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Scotland - The Tour

World  (tags: Scotland, people, places, sites, travel )

- 2091 days ago -
Scotland - whose throne passed through the control of the houses of Balliol and Bruce in the following years - had yet to win its freedom. The bloody wars of Scottish independence followed as the Scots tried to throw off the yoke of English influence.


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Kit B (276)
Wednesday October 2, 2013, 2:07 pm
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This is the place of my heritage, my father's family traces back to Scotland and the journey of 3 brothers nearly 400 years ago to arrive in the new world. I have two desires across the pond, Scotland and France. I hope to be fully humiliated on course of St Andrews and see the village of Renfrewshire in the Highlands.

Some cursory history of a land filled with a glorious past.

The recorded history of Scotland begins in the 1st century AD, when the Romans invaded Britain. The Romans added southern Britain to their empire as the province Britannia. They were unable, however, to subdue the fierce tribes in the north. To keep these tribes from invading Britannia, Emperor Hadrian had a massive wall built across the island from sea to sea. The Romans called the land north of the wall Caledonia, and they called the people Picts--from the Latin piclus, meaning "painted"--because they painted their bodies. Parts of Hadrian's Wall still stand on the Scottish border.

In the 5th century Celtic immigrants from Ireland, called Scots, settled north of the Clyde. The Scots were already Christians when they left Ireland. In the next century St. Columba converted the king of the Picts to Christianity. In the 9th century Kenneth MacAlpine, king of the Scots, added the Pictish kingdom to his own. In about the 10th century the land came to be known as Scotland.

After the Normans conquered England in 1066, many Anglo-Saxons from England settled in the Lowlands of Scotland. Here the Scots gradually adopted English ways. Feudalism was established, and the chiefs of the clans became nobles. Towns grew, trade increased, and Scotland prospered.

In 1290 Margaret, heiress to the throne, died. Thirteen claimants contested the Crown. Edward I of England claimed the right to bestow it and made John de Baliol king. When Edward asked John for help against the French, however, John entered into an alliance with France. For 260 years Scotland held to this so-called "auld alliance" with England's enemy.

Edward crossed the border in 1296, took John de Baliol prisoner, and proclaimed himself king of Scotland. To symbolize the union he carried off the ancient Stone of Scone, on which Scottish kings had long been crowned, and placed it in Westminster Abbey where it lay beneath the coronation chair.

The Scots rose again. Led by William Wallace, they routed the English at Stirling Bridge in 1297 and pursued them across the border. The next year Edward returned and inflicted a disastrous defeat on the Scots at Falkirk. Wallace was later captured and executed, and the English hung his head from London Bridge. This part of the history of Scotland was the foundation for the film "Braveheart".

The Scots' spirit was still unbroken, and they soon found another great champion in Robert the Bruce. The last great battle in the war for independence was fought in 1314 at Bannockburn near Stirling Castle. There Bruce inflicted a disastrous defeat on superior English forces led by Edward II. In 1328 Edward III formally recognized Scotland's independence.

In the later Middle Ages, Scotland suffered from weak kings and powerful nobles. For two centuries there was a constant struggle between the Crown and the barons. Border clashes with England also continued. James IV of Scotland married Margaret, daughter of Henry VII of England, in 1503. When Henry VIII went to war with France in 1512, however, James IV invaded England. He fell, "riddled with arrows," at Flodden Field in the last great border battle (1513).

James V died brokenhearted after his army had been slaughtered at Solway Moss (1542). The throne went to his infant daughter, Mary Stuart.

Meanwhile the Protestant Reformation had swept across Europe and into England. Scotland was still a Roman Catholic country. Its young queen, Mary Stuart, was in France when John Knox returned home to Scotland from Geneva, Switzerland. Knox was a follower of John Calvin, one of the leaders of the Reformation. With fiery eloquence he spread Calvin's Protestant doctrine. Knox and others drove Mary out. In 1560 Scotland's parliament adopted a confession of faith drawn up by Knox and established the Church of Scotland on a Presbyterian basis.

When Mary returned to Scotland in 1561, she was imprisoned and forced to abdicate her throne. She escaped, however, and fled to England. Queen Elizabeth I made her a prisoner and finally had her executed.

Mary Stuart's son, James VI, was brought up as a Presbyterian. When Queen Elizabeth of England died in 1603, James inherited the throne of England. This is an important point missed by many historians - it was the Scottish king who took over the English throne, not the reverse. In England he was called James I. The two nations were thus united under a single king, but Scotland remained a separate state with its own parliament and government.

