Skip to Content

17 Spectacular Facts About Scotland

Disclaimer: Some posts on Tourism Teacher may contain affiliate links. If you appreciate this content, you can show your support by making a purchase through these links or by buying me a coffee. Thank you for your support!

The land of the infamous Loch Ness monster, fairy tales, and intriguing history – Scotland is a mystery of its own. Let’s unravel these facts about Scotland. 

Facts About Scotland

Scotland is the second-largest country in the United Kingdom after England. It comprises one-third land area of the UK’s total area. 

Scotland is often known for its Scottish tradition, folklore, and beautiful castles. In this article, let’s talk about some of the interesting facts about Scotland. 

1. Edinburgh Is the Capital of Scotland

Let’s start with some common facts about Scotland. 

Since 1437, Edinburgh has remained the capital of Scotland. It is also the second-most populous city in the country with a population of 554,000.

2. Glasgow Is the Biggest City in Scotland

This is one of the other basic facts about Scotland. 

Although Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital, its biggest city is Glasgow. 

Glasgow has 1,698,000 residents and is famous for many things. It is known for its architecture and is also one of the cities listed in the UNESCO City of Music.

Traditional old houses at Edinburgh castle, Scotland, United Kingdom

3. Scotland Has the Shortest Commercial Flight 

Here is one of the unknown facts about Scotland.

The Guinness World Records regards “Loganair flight LM711” as the shortest commercial flight in the world. The flight travels from Westray to Papa Westray, two Scottish islands. Apparently, the flight time is less than two minutes!

4. The Most Number of Redheads are in Scotland

If you go to Scotland, you may encounter a few redheads! Did you know that there are only about 1% to 2% of people with red or ginger hair? 

Scotland has the most number of redheads as they comprise about 6% of the total population. Edinburgh is also called the “redhead capital of the world” because it has the highest concentration of redhead carriers.

In 2012, Scotland also carried out a DNA initiative to check how many Scottish people possess the red hair gene. About one in eight Scottish people carry the red-haired gene, taking the number to 650,000 individuals. 

5. Hogmanay is the Scottish New Year 

The Scottish heritage is truly a gem with many local traditions and folklore. Let’s look at some tradition-related facts about Scotland. 

Hogmanay is considered the Scottish New Year. The exact origins of the term “Hogmanay” are yet to be known. However, the most popular belief is that it might originate from the French word “hoginane,” translating to “gala day.” 

Throughout the years, Scotts have celebrated Hogmanay in many ways. Today, the most popular tradition is to sing “Auld Lang Syne” after midnight strikes! Therefore, you might see the people of Scotland linking arms and singing the song. 

Another important part of Hogmanay is “first footing”, in which families give the most attention to the first guest visiting their home on New Year’s Day. 

6. The Unicorn Is the Official National Animal of Scotland

This is one of the most fascinating facts about Scotland.

Most people believe that a unicorn is a mythical animal. Yet, it turns out that Scotland has declared it the official national animal of the country due to the significance it holds in Celtic mythology. 

Although the unicorn is a mythical creature, the Scotts appreciate the symbolism behind it. Unicorns are often known for their innocence and power. Some think that their horns hold the power to heal poisonous water

In the mid-1500s, the Royal Coat of Arms of Scotland consisted of two unicorns, representing its importance for the kingdom. Later on, one unicorn was replaced with a lion, the national animal of England to showcase their unity. 

The country also celebrates National Unicorn Day on 9th April every year!

7. Scotland Has the Famous Loch Ness Monster

Here are some mystical facts about Scotland! While the unicorn is a famous mythical animal in Scotland, the Loch Ness Monster is an infamous one. 

Scotland is known for the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, also called “Nessie.” The Loch Ness Monster is believed to live in Loch Ness, a large freshwater lake in the Scottish Highlands. 

The first sighting of the Loch Ness Monster was in 565 AD by an Irish saint and abbot named St. Columba. Many people believe in the legend that a water monster attacked the saint’s servant.

Along with the Loch Ness monster, Scotland also has Morag, considered the monster of Loch Morar! This monster is known to have attacked two fishermen in August 1969. 

Edinburgh for Christmas

8. Scotland Was Nearer to America and Greenland Millions of Years Ago 

Although Scotland is a part of the UK today, it used to be closer to America and Greenland millions of years ago!

About 500 million years ago, Scotland was separated from England and Wales by an ocean called the Lapetus Ocean. Geographically, it was joined to America and Greenland. 

However, about 65 million years ago, the Earth’s tectonic movements caused the formation of the Northern Atlantic Ocean and pushed the present-day region of Scotland toward the UK.

9. Many Animal Species Live in Scotland 

This is one of my favourite facts about Scotland! 

Scotland is one of those countries where you’ll find over 90,000 animal species. It has 62 species of mammals, 535 bird species, four reptiles, six amphibians, and more than 50,000 invertebrates. 

Some of the main animals found in Scotland include Red Squirrel, Eurasian Beaver, Wild Boar, Red Deer, Mountain Hare, Orcas, Otters, and Grey Seal. 

Scotland has 75% of the total population of the endangered Red Squirrel. It also has the oldest breed of cattle in the world, Highland Cows. 

10. Scotland Has Hundreds of Islands

Here are a few surprising facts about Scotland. 

The entire region of Scotland is made up of 790 small and big islands. They are divided into four main parts, such as the Outer Hebrides, the Inner Hebrides, Shetland, and Orkney. 

