Saint Andrew’s Day – 30th November

Scottish Flag – ©James.Stringer (on Flickr)
The Saltire (the Scottish Flag) – ©James.Stringer (on Flickr)

Today is Saint Andrew’s Day, the patron saint of Scotland, but what do you know about Scotland?

From CIA World Factbook
From CIA World Factbook

Scotland is one of the four countries which make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Scotland is a mountainous country in the northern tip of the island of Great Britain and is bordered by the Northern Sea on the east and the Atlantic Ocean on the west.

© Eric Gaba – Wikimedia Commons user: Sting
© Eric Gaba – Wikimedia Commons user: Sting

Scotland is a small country. It is only 440 km long but has a coastline of more than 3,200 km. It has an area of 78,772 sq km and a population of 5,253,800 inhabitants. They live in the mainland (the island of Great Britain) and on other smaller islands. Scotland has more than 790 islands, but only 170 of them are inhabited.

The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh but the largest city is Glasgow (1,200,000 inhabitants). Scotland can be divided into three regions from south to north: the Southern Uplands, the Central Lowlands and the Highlands.

Scotland has some awesome scenery landscapes. You are invited to visit some of the pictures tourists have taken in some of the most beautiful Scotland in these flickr galleries.

– The Highlands

– The Orkney Islands (to the north)

– The Shetland Islands (to the north)

– The Inner and Outer Hebrides (to the west)

The highest mountain in the UK is in Scotland. It is Ben Nevis (1,344 metres above sea level), near Fort Williams.

Ben Nevis & Fort Williams
Ben Nevis & Fort Williams

The largest lake in Great Britain is also in Scotland, near Glasgow: Loch Lomond (Loch is the word for Lake in Scottish Gaelic). However, Loch Ness is more famous than Loch Lomond. Do you know why? Nessie, of course!

Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond

Do you know any Scottish famous people? Probably yes. There have been very famous Scots (try this quiz on Scottish celebrities here): Inventors writers, scientists, explorers, actors, musicians, to mention a few.

Traditions in Scotland are also very important. The traditional Scottish costume is the kilt, but men just wear it on special occasions, such as weddings or important holidays:

©jennifrog (on flickr)
©jennifrog (on flickr)

Another important part of Scottish life is music and especially ceilidhs. A ceilidh, pronounced /ˈklɪ/, is a gathering (meeting) in which people usually listen to Gaelic music and dance. You can watch a short video displaying what a celidh is like here. If you want to try something really traditional, head for a ceilidh, dance and taste some haggis too.

Haggis ©Great British Chefs (on Twitter)
Haggis ©Great British Chefs (on Flickr)

Scottish people not only speak Scottish English. They also speak Scots (an ancient variety of English) and Scottish Gaelic (a Celtic language). The word of Scotland in Scottish Gaelic is Alba. Wanna know more? Well, you can learn some basic Scottish Gaelic here, on BBC Alba (BBC Scotland).

Here I embed a video on the story St Andrew (please listen to the speakers’ beautiful Scottish accent too). Thanks to http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk

The transcript of the video available here.

beannachd leibh! (bye in Scottish Gaelic)

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