THE SCOTS have decided that they still want to remain in the United Kingdom after they have voted no to Independence in the September 18 referendum. This is good news for residents of the UK and for the non-residents who haven’t visited the country known for kilts, tartan and bagpipes because there was a possibility that Scotland would require an entry visa if the yes vote won the referendum. So while Scotland is still in the union, plan your trip to the home of the Scots!
Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries I have been to. Here are my 10 favourite things about this country:
1. Edinburgh castle – The most beautiful and fascinating castle I’ve ever visited. It is so massive that you can spend an entire day wandering around but you will never get weary because each section of the castle rests a beguiling history.
2. Royal Mile in Edinburgh – a street in Scotland known for the historical buildings, shops and sites. Walking on the pavement made of cobblestones adds charm to the antiquity of the city.
3. Bagpipers – Bagpipe is the national instrument of Scotland. It represents the music of Scottish highlands. Hearing the sound of this instrument while sightseeing is very cinematic, it evokes a sense of time-honoured tradition.
4. Edinburgh Festival Fringe – It happens in August. It is the world’s largest art festival. Performers from all over the world come to participate in the festival. The High street is lined with performances such as dance and magic, which are very entertaining. The theatrical shows shouldn’t be missed.
5. Tartan and Kilts – Men wearing kilts are also an attraction in Scotland. Kilt is a knee-length garment with pleats most often made of wool and in tartan patterns. They are the traditional dress of men in Scotland but most Scottish men seldom wear kilts nowadays. Meanwhile, I love the tartan or chequered pattern in most Scots’ apparel and local products. Tartan never runs out of fashion.
6. The Royal Yacht Britannia – The sea vessel gives us a glimpse of the luxurious life of the Royal family. It is used to be one of the royal residences holding official receptions, honeymoons and holidays. The Royal Yacht Britannia was not only a home of the Royal family but of the dedicated Royal crew and yachtsmen.
7. Inverness – It is the capital of the Highlands of Scotland. Inverness is a Gaelic word meaning “mouth of the River Ness” which flows out of Loch (lake) Ness famous for the sea monster but the serenity of the loch whitewashes the myth about the monster. A visit to Inverness is a long journey but once you lay your eyes on the highland, you will tell yourself that it’s worth traveling.It is a sight to behold!
8. Whisky– “Scotch on the rock please?” Before, all I knew about Scotch was it was a brand of hard liquor not realising that the origin of the word comes from Scotland. There are hundreds of distilleries open to public and can be found in stunning locales. Add to your bucket list the Scotch Whiskey experience located on Castlehill in Edinburgh.
9. Glasgow University – It is the 4th oldest universities in the world. The university itself is a tourist attraction because of its well-preserved architecture and rich history including prominent figures who were educated in this institution including Adam Smith, the father of Modern Economics and physicist, Lord Kelvin.
10. Food –A holidaymaker’s list is not complete without tasting the country’s traditional food. Don’t upset your stomach with just drinking Scotch whisky, have a feast with mouth-watering Aberdeen Angus steaks. Scotland has vast coastal waters producing salmon, wild trout and oysters. The national dish of Scotland is Haggis. It is a savoury pudding containing sheep’s heart, liver and lungs and best eaten with turnip and potato.
By Joy Mesina