Scotland is more than just mysterious monsters and a nod to Harry Potter – in fact, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
There’s no doubt about it, wee bonnie Scotland stands apart from its British counterparts in terms of brimming with more culture and heritage than we know where to begin with. So, if you’re thinking about taking a trip to this moody and mysterious land, why not grab yourself a glass of Irn Bru (or Scotch…) and get ready to brush up on some of the wild and wonderful fun facts about Scotland to impress the natives?!
Table of contents
- 15 Interesting Fun Facts About Scotland That Will Blow Your Mind
- Nessie has been around for a while….
- Mythical creatures are something of a theme….
- Scotland’s capital isn’t its largest city
- Edinburgh Castle has a LOT of history to it!
- Don’t go chasin’ waterfalls…
- Home to the UFO capital of the world
- The Scots aren’t just about their whisky
- The origin of bagpipes may surprise you…
- Mythic stones
- A volcanic presence
- Higher education is free
- Ancient trees
- A bit breezy…
- Most Haunted Britain
- Fun Facts About Scotland
- Pin Interesting Fun Facts About Scotland
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15 Interesting Fun Facts About Scotland That Will Blow Your Mind
Where to begin?! How about with the country’s most famous inhabitant, the Loch Ness Monster….
Nessie has been around for a while….
Did you know that the first-ever recorded sighting of the Loch Ness Monster was in 565 A.D?
Most of us are familiar with the grainy black and white photo of a long-necked creature lurking in the Loch Ness (which dates back to 1934, and has since been proven to be a hoax), but our friend Nessie is no spring chicken….
Rumours of a ‘giant fish’ or ‘dragon-like creature’ lurking in the depths of the lake go much further back than the 1930s… all the way back to the sixth century A.D, in fact. The first written documentation of the folklorian mythic beast was by an Irish monk named Saint Columba. Records depict how the monk witnessed a man being buried near the famous loch and questioned what happened to him. He was told that the deceased had been swimming in the lake when he was attacked by a “water beast”. The monk then decided to send one of his followers to swim in the nearby River Ness, to which the beast appeared and attempted to pursue the swimmer. Columba claims he made the sign of the cross and called for the beast to let the man be, which it apparently did.
Since then there have been numerous sightings of this elusive aquatic resident, but he/she has yet to be proven. As of 2019, scientists have suggested that the Loch Ness Monster may just be a rather large eel, as opposed to a Plesiosaur, as previously thought.
Mythical creatures are something of a theme….
Magical beings in Scotland don’t stop at good old Nessie. In fact, at some point, unicorns became involved.
As we know, every country has its own national animal, and Scotland’s is – you guessed it – the unicorn. Despite there being no evidence that unicorns have ever existed, their presence has long been a part of many cultures for centuries, and stemmed somewhere within the magical tangles of Celtic mythology. As for its role as Scotland’s national animal, this dates back to circa 1500 when Scottish heraldry favoured unicorns on crests and coats of arms. Unicorns represent purity, independence, power, and innocence, which is said to have been favourable attributes in the land of Scot.
Scotland’s capital isn’t its largest city
Edinburgh may be the glamorous and delectable capital of Scotland, but this title wasn’t awarded to it because of its size. On the contrary, Glasgow holds this title, and currently has around 600,000 residents. Glasgow is one of the largest cities in the world and is known for its continual economic booms.
Edinburgh Castle has a LOT of history to it!
Edinburgh Castle is one of the oldest sites, not just in Scotland or the UK, but in the whole of Europe. Dating as far back as the Iron Age, Edinburgh Castle’s heritage is rich with tales of royalty, epic battles, pirates, prisoners, and more than one ghost!
It also holds a dog cemetery on its grounds.
Going into the full story of Edinburgh Castle’s colourful history would require a blog of its own, but let’s just say – that place has seen some action over the years! And it’s open to the public, so why not stop by and find out for yourself next time you’re in the city?!
Don’t go chasin’ waterfalls…
When we think of epic waterfalls, we’re likely assailed by scenic images in our minds of long, languishing waterfalls in places like Indonesia and Costa Rica, with the sun making the water sparkle and birds of paradise flitting happily about.
