They also make beautiful walks along the Trossachs, in the heart of Rob Roy. Cyclists in search of wild paths away from the world and love the Highlands and islands of the northwest, in particular the Hebrides. The less intrepid cyclists prefer, however, the loch and the glen of Scotland Central and South America. The most important ski resort of Great Britain is Aviemore, but you can also ski in Glencoe, Nevis, Glenshee, The Lecht and Nevis Range. Scotland's national sport is golf: the number of golf courses per capita is the highest in the world. Is more suitable for surfing the north, particularly Thurso.

Fishing is strictly regulated and practice it is very expensive. In The River Spey and the surrounding loch trout and salmon abound. On the west coast and on the islands, bird lovers will find their paradise. A trip to Scotland would be complete without a visit to Loch Ness in search of Nessie, the monster of the lake; but if you lack the time, a trip to Loch Ness may be a good idea, because it is a mysterious and fascinating place, the ideal lair for a monster.

Located just 48 miles from Edinburgh, which for too long has eclipsed, Glasgow actually has a lot to offer to tourists, especially now that gets rid of the violent reputation of the city, economically depressed and paralyzed by unemployment. In the 80s and 90s, in fact, Glasgow has managed to reinvent itself as a cultural and social point of view, and has remained a city deeply Scottish, vital and full of energy. The center, with grid pattern is situated on the north bank of the River Clyde, an important center of shipbuilding. In Sauchiehall St and its shops, pubs and restaurants to suit all tastes.

Lovely market town in the heart of the Scottish Borders, Melrose preserves the ruins of an abbey and a classic market square; in the surrounding countryside you can make beautiful walks. The ruins of the abbey still maintain a pure Gothic style, with ornate decorations in stone. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Sir Walter Scott participated in the restoration. The beauty of the city plus the gardens and a museum of the engines.

The islands of the Outer Hebrides, bare and desolate, are arranged along an arc of more than 200 km and are fully exposed to currents and storms of the Atlantic. The sky and the sea dominate the skyline and views of white sandy beaches and bogs. More than any other place in Scotland, where the surviving traditional farm life and Gaelic culture. The strict observance of Protestantism makes these islands one of the last places in the world where you strictly sanctify the holidays.

The island of Barra has a perimeter of only 19 km away and is ideal for exploring on foot. It contains all the features of the Outer Hebrides, that is, beautiful beaches, evidence of Neolithic and a strong sense of belonging to the community. Moving north, we arrive in South Uist, the second largest island. The west coast is flat and it is a succession of sandy beaches; the eastern one, however, is more undulating and broken in four places from sea loch.

You probably will not see the flat and wet Benbecula, but maybe it's better that way, since it is dominated by the British army missile base. North Uist is half submerged by the Loch and on the west coast offers beautiful beaches. The Neolithic site of the two most spectacular Uist is the burial chamber of Bharpa Langas.

Arriving in Harris, which boasts the most spectacular scenery of the Hebrides, he speaks only with superlatives, and the other islands almost disappear in comparison to this magnificent combination of mountains, beaches, dunes, rocky hills and unpredictable. Harris is the home of Harris tweed, woven in wool high quality worked in the homes of the islanders. The Port of Tarbert, on a narrow strip of land, is dominated by mountains and is enclosed between two lochs, and North Harris and South Harris. North Harris is the most mountainous part of the Hebrides, while South Harris is characterized by beaches, farms and by a lunar landscape.

The last of the Outer Hebrides is Lewis. The northern part is a flat moorland dotted with numerous lochs and farms that stretch to the end of the Butt of Lewis, where there is a lighthouse and seabird colonies. The southern part of the island is very beautiful. It houses ancient remains, such as the Carloway Broch, a defensive tower two thousand years ago, well preserved, and 54 monoliths known as Callanish Standing Stones, arranged in a Celtic cross and dating back ten centuries before the pyramids of Egypt.