The two most populated islands in Scotland are Lewis And Harris (about 21,031) and the Mainland in the Shetland archipelago (about 18,765).

According to a consensus of 2001, there were only 95 Scottish islands that were inhabited. Their total population was just about 99,660. However, in recent years, the number has gone above 100,000 residents. 

11. Bagpipes are a Huge Part of Scotland 

Let’s discuss some cultural facts about Scotland! 

Whenever I think about a Scottish person, I also think about bagpipes. After all, it is an integral part of Scottish culture and tradition. 

Bagpipes are the national instrument of Scotland. Additionally, you can listen to their music roaring across the Scottish streets and festivals. The country also hosts two grand bagpipe festivals – the Piping Live Festival and the World Pipe Band Championships. 

The Piping Live Festival started in 2023 and takes place every year around August in Glasgow. The World Pipe Band Championships is yet another worldwide championship that takes place in Glasgow. 

The funny thing is that even if bagpipes are associated with Scotland, they didn’t originate in Scotland. Many historians believe that they came from ancient Egypt!

12. The Oldest Tree in Europe is in Scotland

Scotland is a pretty mystical place! It has the entire Europe’s oldest tree, the Fortingall Yew. This tree is located in the Highland Perthshire village of Fortingall, Scotland. 

The tree is believed to be about 3,000 and 9,000 years old and is one of the oldest living things in Europe. It is a type of yew tree, which is known to be resilient and can survive for thousands of years. It is also seen as a symbol of immortality!

The Fortingall tree is also huge because it has a width of 56 and a half feet at the thickest part of the trunk. Apart from being the oldest tree in Europe, the Fortingall Yew also has significance in Christianity where these trees are associated with death.  

13. Scotland Has Two National Parks

If you love nature, here are some facts about Scotland to know. 

Scotland has two major designated national parks, including the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorms

The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs became the first national park in Scotland. It spans an area of 1,865 square kilometres and a 350-kilometre-long boundary.  

It is home to about 22 lochs, 21 Scottish mountains (munros), two forest parks, and 50 designated special nature conservation sites. In fact, Loch Lomond is also the largest inland water body by surface area in Great Britain.

The largest national park in the UK, Cairngorms National Park, is located in Scotland with an area of 4,528 kilometres. It was established as a national park in 2003 and has provided Scotland with immense natural beauty! 

Moreover, you’ll also find 43 Scottish mountains (munros), nine natural reserves, and around 60 major lochs in the park.  

Tourism in Scotland

14. Scotland Has the Tallest Waterfall in Britain

Here are some geography-related facts about Scotland. 

Britain consists of four parts – England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Out of these three, the tallest waterfall is found in Scotland! 

Eas a’ Chual Aluinn, situated in the parish of Assynt, Sutherland, Highland, is the highest waterfall in both Scotland and Britain. It has a height of 658 feet or 200 metres, and is almost four times higher than Niagara Falls too! 

The waterfall drops into the majestic Loch Beag and Glencoul and is not easy to reach. You can opt for a three-hour long hike as long as the weather remains safe. However, once you get to the top, the views of the mountainous landscape are breathtaking. 

The waterfall’s name is a corrupted version of the Scottish Gaelic phrase “Eas a’ Chùil Àlainn”, roughly translating to “waterfall of the beautiful tresses.”

15. The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Is Located in the Fictional Highlands of Scotland

Accio, Potterheads! I have got a few facts about Scotland for you. 

If you have read the Harry Potter series, you may know about the prestigious Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, have you ever wondered where it is located? 

It is believed that this fictional school is set in the highlands of Scotland. Its exact location can’t be known, but it is situated between two mountains, Ben Nevis and Ben Macdui

Unfortunately, you won’t find Hogwarts even if you explore the whole of Scotland. After all, it is just a part of J.K. Rowling’s fictional world. 

16. Scotland Has the World’s Biggest Arts Festival

If you love arts and culture, you must know these facts about Scotland! 

The world’s biggest arts festival, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, takes place in Scotland. It goes on for about three weeks and has more than 2,500 international taking place in 258 venues! Every year, more than 50 nations also participate in this festival. 

This festival first started in 1947 when a few unregistered theatre groups went to the event and performed at the Edinburgh International Festival. This caused many more groups to flock to the festival each year, increasing its participants by a lot! In 2022, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe celebrated its 75th birthday. 

The festival generally takes place around August. So, if Edinburgh is on your bucket list, don’t forget to participate in this grand celebration between the 2nd and 26th of August 2024. 

17. Anaesthesia Was Invented in Scotland

Here are some astonishing facts about Scotland!

Scotland is known to be the birthplace of Anaesthesia. It is a type of medicine that temporarily reduces the loss of sensation and awareness and is used for various purposes worldwide. 

James ‘Young’ Simpson became the first obstetrician to use anaesthesia during childbirth in nineteenth-century Scotland. He used a combination of ether and chloroform to relieve pain during childbirth and other such surgeries. 

He noticed that they significantly relieved pain when used together, leading to the invention of anaesthesia! In 1847, anaesthesia was pioneered by James. 

Today, the oldest national society of anaesthetists (1914), The Scottish Society of Anaesthetists, is also in Scotland.

Further Reading – Facts About Scotland

As someone who loves fantasy and folklore, Scotland is one of the top countries in my list of favourites. Its loving and cheerful people, magical culture, and unparalleled natural beauty make the country worth visiting. 

So, I hope these facts about Scotland help you explore the region until you get to visit it!

Meanwhile, you can also read similar other posts about Scotland. 

Liked this article? Click to share!