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Scotland - Introduction

Scots have been at the forefront of the great moral, political and economic debates of the times as humanity has searched for progress in the modern age. Scotland is a country with strong global connections. Historically, Scots have travelled the world, contributing to the culture and economies of many and broadening our nation's horizons. From Carnegie Hall in New York to the world’s first commercially available bionic hand, Scotland's has a reputation as a progressive, creative nation.

The Scottish Government works to forge a stronger fairer society at home, to create a more successful country with opportunities for all to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth. To do this, Scotland must play our part in the global economy. Scotland believes in internationalism, the need to work with other nations, institutions and businesses to contribute to the success of the global community. As Scotland’s ambitions grow so does the importance of our country’s international reputation.

Scotland’s reputation has been built on centuries of exploration, exports, education, emigration and immigration. Scotland have welcomed people of all nations who have contributed to the rich and diverse culture Scotland are so proud of today. The historical strength of Scotland’s reputation serves as a keystone to build a modern nation brand upon. Scotland are world-renowned for the warmth of welcome, educational excellence and thriving tourism industry. Scotland need to continue to build on this, to continue to promote Scotland as a country of choice to live, learn, visit, work, do business and invest.

Situated within a vibrant Europe, with a population around 5.2 million, Scotland is progressive nation built on dynamism, creativity and the fabulous warmth of its people. In the workplace, Scotland are well-educated, skilled and motivated – and Scotland are proud of a heritage of inventiveness and innovation.

Tourism is one of Scotland’s most lucrative assets, focusing on such attractions as golf, walking and a rich history. In industry, too, the country is pioneering and enterprising. Key business sectors include life sciences, electronic technologies, energy and financial services. Scotland also boasts a thriving export market with an impressive global reach, especially in food and drink – including Scotland’s famous whisky – and chemicals.

Scotland occupies the northern part of the island of Great Britain, and, divided from England by a series of hills and rivers, is externally distinguished from that country by many peculiar features. Mountain chains of primitive, or at least early rock, and in many instances uncovered by vegetation, form a large portion of the surface, giving occasion for many deep inlets of the sea, which peninsulate several districts, and render the general outlme extremely irregular. Lakes embosomed in the hills, and clear, copious, and rapid rivers pouring along the vales, help to complete that picture.

The various Scottish dialects should not be confused with Gaelic, the Celtic language spoken in the north and west of the country. Scottish Gaelic, the traditional language of Scotland, is the same language as Irish Gaelic, and Gaelic speakers from the two countries can usually manage to understand each other. The grammar structure is very complex. There are still many people in Scotland, particularly in the Highlands, who understand Gaelic, but few places where it remains the language of common conversation, apart from the Hebrides. The Gaelic language is taught in many schools in Scotland, but usually as an optional subject. There are also Gaelic playgroups throughout Scotland for pre-school children. The variety of English spoken in Scotland is Scots (previously called 'Inglis'), descended from the language of the Saxons who came north to avoid the Normans in 1066. Few English speakers can fully understand a true Scots speaker; when Gaelic speakers use English, however, it is spoken very clearly.

The arable ground, which is not above a third of the whole surface, chiefly lies in tracts sloping to the seacoast, and in the lower parts of the vales. The less precipitous hilly districts are chiefly occupied as pastoral ground for sheep and cattle. Wood, which once covered a large portion of the surface, is chiefly confined to the neighborhood of gentlemen's seats, and to plantations which have been raised for the protection of arable lands from the cold winds.

The climate, as compared with that of England, is cold, cloudy, and wet; yet the temperature is not liable to such great extremes as that of either England or France, seldom falling below twenty-five degrees of Fahrenheit, or rising above sixty-five, the annual average being from forty-five degrees to forty-seven. The summer is uncertain, and often comprehends many consecutive weeks of ungenial weather; but, on the other hand, the winters are rarely severe, and often include many agreeable days and even weeks. The backwardness of spring is perhaps the worst feature of the meteorological character of the country.

The mainland of Scotland is situated between fifty-four degrees thirty-eight minutes and fifty-eight degrees forty minutes north latitude, and one degree forty-seven minutes and five degrees forty-five minutes west longitude. It is bounded on the east by the German ocean, on the north by the Northern ocean, on the west by the Atlantic, and on the south by England. The greatest length is two hundred and eighty-four, and the greatest breadth one hundred and forty-seven miles. The entire surface, including the islands, contains thirty thousand square miles, or nearly twenty millions of English statute acres.

The principal rivers are the Tweed, Annan, Nith, Dee (Kirkcudbright), Ayr, Clyde, Beauty, Ness, Findhorn, Spey, Deveron, Ythan, Don, Dee (Aberdeenshire), Tay, Forth, Carron, Leith, and Tyne. The Tay is the most copious, and the Spey the most rapid. Scarcely any of these rivers are navigable to a considerable distance from the sea.

The mountains of Scotland are generally in groups or ranges. The Highlands may be considered as one great cluster of hills; but those bordering on the Lowlands, and extending between Stirlingshire and Aberdeenshire, are more particularly distinguished as the Grampian mountains. The other principal ranges are the Sidiaws, in Forfarshire ; the Campsie hills, in Stirlingshire; the Pentlands, in Edingbnrghshire; the Lammermoors, extending between Berwick and Haddington shires ; the Cheviot hills, on the Border; and a great range, of no general name, extending throughout the counties of Selkirk, Peebles, Dumfries, Lanark, Ayr, and Kirkcudbright. The most noted of the Highland mountains are Ben Nevis (4,370 feet, being the highest in the United Kingdom), Ben Mac Dhui (4,327), Cairngorm (4,095), Ben More (3,870), Ben Wyvis (3,720), and Ben Lomond (3,262). The highest of the Pentland range is Carnethy (1,880). Among the southern hills, few exceed 2,500 feet.

To the north of a southward curving line, stretching between Glasgow and Aberdeen, the country is more mountainous than elsewhere, and therefore bears the general appellation of the "Highlands." This is a district full of romantic scenery— savage precipitous mountains, lakes, rushing streams, and wild-hanging, natural woods. Its population, numbering about 400,000 at the outset of the 20th Century, or a sixth of the entire population of the country, is of Celtic (and in a less degree Scandinavian) descent, and exhibits many peculiar features in language, dress, and manners, which were, however, rapidly becommg obliterated. The remainder of the country is termed the "Lowlands," as containing less ground of an elevated and irregular character, though here also are several considerable ranges of mountains, The inhabitants of this district, are more peculiarly entitled to be considered as "the Scotch".

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Page last modified: 14-10-2019 19:06:59 ZULU