Just 10 km from the northern coast of Scotland, these magical islands are known for the stunning beauty of the coasts, the massive presence of sea birds and the largest concentration of prehistoric sites in Europe. Only twenty of the seventy islands are inhabited and the climate is surprisingly mild. Although devoid of trees, the land is cultivated and green. There are still some traces of Scandinavian culture, dating back to the Norse domination of the IX-XIII centuries.

archipelago's main town, Kirkwall, and the most important port, Stromness, lie on the largest island, Mainland. A Kirkwall you can admire one of the finest medieval cathedrals in Scotland, St Magnus, and you can take a guided tour of the distillery. Stromness is smaller and has retained its original appearance as a fishing village. Thirteen miles north, is Skara Brae, the best preserved prehistoric village in northern Europe, was covered by sand until 1850: Today, after 5000 years, everything is still intact. Nearby you can admire the enigmatic Ring of Brodgar, a large circle of monoliths of almost 5 m each.

The strait separating Mainland by Hoy Scapa Flow, the island with the highest peaks of Orkney, known for its beautiful cliffs , for the bird sanctuaries and the Old Man of Hoy, a stack of 135 m. Among the other islands include Rousay, also called 'Egypt of the North' for its high concentration of archaeological sites; the quiet Shapinsay, whose waters are teeming with seals, is inhabited by friendly people and friendly, and it is a perfect place to retreat to.

At Eday are several cairns and the 'Stone of Setter', an impressive series of monoliths. At Sanday there are several graves, and, with its white sandy beaches, it seems that most Caribbean British climate - except, of course. The largest of the northern islands is Westray, a wonderful place of prehistoric sites, sandy beaches, cliffs, ruined castles and a large variety of birds. On the island of Papa Westray will find one of the oldest churches in Europe, St Boniface's Church, dating from the eighth century, and the largest European colony of terns polar.

Located about 97 km north of the Orkneys, the Shetlands are the northernmost islands of Scotland and remained under Norse rule until 1469 Today, this archipelago may be considered, as well as British, even in the Scandinavian part: the city is the nearest mainland Bergen, Norway. Much of the charm of the islands is given by the massive presence of birds and archaeological heritage dating back four thousand years, as well as the beauty of the rugged coastline. Of the hundred islands that form the archipelago, fifteen are inhabited; Mainland is the largest, which is Lerwick, the capital.
Situated in Lerwick, the main town of all Shetland, there is a strong, a museum, exhibits on the Vikings and a fortified tower of the seventh century BC.

The former capital of the Shetland, Scalloway, is located 11 km to the west. Scalloway is a lively fishing village; There are the ruins of a castle and an interesting museum about the Norwegian resistance during the Second World War. On the Isle of Mousa Mousa Broch Tower dominates, fortified with two rows of walls, and certainly the best preserved in Britain. Among the other islands include Yell, desolate moors, and Unst, the most northerly point of the British territory. The farthest island is Fair Isle, on which a cooperative still produces a particular type of wool. Who would like to do bird watching is bring all the equipment, it's worth it.

The oldest part of the city rises in the east and includes the Gothic masterpiece, perfectly preserved, the Glasgow Cathedral, the museum of life and religious art St Mungo's and the oldest house in Glasgow, the Provand's Lordship, dating from the fifteenth century. Returning to the west, passed through the Merchant City, a complex of homes and commercial structures of the eighteenth century.

In Sauchiehall St, Charles Rennie Mackintosh built masterpieces of Art Nouveau Glasgow School of Art and the Willow Tearoom, still in working order. The Tenement House is such an extraordinary time machine that will let you relive the daily life of the urban bourgeoisie at the turn of the last century. Finally, do not miss the most interesting cultural institution, the Burrell Collection, which is located in Pollok Country Park, 5 km south of the center.

Among the objects on display in this, which is one of the few harmonious buildings constructed in recent years, include Chinese porcelain, furniture medieval and impressionist paintings.Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. No visitor can remain indifferent to the charms of the beautiful location, the architectural richness and cultural life. The housing of the old town, piled one upon the other, in contrast with the neat rows of houses in the Georgian New Town, which in many cities constitute the historic center. In the background parading the Firth of Forth and the Pentland Hills and Calton.