England tried repeatedly to impose the Anglicans' episcopal form of worship and church government on the Scottish kirk. The Scots took up arms against Charles I. When civil war broke out in England, they aided the Puritans against the king. After Oliver Cromwell executed Charles I without consulting the Scots, however, the Scots welcomed Charles's son as Charles II. Cromwell then marched into Scotland and imposed his rule. When Charles II was restored to the throne, persecution of Presbyterians continued.

Finally, after James II had been driven from the throne, Presbyterianism was firmly established as Scotland's national church. The Highlanders long remained loyal to the exiled Stuarts. In 1715 they attempted to restore the house of Stuart to the throne; James Stuart, known as the Old Pretender, was proclaimed James III. In 1745 they supported his son, Charles Edward, known as the Young Pretender and Bonnie Prince Charlie. The Young Pretender's quest for the throne ended in 1746 at the battle Culloden when the Highland forces were defeated by the English.

The age-old rivalry between Scotland and England ended formally in 1707 when the parliaments of both nations agreed to the Act of Union. This act merged the parliaments of the two nations and established the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Scotland now had free trade with England and the colonies. As Britain's empire expanded the Scots played a great part in its development. They also shared in the inventions that brought about the Industrial Revolution and in the wealth that flowed into Britain from it.

The end of the 18th century has been called Scotland's most creative period. David Hume won world fame in philosophy and history, Adam Smith in political economy, and Robert Burns in poetry. In the next generation Sir Walter Scott made the land and history of Scotland known throughout the world. During this period the Scots were also pre-eminent in establishing the fledgling colonies in America, Canada and Australia.

From that time on, the history of Scotland merges with that of the rest of the United Kingdom but Scots continued to play a part in world affairs far greater than their numbers might suggest. Legal and education systems did remain separate (and superior) and in the second half of the 20th century many Scots began to demand a greater say in other areas of government. Eventually a new Scottish parliament was established in Edinburgh and it is currently making its mark.

Some Fun Facts about Scotland:

Fact 1: Scotland is the second largest country in the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

Fact 2: Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have its own fire-brigade.

Fact 3: Scotland is considered the home land of golf.

Fact 4: The most famous actor from Scotland is probably Sean Connery.

Fact 5: Scotland is in the Greenwich Mean Time time zone.

Fact 6: The highest point in Scotland is Ben Nevis at 1343 meters.

Fact 7: The official animal of Scotland is Unicorn.

Fact 8: Scotland is well known in the world for its whisky.

Fact 9: The motto of Scotland is "No one provokes me with impunity".

Fact 10: Edinburgh was just like Rome, built on seven hills.

Traditional Foods -

Aberdeen Rowie »
A buttery, also known as a rowie or Aberdeen roll, is a savoury Scottish bread roll. They are noted for their flaky texture and buttery taste (hence the name).

Arbroath Smokie » (Haddock)
Arbroath Smokies are prepared using traditional methods dating back to the late 1800s.

Bridie »
A bridie or Forfar bridie is a Scottish type of meat pastry or pie, originally from the town of Forfar, similar to a Cornish pasty in shape, but the pastry is not as hard and no potato is used. It is made of minced beef, sometimes with onions and spices, placed on rolled-out pastry and folded into a semi-circular shape; the whole thing is baked in an oven.

Cakes and Puddings »
Scotland is notorious for its sweet tooth, and cakes and puddings are taken very seriously. You might have heard of Clootie Dumpling, Cranachan or Atholl Brose

Cullen Skink »
Cullen Skink is a thick Scottish soup made of smoked Finnan haddock, potatoes and onions.

Dundee Marmalade »
The Scottish city of Dundee has a long association with marmalade. The oft-related story of how this came about begins sometime in the 1700s when a Spanish ship with a cargo of Seville oranges docked in Dundee harbour to shelter from storms.

Finnan Haddie>>
Finnan Haddie is smoked haddock. It's used in the preparation of dishes. Its origin is Findon near Aberdeen, known locally as Finnan, and it was here in the late 19th century that the village began producing lightly smoked and delicated flavoured haddock (haddies).

Chieftain O' The Pudding Race
Bridget McGrouther spills out the myths, history and ingredients of the humble haggis'.
Love it or loathe it, in Scotland it's hard to avoid the haggis ' even it is a bit of an elusive beastie in its wild habitat. If you're a Scot, no doubt you may have enjoyed embellishing the myth of the haggis to many an unsuspecting tourist.

