Over the last few weeks Scotland has been very present in the news with yet further talks and debates on her possible independence, or impending independence, depending on your point of view. This week saw Scottish tradition come to the fore once again as we celebrated the life and works of the national bard, Robert Burns at traditional Burns Suppers up and down the country on his birthday, the 25 January. We moved from the highs of the haggis and whisky-fuelled celebrations to the tense yet ultimately deflating Scottish tennis performance at the Australian Open by Andy Murray – so near yet so far, again – maybe next time? Do not despair though as with all the media attention focussing on Scotland recently there have been numerous interesting articles published , some serious and some not so much! We stumbled across an article in the Daily Telegraph entitled ’50 Fascinating Facts you should know about Scotland’. Although I’d love to spend hours extolling the virtues of our fine land, I’ve picked out just a few light-hearted favourites to share with you;
1. The shortest scheduled flight in the world is one-and-a-half miles long from Westray to Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. The journey takes 1 minute 14 seconds to complete.
2. Scotland has approximately 790 islands, 130 of which are inhabited.
3. Like Rome, Edinburgh was built on seven hills and the capital has more listed buildings than anywhere in the world.
4. Scotland had its own monarch until 1603. After Elizabeth I died, James VI of Scotland also became James I of England, ruling both countries.
5. St Andrews Links is considered the “home of golf”; the sport has been played there since the 15th century.
6. Queen Victoria is reputed to have smoked cigarettes during her visits to the Highlands of Scotland to keep away midges.
7. The very first recorded appearance of the elusive Loch Ness Monster occurred in 565 AD, when a “water beast” attacked one of St. Columba’s followers in the loch.
8. Scotland’s smallest distillery, Edradour in Pitlochry, has 100,000 visitors per year but produces just 90,000 litres of malt whisky.
9. There are as many Scottish people living in North America as in Scotland, with censuses in the United States and Canada identifying around five million people claiming Scottish ancestry.
10. It is home to 19 universities and institutes of higher education, including St Andrews, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met.
How they managed to narrow it down to just fifty facts I’ll never know but if number five has whetted your appetite then contact us at the Old Course Experience for more information on how to guarantee your place on the hallowed fairways of the Old Lady.
Sources: The Daily Telegraph online http://tgr.ph/zKYtTl