It's advisable to visit Edinburgh on foot, and the perfect place to start your tour is his castle: beautiful, romantic and full of reminiscences of his bloody past. Although founded in 850 BC, the oldest part dates from the currently existing 1130 From the eleventh to the sixteenth century the castle was the symbolic seat of the Scottish royal house and now houses the Scottish Division of the army. It is located at the western end of the Royal Mile (a mile of road which is the main thoroughfare of the medieval city), which leads to Holyrood, another royal residence. The artery of the Royal Mile still retains its appearance of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; taking one of the roads that branch off from the Royal Mile you can experience the atmosphere of that time, through museums and beautiful restored houses.

Near the castle stands the Calton Hill, from where you have a magnificent view of the city; do not miss the interesting monuments of the period of the Enlightenment, when Edinburgh was called 'the Athens of the North'. Before descending to the New Town, stop at Greyfriars Kirk, the church where in 1638 he signed the National Covenant (the National Convention of Scottish Presbyterians against the episcopate). The cemetery adjacent to Disney inspired the setting for one of his most moving film, Greyfriars Bobby, who tells the story, taken from a legend, a terrier who keeps watch for 14 years on the grave of his master.

To the north lies the New Town separated from the underground railroad and the Gardens of Princes St, in which it was erected the Monument to Sir Walter Scott, in the Gothic style unmistakably. The elegance and rigor of the Georgian period are found in the beautiful squares and refined rows of houses. At the National Gallery of Scotland are exposed prestigious European works of art; for a review of Scottish history, visit the Art Gallery Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

The cultural life of Edinburgh is rich and varied, suffice it to mention the Tattoo Festival and the International Festival. In some periods it is very difficult to find accommodation and you need to book well in advance. To enter the daily life of the Scots, we advise you to stay in a B & B: I found a good number north of New Town and in the southern suburb of Newington. On the outskirts there are several youth hostels. Strangely, the Royal Mile there are many places where you eat at reasonable prices and you will find everything from satay in Singapore to traditional Scottish cuisine.

With its medieval ruins, the windswept coastal scenery and a lively nightlife university, St Andrews is a beautiful and very unusual. Today, the new religion of the ancient ecclesiastical capital of Scotland is golf. Here you will find the Royal & Ancient Golf Club and the golf world's most famous, the Old Course. The bay is dominated by the ruins of a castle, beside which once stood the largest cathedral in Scotland, destroyed during the years of the Reformation. In the medieval town, a maze of cobbled streets, concentrated in a narrow space, you will find the ancient city gate, churches and chapels, a cross and several museums. The University of St Andrews, as the contemporary of Oxford and Cambridge, it is not structured around a campus and the various institutes are spread across the center of the city.

The Inner Hebrides, not far from the west coast, the islands are the most beautiful and the most easily accessible of Scotland.

Near coast Strathclyde is Jura, a beautiful island wilderness and desert, with mountains round (Paps of Jura), a whiskey distillery and violent eddies. Islay, the southernmost of the Inner Hebrides, is famous for its whiskey-tasting smoked; the Museum of Islay Life in Port Charlotte traces the long history of the island. The Kildalton Cross, dating from the eighth century, is one of the finest Celtic crosses come down to us; further appeal is given, finally, to the island from the ruins of the castle and the presence of more than 250 species of birds.

Heading north we reach the most isolated of the Inner Hebrides, Colonsay, unspoiled rocky, rugged coastlines and sandy bays, town mainly gray seals and wild goats. Mull, with its stunning mountain scenery, is one of the most popular islands: there are castles, a scenic railroad and the charm of perched villages. The capital, Tobermory, is a picturesque fishing port. Next to the south-western tip of the Isle of Mull, stands the monastery of Iona, a place of Christianity founded by St Columba. Continuing north, you come to Coll, on which there is a famous hiking trail, sun, lots of wind, two castles, a few people and a bird sanctuary. To the southwest of Coll, Tiree is a flat island with beautiful sandy beaches, which holds the record for the sunniest place in Britain.