What is a haggis?
The common reply to 'What is a haggis?' goes along the lines of: 'A haggis is a small, furry four (or sometimes even three) 'legged creature whose stumpy limbs are shorter on one side than the other, making it perfect for running around the peaks of Scottish mountains (its most common habitat) in one direction only.'
I have to hold up my hand to telling such a tale to an American visitor a few years ago while we were in a tourist office in the Trossachs. When he questioned what I was saying, one subtle wink from me to the assistant behind the counter was enough for her to confirm the description of this shy animal ' and he couldn't wait to visit the hills and glens to try to track one down. I don't know to this day whether he ever discovered the truth'¦after all, a recent survey carried out by Hall's Haggis revealed that Americans often put haggis hunting on their must-do list when visiting Scotland.

Scottish Breakfast>>
In many hotels and B&Bs you'll be offered a Scottish breakfast, similar to its English counterpart of sausage, bacon and egg, but typically with the addition of local favourites such as black pudding (blood sausage) and potato scones. Porridge is another likely option, properly made with oatmeal and water and cooked with salt; it's traditional to add a little milk, though some folk like to sprinkle on some sugar as well.

You may also be offered strongly flavoured kippers (hot smoked herring) or more delicate "Arbroath smokies" (smoked haddock). Oatcakes (plain, slightly salty oatmeal biscuits) and a 'buttery' - a butter-enriched bread related to the French croissant and popular in the north of Scotland - might feature.

Scotch Pie >>
A Scotch pie is a double-crust pie originating in Scotland but also popular in England. In Scotland the item is known simply as a 'Pie' although in Aberdeen and Dundee it is quite often known as a 'mince pie' to differentiate it from other varieties of savoury pie such as steak pie, steak-and-kidney pie, steak-and-tattie (potato) pie, and so forth.

The pièce de résistance - A fine Single Malt - Scotch

Single malt scotch whisky is becoming increasingly popular all over the world. It is a complex and versatile spirit that you can enjoy as an aperitif, alongside a meal, after dinner or as a nightcap.

1) Get some single malt scotch whisky. Remember: it can ONLY be called scotch if it is distilled in Scotland - all others are single malt whiskies if not blended with the product of another distillery. To begin, try some of your friends' favorite whiskies or go to a whisky bar and ask for recommendations. If these options are not available, go to your local liquor store and pick up a bottle.

2) Buy a good glass. The tulip glass is the preferred style because it focuses the aromas and splashes the spirit onto the tongue in a wide fashion. Riedel and Glencairn make variations on this style. Some whisky drinkers prefer tumblers or snifters.

3) Pour yourself a dram. Depending on your experience and how much you want to drink, this amount can be anywhere from half an ounce to two ounces.

4) Tilt and turn the glass. Let the whisky coat the glass. This increases the surface area, permitting greater evaporation and thus enhancing the aroma. Observe the consistency as it sticks to the sides of your glass.

5) Nose the whisky. Place your nose a few inches away from the glass. What do you smell? Now get a little closer. How is that? Now get as close as you can without letting the alcohol burn interfere. What other aromas are there? Keeping your mouth slightly open as you nose the whiskey will help you to better discern and 'taste' the different aromas.

6) Take a sip. Take just enough to coat your mouth and begin to slowly swirl it around your tongue. Feel the consistency of the whiskey. Some feel thicker, oilier, or grittier than others. This is referred to as the "mouth feel." Try and coat your tongue so that the whiskey touches all of your taste buds.

Please do not add water or ice, and aways spend the money for a good single malt, not a blended whiskey.
Raise your glass and say:

May the best you’ve ever seen
Be the worst you’ll ever see;
May a moose ne’er leave yer girnal
Wi’ a teardrop in his e’e.
May ye aye keep hale and hearty
Till ye’re auld enough tae dee,
May ye aye be just as happy
As I wish ye aye tae be.


May those who love us love us;
And those that don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts:
And if He doesn’t turn their hearts
May he turn their ankles,
So we’ll know them by their limping

Now lads and lassies we are ready for the tour.

Nicole W (646)
Wednesday October 2, 2013, 3:51 pm
being a descendant, I've always wanted to travel there, ty dear Kit

Barbara K (61)
Wednesday October 2, 2013, 4:28 pm
Thanks, my friend, for another vacation via video. I'm 1/4 Scottish too. lol. Would love to visit there.

JL A (281)
Wednesday October 2, 2013, 7:03 pm
Thanks for the succinct yet thorough history Kit!

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Wednesday October 2, 2013, 7:29 pm
Thank you for the spetacular video. I too dream of going to the country of my ancestors. I'm Scotch-Irish, English, and Welsh. I also believe we have some Native American blood because our grandmother said we did. However, when she was much, much older she denied it, so I fear we will never know the facts or what tribe we are related to whiich is sad.

pam w (139)
Wednesday October 2, 2013, 10:17 pm
You MUST see the art museum in Edinburgh....and the castles....and the parks.

