Mention Scotland to anyone in the world and they will likely be able to tell you about kilts, Scotch whisky, Nessie the Loch Ness monster and William Wallace bellowing, “FREEEEEEDOM”. Now, although we are indeed very proud of all of the aforementioned, here at Braw Scottish Tours we like to bring you a side of Scotland that you might not be so familiar with, so with that in mind we present: 'five things you probably didn’t know about Scotland'.
Scotland is home to the highest waterfall in the UK -(More than three times higher than Niagara Falls)
Up in the Highlands of the north of Scotland you can find “Eas a' Chual Aluinn” (maybe it would be more famous if anybody knew how to pronounce it?). The literal translation from the Scottish Gaelic means ‘Waterfall of the beautiful braided hair’, and when it comes to braided hair even Rapunzel's long locks couldn't compare to the incredible drop of 658ft (200m) of this stunning waterfall.
Thankfully you don’t need to be a mountaineer to get out there and see it in all it’s glory as you can take a loch cruise from the nearby little fishing village of Kylesku.
We have a rather unusual national animal
A national animal can really sum up the character of a country, notable examples include the majesty and strength of the Bald Eagle representing America, or the native Kangaroos so iconic of Australia. So what did we Scots choose as a fitting way to characterise our country? A brave lion? A soaring bird? Nessie!? No, in a somewhat uncharacteristic Scottish fashion we decided that this was an opportunity to express our more abstract side and plumped for an animal that never even existed... the Unicorn.
Although seemingly bizarre when you first hear it, further exploration reveals that there was at least some method behind the madness of choosing a mythical creature as our national animal. In times gone by the Unicorn represented both purity and strength in Celtic mythology, so from that perspective it makes rather more sense. Still though, a Unicorn? Really?
Scotland is home to the oldest building in Britain
We know what you’re thinking, it’s probably one of our numerous dramatic castles from way back in the middle ages, right? Not even close I’m afraid, far up north in the Orkney islands you can visit preserved houses from 3700 BC - the neolithic stone age!
Incredibly the houses remain very much intact and you can walk around the external walls and view the internal stone furniture to get a well rounded impression of what life would have been like back then. Furthermore the site is open all year round and completely free to enter. They don’t make ‘em like they used to eh?
Scotland has approximately 660 uninhabited islands.
Many of these islands were once inhabited, and you can take part in some island hopping where you can explore the natural beauty, wildlife and abandoned buildings, schools and churches that were left behind when the last remaining communities moved on.
One of the abandoned islands, St Kilda is easy to reach and is one of six Unesco World Heritage Sites in Scotland after it was recognised for both it’s remarkable human and natural heritage. While the spooky ‘Eynhallow’ can be visited on just one day of the year, so make sure you plan your trip accordingly!
Nearly 40% of the population carry the gene for red or ginger hair.
Now the idea that Scotland is home to a lot of ginger haired people probably belongs on a ‘Things so obviously Scottish that it would be an insult to your intelligence to assume you didn’t already know’ list rather than today’s things you probably didn’t know list, however the sheer size of that percentage is still shocking!
Given that nearly 40% of Scots carry the ‘ginger gene’ it makes sense that we are the world’s leading redhead nation, coming out on top with 13% of our population proudly sporting the ginger locks, while the worldwide average is a meagre 2%
Scotland: A Nation of Surprises
Hopefully this list was an enjoyable read through some of the more surprising aspects of our wee country, but really Scotland is a country that continually surprises you with it’s outstanding natural beauty, layers of historical intrigue and our outgoing friendly people. Braw Scottish Tours specialise in bringing out this authentic and hidden side of Scotland alongside showing you the ‘big hitter’ attractions that are internationally known. To find out more contact us about creating a bespoke tour of Scotland for you.