The Scots are not renowned for their love of the English, and if you don’t believe me just go to an England-Scotland football match, and you’ll see what I mean. It’s a shame really, because I actually like the Scots, and I absolutely adore Scotland.
I think a lot of the diatribe dished out is Scottish banter, but I also think that they’ve never forgiven the English for depriving them of their true independence, which came to a halt in 1707 when the Kingdom of Scotland joined with the Kingdom of England to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. I don’t think they’ve ever seen it as an equal partnership, and if I’m being honest, I don’t suppose it is – but maybe the fact that there are ten times more people in England might just have something to do with it.
If there’s one thing I really admire about the Scots though it’s the passion they have for their national heritage, and it manifests itself in many ways: Go to Edinburgh Castle and watch the Tattoo, or go to a ceilidh in a remote Highland village and see if you don’t agree.
A large proportion of its 5 million or so inhabitants live in the Central Belt which includes Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, and Edinburgh, the capital.
What this means of course, is that there are large areas of the country with a sparse population, particularly in the Northern Highlands and Islands.
These remote areas are blessed with some wonderful landscapes. The hills and mountains are not particularly lofty, but interspersed as they are, with numerous lochs and crystal-clear rivers, they provide some breathtaking scenery that’s hard to beat.
It’s true that the Scottish weather can defeat the most hardened traveller at times, and there’s nowhere more depressing than say, Rannoch Moor on a wet foggy day, but when the sky starts to clear and shafts of light fall across the wilderness, the feeling is hard to describe.
It’s this changeable weather that can give the phenomenal landscape that special extra ingredient. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a blizzard in the Cairngorms, a beautiful day on Gigha, or a northerly gale battering Crovie – it’s all magical – and when you throw in some more ingredients such as the fabulous wildlife, Gaelic heritage, or even just a sunset over the Hebrides, you’ll just begin to understand why I love Scotland so much – it’s just a shame that they don’t love the English quite the same.