But Scotland can match that (okay maybe not the birds of paradise part) – but did you know the tallest waterfall in the UK is the Eas a’ Chual Aluinn in Sutherland? This whopper stands at 658ft, which is three times the height of Niagara Falls.
Home to the UFO capital of the world
Move over, Roswell….
To the unsuspecting traveller, the little town of Bonnybridge (population: 6000) near Falkirk may not look like anything out of the ordinary, but on the contrary, it is known as one of the UFO hotspots of the world.
Supposedly, this sleepy little town boasts upto 300 UFO sightings every year. Why Bonnybridge, you may be wondering?! Well, Bonnybridge is part of what’s known as the Falkirk Triangle, which is supposedly a portal to another dimension. Someone get Mulder and Scully on the phone!
The Scots aren’t just about their whisky
They are also renowned gin lovers too!
Edinburgh in particular is a haven for gin lovers, and has a rich background when it comes to this particular tipple.
Edinburgh currently has two major gin distilleries, with another on the way, and the city is vastly becoming famous for its gin tours and plethora of delightful little gin bars dotted about the town.
It’s far from a cliché when you see a red-headed Scottish person in a movie or t.v show – on the contrary, Scotland has the largest community of redheads in the world. 13% of their population have fiery tresses, so if you’ve got a soft spot for redheads – Scotland awaits…. 😉
The origin of bagpipes may surprise you…
You might want to sit down for this –
Bagpipes don’t actually originate from Scotland at all. In fact, they’re from Egypt. It’s thought that the instrument first appeared in Scotland around about the 15th century, but is likely to have been brought in much earlier during the Roman invasion (43-84 A.D), but vastly became synonymous with Scottish heritage when they were featured by the Highlands military regiment during the two world wars.
You’ve undoubtedly heard of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, but have you heard of the Callanish Stones in the Isle of Lewis?
As old as they are mysterious, the Callanish Stones are thought to date as far back as 3000 BC. Much like Stonehenge, these mysterious rocks have withstood the test of time (and all manner of British weather…) and as yet, no one knows how they got there or why – talk about a fun fact about Scotland!
A volcanic presence
The Highlands is known to be, well, a rather hilly location. But did you know some of Scotland’s most historical sights lay atop extinct volcanoes?
That includes Edinburgh Castle….
Edinburgh Castle is nestled high above the city on what’s better known as Castle Rock – a volcano. Also, Scotland has some ties to the famous (and quasi-mythical) King Arthur. The Edinburgh hill known as Arthur’s Seat is also an extinct volcano.
Higher education is free
Yup – you read that correctly. You can study at some of the country’s fantastic universities without being lumped with a hefty debt to pay off for the next 20+ years. This means native students and students anywhere in the EU can come and earn their degree without paying tuition fees.
Scotland houses the oldest tree in Europe.
A yew tree in Fortingall is said to be around 3000 years old (potentially even older than that). It also has some mythical stories attached to it. For example, it is said that it was under this very tree that Pontius Pilate from the Bible was born.
A bit breezy…
Traditionally, Scottish men do not wear underwear beneath their kilts – even during battle (which is where the expression ‘going commando’ originated).
It’s all good fun until one of those strong Highland breezes picks up!
Don’t worry – to put your mind to ease about this fun fact about Scotland – people are a bit more modern these days and do tend to wear underwear!
Most Haunted Britain
Edinburgh is said to be one of the most haunted cities in the world – particularly its Old Town. Those perusing the city streets in the evening will undoubtedly stumble upon at least one ghost tour, which allow patrons to be delightfully spooked while being guided around some of Edinburgh’s ghostly hotspots, such as Edinburgh Castle, the South Bridge Vaults, the Banshee Labyrinth, Mary King’s Close, and Greyfriars Kirkyard (to name but a few).
As stunning as Edinburgh is, it does have something of a morbid and rather sordid past, so it’s no surprise that things often go bump in the night there!
Fun Facts About Scotland
We hope this article has not only gotten you fully prepared for your next pub quiz, but may have even piqued your interest in visiting this enchanting and fascinating country. What other fun facts about Scotland will you pick up along the way?!
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- Where to Stay in Edinburgh, Scotland
- Vegan Edinburgh & Beyond: AMAZING Restaurants You NEED to Try
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- Heart of Scotland Tour Review – 3 Day Edinburgh to Isle of Skye Bus Tour
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