Skye, which attracts many tourists, has a climate somewhat variable, but the shape of the island, with rugged coastline, offers unique opportunities to travel the spectacular coastal trails with magnificent views. Within the island, climbers and more convinced rejoice for the rocks of the Cuillins.

Aberdeen is an extraordinary symphony of grays: everything, including roads, is of granite. When is bathed in sunshine and in rain, the city shines like silver in a fairy tale; if covered with clouds, however, can be a bit overwhelming. Aberdeen is surprisingly clean because it is dominated by a high sense of civic duty; hosts the port serving the oil platform at sea largest in the world.

The number of inhabitants has grown in recent years, having arrived many workers in the extractive industry and a vibrant student population. Near the port, always busy, there are a striking fish market and the important maritime museum. What's Near Union St, the main street, you find the ancient port Castlegate, the house late medieval Provost Skene's House, and Aberdeen Art Gallery, where they are exposed pre-Raphaelite paintings and contemporary art.

The resort town of Aviemore is the starting point for hiking and skiing paradise of the Cairngorm Mountains. In this region, which occupies the only glacial plateau of Britain, focus various rare species of animals such as the pine marten, wildcat, red squirrel, osprey (especially around Boat of Garten) and the deer. In the crystal clear waters of the River Spey and loch fishing is practiced salmon. The Rothiemurchus Estate and the Glenmore Forest Park are protected areas of pines and spruces, which you can travel with guided tours and offer many opportunities for water sports.

The Edinburgh Festival, which is held every year in August, is the largest Scottish cultural event and one of the most important festival of the arts from all over the world; inside, the calendar of avant-garde theater (Fringe) seems to be the richest in the world, with over 500 artists who come each year from five continents. At the same time holding the Military Tattoo. In mid-August is held in Glasgow, the World Championship bands of wind instruments.

At Hogmanay, the Scottish New Year celebration, all the people took to the streets to celebrate: you may participate in the New Year more fun in your life. If you wish to experience a rugby really no rules, do not miss the Ba 'of Kirkwall, in Orkney, which for centuries played at Christmas and New Year: two teams and 400 players from a carbureted full of alcohol turn the entire city into a immense field of rugby. The game will start at the cathedral, while the port is one of the destinations. We strongly advise against the show to the Puritans.

The best season to visit Scotland from May to September. April and October are acceptable, if the weather is nice assists, but many places are closed until October. In winter it is best to avoid the icy highlands, but you can always go to Glasgow or Edinburgh. In August, Edinburgh is invaded by tourists, attracted in large numbers from the festival; Therefore, if you decide to go there you have to book with broad advance.

Scotland was first inhabited by hunters, from England, Ireland and continental Europe, which marked the beginning of the Neolithic period, about 6000 years ago, introducing agriculture, livestock breeding, commerce and structured society. The high degree of civilization is evidenced by the tombs and monuments in stone and civil architecture, artefacts found in various parts of Scotland, particularly in Orkney.

Then came the Beaker people of the cups, so called because they were burying terracotta objects with the dead), who introduced the bronze and various weapons, and the Celts, who brought the iron. The Romans were never able to subdue the proud people of this region and their failure is symbolized by the construction of Hadrian's Wall.

Christianity was introduced by St. Ninian, who established a religious community in 397 the Irish missionary Saint Columbanus in 563 he founded an early Christian center in Iona, which is still today a place of pilgrimage and a place of spiritual retreat. Around the seventh century Scotland was inhabited by several groups in continuous opposition: the matriarchal society of the Picts and Scots Gaelic in the north, the Norse on the islands, the Britons and Anglo-Saxons in the Lowlands. In the ninth century the Scots had already subdued the Picts, of which today remains a series of monoliths in eastern Scotland.

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