Scotland’s Gaelic name is Alba
Yes, because not everyone knows that there are 3 official languages of the country, namely English, Scottish and Scottish Gaelic, the latter spoken by just 1% of the population.
Thistle is the national flower. The animal, on the other hand, could only be of mythological origin, considering the very ancient Celtic folk tradition seasoned with elves, fairies, spirits, giants and so on and so forth. And so the unicorn appeared in the coat of arms of the Scottish sovereigns as early as the 12th century as a sign of purity, nobility, power and courage and, it is said unofficially, also as a sworn enemy of the lion, which has always been a symbol of England.
About The Very Complicated Scotland / England Relationship
Despite the wars waged over the centuries, Scotland was actually an independent country until the 15th century. It was only in 1603, on the death of Elizabeth I, that James VI of Scotland (son of Mary Queen of Scots) was crowned James I of England, unifying the two countries and effectively forming Great Britain.
The motto of Scotland, still used today by the Order of the Thistle, is “Nemo me impune lacessit”, “Nobody challenges me with impunity“.
About 300 castles are scattered across Scottish soil. Such a high density is due to the division and administration of the territories by even very old clans, whose jurisdiction lasted until the disastrous battle of Culloden.
The members of the clans were able to distinguish themselves from each other thanks to the colors and patterns of the tartan; attention, not the kilt: the famous kilt was introduced in the lives of the highlanders only in the 1830s. The scenes in the film “Braveheart” therefore represent a false historical.
Speaking of “Braveheart”, the nickname did not belong to William Wallace as we have always believed, but to another beloved Scottish hero, Robert the Bruce, the one who gained independence from England.
Every 25th January the “Burns night” is celebrated, in honor of the great Scottish bard Robert Burns. Families and friends gather for a dinner based on haggis and cranachan, at the end of which some of the verses of the beloved poet are recited. This tradition, inaugurated by some friends of Burns in 1801 a few years after his death, is deeply felt and celebrated by the Scots even outside Scotland.
Scotland has around 790 islands, of which only about 100 are inhabited.
On the largest island of the Orkney archipelago, a stone Neolithic settlement was found in excellent condition. Skara Brae, a UNESCO heritage site, is made up of 10 houses occupied between 3100 BC and 2500 BC and is much older than the much more famous Stonehenge or the Pyramids themselves. It is no coincidence that it is called the “Pompeii of Scotland”.
Various and Possible
Nessie isn’t the only monster living on the bottom of a Scottish loch. Have you ever heard of Morag? The “cucciolona” would be the tenant of Loch Morar, the deepest lake in the country and one of the deepest in the world with its 328 meters.
Not far from the towns of Pitlochry and Aberfeldy, in Perthshire, is the village of Dull. Since 2012, Dull has twinned with Boring (boring) in Oregon, and recently the Australian Bland, bland, has also joined the pair.
Funny how some of the most glamorous actors on the small and big screen are Scottish! Sean Connery, Ewan McGregor, Gerard Butler, Sam Heughan, James McAvoy, Richard Madden, David Tennant … We could go on and on!
Game of Thrones lovers will meet red-haired, ice-eyed actress Rose Leslie, the one who played the role of Ygritte and ended up marrying Kit Harington, aka Jon Snow. The beautiful Rose is none other than the daughter of the head of the clan of Leslie, Sebastian Arbuthnot-Leslie. Not only that, she grew up in Lickleyhead Castle near Aberdeen. In order not to miss anything, the mother also belongs to a clan, that of the Fraser of Lovat… Or Outlander in the real world !!
Staying on the subject of Game of Thrones, an event that really happened in Edinburgh in the fifteenth century ( the black dinner ) inspired one of the most shocking episodes of the series, the “red wedding”.
Another saga, probably more loved and followed than that of Game of Thrones, is inextricably linked to Scotland: we are talking about Harry Potter, what else! JK Rowling completed her first book while she was living in Edinburgh and spent her afternoons at The Elephant House, a pub overlooking the castle now commonly referred to as ‘Harry’s birthplace’. The Scottish countryside was the set of excellence for many scenes in the films: Rannoch Moor, Glencoe, and of course Glenfinnan, with the Jacobite steam train in the “role” of the Hogwarts Express.