Arriving in Scotland in the September of 1996, I knew very little about the country. 20 years later I have truly made it my home. As I am absolutely head over heals in love with Scotland and to help celebrate two decades of me living in this wonderful country, here are the best things about Scotland I have learnt in 20 years.
1. Scotland might be a tiny country, but it has a very big heart. We beat our climate change promise 6 years early, voted for gay marriage, fight for multicultural social inclusion, and respect our strong female leaders. Scotland has some of the most progressive politics, rights and laws in the world – and it makes me very proud.
2. The national dress is actually rather good. Whether you are a skinny malinky longlegs or knobbly of knee, the kilt turns a Scot into a ScotsMAN and it really does turn every lady slightly wobbly. Girls – it’s all about access, right?
3. Scotland’s history drives its present – and with the Scots’ proud and slightly obsessive wearing of the national dress at every available opportunity, it is celebrated too.
4. You get used to the Scottish weather – it’s either Taps Oan or Taps off. Mostly Taps Oan if i’m honest.
Loch Ness, in yes, you guessed it, the rain..
5. You will have more fun at a Glasgow funeral than an Edinburgh wedding – the Scots love a party and if you have been to a Scottish wedding, then you will know just how exceptionally crazy they can be.
6. Scotland’s natural history is utterly mind-blowing. From the highlands to the islands, you can’t help being caught up in the drama of the landscape. Take a road trip anywhere in Scotland and you will discover a photographer’s dream.
Got to love Scotland’s weather eh? Let’s just get on with it, shall we….
7. I love both the Scottish lilt and the labhairt – from the road signs to the way we name our mountains, the language is a huge part of what makes Scotland. There is even a day celebrating Scotland’s national poet – despite (although probably because of) Burns’ poetry was often about what he got up to in the bedroom.
8. The Scots have hundreds of words to described being drunk – blootered, stoating, steamin, jaked, trousered… ahem. Not that I have ever been stottin. Honest.
9. You know where you stand with a Scot – everything and I mean everything shows right there on their faces. There is no hiding their feelings, especially the bar staff if you are a wee bit pissed.
10. Scotland is a proud country – and so it should be. Wherever you go in Scotland, you will discover warmth and welcome; the Scots have such a passion for their country. I fell in love with the #scotspirit so much that I married one.
11. Telling stories in Scotland’s heart – from water nymphs to the Kelpies, to stone circles to the Fairy Flag of Dunvegan, and of course, Nessie – Scottish history is told through tales passed down through generations.
12. There is no way to prevent a midgie bite (if they like you) but there are a 101 ways to kill the wee beasties. Just choose your favourite, no one loves a midgie. I’d go for a flamethrower.
13. You can keep fit just by stepping outside – with two national parks, 282 Munros to climb, 30 long range walks, including the famous West Highland Way, you really don’t have any excuse.
14. Scottish food is weird but delicious – Scotland might produce some of the best food in the world from its seas, lochs and fields, but it is that orange hangover cure, square sausage, haggis, and deep fried anything, that is really our favourite.
15. The beaches are out of this world – forget the Caribbean instead Scotland has the world beating Sands Beach, Luskentyre and Sandwood Bay Beach. You can take your pick.
16. Scotland has the best festivals – the Edinburgh Festival and its fringe might be famous worldwide, but Scotland’s festivals celebrate traditional music, its food and drink and even knitting! Most of them end up as a stramash. Even the knitting.
17. There are four national drinks. With over 300 whisky distilleries, 130 breweries and a plethora of gin producers, oh and Irn Bru. Whatever your tipple, you are sure of a fine hangover.
19. Scotland’s Highland Coos are the cutest (even if like me, you are petrified of cows)
This is the closest i’ll ever get…
…and finally, let’s just admit it. Number 20. of the best things about Scotland? It really is the perfect small big country to make your home.
Lots and lots of love, From Scotland x
What are your best things about Scotland?
You can read more of the best places to visit in Scotland via GoEuro, including my tips!
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