If you've been to San Francisco, Edinburgh will remind you of it--lovely boats heeled over in the brisk winds over the FIRTH OF FORTH! Lots of young people in a vibrant community, too...I think you'd have to really WORK to dislike Edinburgh.

Now--about that HAGGIS...... ( BLECH!)

Pia M (88)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 1:10 am
Thank you Kit, Scotland is my favourite place on Earth (though I love Rome sometimes even more)! There were lots of familiar places in this video - I hope to return there soon. Maybe next summer. Edinburgh is a fantastic city - in addition to the National Gallery of Scotland, I also recommend the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Dean Gallery and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery to all art lovers. And you MUST visit the National Museum of Scotland. And the Castle.

Did you guys know there's nowadays also a vegetarian version of haggis, widely available in restaurants and groceries? (In Scotland, at least.) I actually have one can of it waiting for some good occasion to cook a Scottish meal of "haggis, neeps and tatties" with a bottle of Robert Burns beer... I've never tried to make vegetarian haggis from scratch, but here's a recipe if someone wants to try it:

Michela M (3964)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 4:30 am

Scotland is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!! I visited all of it from the highest spot in the North & all around!!
I LOVE Scotland & the Scottish that like the IRISH have celtic blood!!!
My English husband's surname - Kaile - is of Scottish origins. His surname descends from the MacDonald Clan, at least this is what at the Edimburgh Castle a computer-guided research evidenced...........

Past Member (0)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 6:48 am
The land of my family, Clan MacRae ~ how can you not love a country whose official animal is a mythical creature? Beautiful ~ Thank you Kit!

Kit B (276)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 6:54 am

If by chance you do not know, the official animal of Scotland is a Unicorn, because Scots believe that all good things can be.

. (0)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 7:49 am
Lovely tour, Kit. I traveled to Scotland when I was a little girl.

Ben O (128)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 7:53 am
Believe it or not; -I've never been to Scotland...

Kit B (276)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 8:21 am

I think, Ben that you might consider adding this to must do places.

John De Avalon (36)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 8:34 am
Beautiful Scotland!

. (0)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 9:53 am
Actually then there was MacBeth who was very, very good king who kicked out the English along. Scotland under MacBeth knew peace and prosperity. It is said that he even had time to make a pilgrimage to Rome.
Of course with the coming of age of the English raised and schooled Malcolm Cranmore and MacBeth's death; that prosperity dissipated. The English never left and the time of Wallace and Bruce were yet to come as a result. See the two lists below.,_King_of_Scotland

Angelika R (143)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 10:24 am
Thx Kit. and speaking of mythical creatures- I miss the mentioning of Nessy- well, I would swear I saw her when looking out the window from my hotel room right at the shores of Loch Ness ! With that view you get it's easy to understand this myth!

Pat B (356)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 12:32 pm
Thoroughly enjoyed your first comment, Kit, and the history of Scotland. My husband's ancestors came from Scotland also. Beautiful country, I enjoyed the sights, and music too.!! Thanks.!!!

MmAway M (519)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 2:04 pm
Rats I need another star dear for you! TU Kit, how did you know I "DEARLY NEEDED" a trip today. I have always wanted to go there. Saving info and going to print out your 1st comment to read while I Go traveling! Yabada Do! At least I don't have to check my bags when I join you Kit on a trip!

Lois Jordan (63)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 3:38 pm
Thanks, Kit. I've always been curious about this northern land....maybe I'll get to see it someday.

Lindsey O (19)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 8:00 pm
Scotland is my ancestors' primary heritage and I do love it (especially the bagpipes - they may irritate the ears of some but I love their wild sound).

And as for the lovely Scottish single-malts? Glenlivet is the one to try if you've never tasted this beautiful liquid before (they've been at it since 1824 so they've had a nice long time to get it right). Very warm and peaty and unlike any (SHUDDER) blended whisky you've had before. As the article says, no water and no ice - it's meant to be imbibed as the distillers created it. Nothing compares.

Lindsey O (19)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 8:01 pm
And, no - I do NOT work for The Glenlivet Distillery.....(oh what bliss that would be!)

Kit B (276)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 8:41 pm


You're so easy. I knew I had you at Single Malt.

Lindsey O (19)
Thursday October 3, 2013, 10:01 pm

Past Member (0)
Friday October 4, 2013, 4:17 pm
Thank you I love Scotland

Sheila D (194)
Friday October 4, 2013, 9:23 pm
I have always wanted to visit Scotland, see the Highands, and check out the castles and food - except for haggis.

Past Member (0)
Saturday October 5, 2013, 1:17 am
Another interesting tour... Thank you very much Miss Kit :)
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