February 18, 2012

Scotland: 30 Fascinating Facts

Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom for more than three hundred years, but it is unlike anywhere else in Britain. Here are 30 facts you should know about the country:

1. Many phenomena traditionally regarded as Scottish were actually invented in England, such as the kilt, the haggis, alcoholism and domestic violence.

2. The Scots did, however, invent the television, the telephone and penicillin, thereby making Babestation a possibility.

3. They also invented tarmac, tyres and hollow pipe drainage, thereby making Top Gear a possibility.

4. The Clyde is the country's longest river. It is celebrated in the national anthem, "Flower of Scotland".

5. Famous Scottish thinkers include Adam Smith, David Hume, Alasdair MacIntyre and, of course, John Loch.

6. There are four different types of Scotch whisky: Single Malt, Double Malt, Blended and Hot. You can identify the so-called Hot whiskies by the word "Glen", the Scottish word for "hot", in their name: Glen Fiddich, Glen Farclas, Glen Campbell, Glen Dower and Glen Dimplex.

7. Built before the perfection of the arch, the longest Roman viaduct in the world links the Irish and North seas. Later Roman architects sarcastically referred to it as Hadrian's Wall and the name stuck.

8. The Glaswegian word for a girl's blouse is a "yin".

9. The national animal of Scotland is the moose, a "wee sleekit timorous beestie," in the words of the national poet, Maynard.

10. Saltire is the result of a poor Scots diet.

11. The sporran is named after the Scottish martyr Saint Sporran, who was hung by the goolies.

12. The title of the head of the Salvation Army in Scotland is the Right Reverend Captain Kirk.

13. Farmers in the west of Scotland who are overly fond of their sheep are known locally as "Arran Sweaters".

14. Edinburgh was the first British city to have its own fire brigade. And a Boys Brigade. Glasgow was the first to have a Red Brigade.

15. The correct way to serve haggis is with neaps and tatties. "Neaps" and "Tatties" are old Scots dialect for breasts.

16. It takes 20 years to paint the Forth Railway Bridge. However the first 10 years is spent arguing over the colour.

17. A spiky, poisonous and malicious plant, the thistle was traditionally used in Scotland as a mark of Cain, to stigmatise the outcast, the degenerate and the marginal. Remnants of the practice can be seen in such names as Partick Thistle, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, and Scottish rugby. If you see a man wearing a thistle in his lapel today, he's probably a Conservative or a paedophile.

18. Football is a force that both unites and divides in Scotland. Every major conurbation has its own intense rivalry. In Edinburgh, it's between Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian. In Dundee, it's between Dundee and Dundee United. And in Glasgow, of course, it's between Celtic and Partick.

19. People elope to Gretna Green to get married because of a loophole in The Acts of Union.

20. There is a tradition that at 1 o'clock everyday at Edinburgh Castle a Hearts manager is fired.

21. Temazepam is a savoury substance used to improve most Scottish fruitcakes.

22. Scotland Yard is the home of the famous "sniffer" dog, so-called because of its susceptibility to colds in Scotland's inclement climate. Indeed, a Scottie is both a breed of dog and the type of tissue used to blow its nose.

23. Many cynical smart-alecks think that an "Edinburgh Tattoo" refers to the track of needle marks in a heroin user's arm. In fact it is a colloquial nickname for a head-butt, usually accompanied by the phrase, "Stitch that, Jimmy."

24. The Scots are stereotypically depicted as mean, as exemplified by the tale of Greyfriars Bobby, a border collie who starved to death guarding his stash of bones.

25. The most second most popular phone network in Scotland is Orange, which comes close behind TiMobile.

26. During the 19th century, Scottish Shortbread was confusingly sold in England as "Ginger Biscuits".

27. A Shetland pony is £20.

28. The national sport of Scotland is Curly, the national hairstyle is Curly and the national dish is deep-fried Mars Bar.

29. It is a testament to the importance of literature and poetry in Scottish life that the majority of hospitals in the country have a Burns unit, named after Robert Burns. Many also have a Urology unit, named after Joan Ure, and some even have a Trauma unit, named after Thomas the Rhymer.

30. Many people mistakenly believe that the singer Ruby Murray is Scottish. In fact, she's an Indian.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

1 comment:

Martin said...

Chris Hoy's father was an accomplished mountaineer who had several difficult climbs named after him not least of which was Chris Da Berg.