25 Interesting Facts about Scotland

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Are you looking for facts about Scotland? Keep reading. Here are 25 Interesting Facts about Scotland that you probably didn’t know before reading this!

To make this even more fun, I want to challenge you as well. How many of these Scotland facts did you already know? Share your result in the comment section at the end of the article.

1. Scottish men are wearing kilts

Perhaps one of the most unique thing about Scottish men is that they have no fear of showing off their legs, and they proudly wear the kilt.

Many women are known to find this extremely attractive!

Kilt

Photo: Shutterstock

2. The movie Braveheart is based on true events

Both William Wallace and Robert the Bruce were real people, and the famous Hollywood movie “Braveheart” by Mel Gibson is based on true events in history. However, much of William Wallace’s life is unknown, but he played a significant role in the country’s history and he is a Scottish national hero.  

3. Haggis is the national dish of Scotland

This dish is clearly not made for vegans as it contains Sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs that is minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, and spices.

Traditionally it was cooked encased the animal’s stomach, but these days most people use an artificial casing. Haggis is considered as the national dish of Scotland. It’s usually served with Neeps and Tatties and of course a Dram (a glass of Scotch Whisky).

Haggis

Photo: Shutterstock

4. The first official international football match was played here

In 1872, in Partick at the West of Scotland Cricket Club, the first international football match ever was played between Scotland and England. 

5. The Scottish New Year celebration is quite unique

Also known as Hogmanay, which means the last day of the year in Scots. The origins are not known but it is believed that it might have Norse or Gaelic origins.

The Hogmanay celebrations are the largest in Edinburgh and attract visitors from all over the world including locals. The Torchlight procession is perhaps the most famous spectacle which opens the Hogmanay celebrations. 

Hogmanay

Photo: Brendan Howard / Shutterstock.com

6. The Loch Ness Monster is more than just a mythical folklore

The Loch Ness Monster, also known as Nessie has become famous worldwide, and the first report is from the 6th century, in the Life of St Columba. Since then there have been numerous claimed sightings throughout history.

There is no proof that has been accepted though except some photos that remain controversial. Nessie is often described to have a long neck, and its appearance reminds of an Elasmosaur, which is a prehistoric marine reptile.

Loch ness monster

Photo: Shutterstock

7. The inventor of the telephone was Scottish

Alexander Graham Bell invented the first telephone, and he was born in Scotland. Some other famous Scottish inventions include Penicillin, the Television, and the Reaping Machine. 

8. The Great Highland bagpipe is Scotland’s national instrument

Great Highland bagpipe is the national instrument of Scotland and one of the major icons of the country. The first bagpipe is dated back to around 1400, and the traditions of playing bagpipes became established in the British military. Nowadays, it is associated with parades and celebrations.

This is definitely one of the most iconic facts about Scotland!

Great Highland bagpipe

Photo: Anne Richard / Shutterstock.com

9. The world’s first color photograph was taken in Scotland

The very first color photo was taken in 1861, by the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell. 

10. There are around 3000 castles in Scotland

That’s about one castle for every 100 square miles! Scotland is home to some of the oldest castles in the world, and the oldest still standing castles date back to the 11th and 12th century. 

The reason for so many castles is the fact that each clan would have at least one castle within their territory. 

inveraray castle

Photo: Shutterstock

10 x Fun facts about Scotland

  1. The different Scottish clans are recognized by the pattern of knitting in their kilts
  2. At least 40% of Scots have the red hair gene in their DNA
  3. Scottish ferry workers once let Germans travel for free because Germany beat England in football
  4. Some Scots lived in caves just a mere 100 years ago
  5. If someone is caught wearing a kilt without underwear, they can be fined a pint beer/alcohol
  6. There are Scottish Clans with direct Viking descent, probably because they saw a common enemy in England
  7. Scotland has the highest proportion of blue-eyed people in the UK
  8. The flight from Westray to Papa Westray in Orkney is the world’s shortest flight and takes just 47 seconds.
  9. There are as many people with Scottish heritage living in the US as there are in Scotland
  10. The Scots town of Bonnybridge has more than 300 reported UFO sightings every year
Scottish clans

Photo: Shutterstock

5 x Scotland facts for kids

  • The Encyclopedia Britannica originated in Scotland
  • The Thistle plant is the national symbol and favorite food of Eeyore
  • There are 790 Scottish islands
  • It is the second largest country in the UK
  • The unicorn is the official national animal of Scotland
Scotland national animal

Photo: Shutterstock

Is Scotland a country?

Yes and no, depending on what method you use to determine if a country is a country or not. Scotland can definitely be considered as a country, but it’s not a sovereign state as it is ultimately governed by the UK. 

Scotland is one of the countries that make up Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and it is also included in the United Kingdom. There have been numerous debates if it should become an independent nation or not, but as for now, it remains in the UK. 

Scotland has their own national football and Rugby team for example, and they compete individually in the FIFA World Cup and the European Championship.

However, in the Olympics, they compete together with the other nations as Team GB. 

Scotland national rugby team

Photo: Marco Iacobucci EPP / Shutterstock.com

General Facts about Scotland

Below are some general info such as total population, land area, biggest lake, highest mountain and other general facts about Scotland that might be interesting to know.

  • Capital: Edinburgh
  • Total Population: 5,4 million
  • Demonym: Scottish, Scot
  • Highest Mountain: Ben Nevis, 4,406ft (1343m)
  • Land area: 77,933 km2 (30,090 sq mi)
  • Biggest Lake: Loch Lomond
  • National Day: 30 November (St Andrew’s Day)
  • Government: Devolved parliamentary legislature within a constitutional monarchy
  • Monarch: Elizabeth II
  • Currency: Sterling Pound (GBP)
  • Languages: English, Scots, Scottish, Gaelic, British Sign Language
  • Member of EU: Yes, but a Brexit has been voted in favor (via the United Kingdom).
  • Member of Nato: Yes (via the United Kingdom).
  • Anthem: “Flower of Scotland”
  • Time zone: UTC+0 and UTC+1 (British Summer Time)
  • Country Number/Prefix: +44

The Scottish Flag

The flag of Scotland is often called The Saltire, or Saint Andrew’s Cross. 

scottish flag

Map of Scotland

Below you can see the Scottish territory marked in blue. 

Scotland map

Photo: Shutterstock

Biggest Cities

  • Glasgow
  • Edinburgh
  • Aberdeen
  • Dundee
  • Paisley
  • East Kilbride
  • Inverness

How many of these Scotland facts did you know beforehand? Share your result in the comment section below!

April 17th, 2019|

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Swedish Nomad

Hello! I’m Alex Waltner — A Swedish Travel Blogger & Photographer.

My vision with this blog is to inspire people to travel more and better by sharing useful travel guides and tips from my adventures around the world.

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