HILLS, GLENS AND LOCHSScotland is a country of romantic landscapes. Its hills, glens and lochs have inspired many songs, poems and legends. If you travel all over Scotland, you’ll see that it consists of three main parts: Lowlands, Uplands and Highlands. Scotland is also a land of coastlines and lonely islands where no place is far from the ocean. The highest mountain in Scotland is Ben Nevis (1343m). It’s also the highest mountain in Great Britain. The biggest and most beautiful lake in Scotland is Loch Lomond, but the most famous one is Loch Ness with its mysterious monster Nessie. Nessie sometimes appears to scare the tourists but only in fine weather, which is a great rarity for Scotland.(Other countries have higher mountains, deeper lakes and broader valleys, but the unique Scottish combination of mountain, loch and glen continues to capture the hearts of all who come here).
A TRADITION OF INDEPENDENCEScotland has not always been a part of the UK. The Scottish people had their own kings and queens for centuries. In 1603, King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England and Scotland. He moved to London and this ended Scottish independence. In 1707, Scotland became part of the UK, but it managed to keep its own legal system. For example, you can get married at the age of 16 in Scotland ( while in the rest of the UK you can only get married at 18). Since July 1, 1999, Scotland has had its own parliament – for the first time since 1707! The Scottish Parliament was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II.(Scotland is home to the oldest tree in Europe. This yew tree is 3,000 years old! According to legend, Pontius Pilate was born in its shade and played there as a child).
CLANS AND TARTANSMany Scottish names begin with ‘Mac’ or ‘Mc’, which means ‘son of’. So the name ‘Mc. Donald’ means ‘son of Donald’, and ’Mac. Gregor’ means ‘son of Gregory’. Many of today’s Scottish families, or clans, trace their origins to the 11th or 12th centuries, and some are even older. Each clan has its own tartan. The tartan is a checked cloth used to make the kilt, Scotland’s national dress. To make a kilt, you need about 6 metres of tartan! Both men and women wear kilts. Men also wear a leather money bag a sporran with the kilt. When one of the big clans has a big meeting ( such as a wedding ), people come from many countries, and many of them wear kilts when they come.
Scottish words. Scotland has two official languages: English and Gaelic, spoken mainly in the Highlands. Gaelic belongs to the family of Celtic languages and doesn’t sound like English at all. Linguists worry that not enough young people in Scotland learn Gaelic. If this trend continues, the language will slowly disappear. Many Scottish people still use some Scottish words when they speak English. A wee laddie means ‘ a small boy’. A bonnie lass is ‘ a pretty girl’ and aye means ‘yes’.
HIGHLAND GAMESScots enjoy the Highland Games. One of the most impressive events at the Games is ‘tossing the caber’ A caber is a long log and it’s very heavy so it’s difficult to throw it a long way. Other events of the Highland Games include hammer throw, stone put, rope pulling, as well as running and jumping. The atmosphere is great. You can also see people playing Scottish music on the bagpipes and dancing traditional Scottish dances.
golf. Golf was born in Scotland. This sport has been played there since the15th century. Mary, Queen of Scots ( also known as Mary Stuart ), played golf just after her second husband died! Golf is very popular in Scotland, it is not very expensive, and there are many beautiful golf courses: more than 5 hundred. In the summer you can play from 7 in the morning to ten at night.
FAMOUS SCOTSScotland has given the world many famous people: writers and poets, scientists and thinkers – Robert Burns, Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Josh Logie Baird, Alexander Bell, Alexander Fleming, Adam Smith, James Watt, David Hume and John Stuart Mill. Robert Burns is Scotland’s national poet. He was born on the 25th of January, 1759. His most famous poem and song outside Scotland is called ‘ Auld Lang Syne ’: Should auld acquaintance be forgot. And never brought to mind. Should auld acquaintance be forgot. For the sake of auld lang syne. For auld lang syne, my dear,For auld lang syne. We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,For the sake of auld lang syne. When British people celebrate the coming of the New Year at midnight, they hold hands in a large circle and sing this song. Every year on Burns’ birthday people have parties, eat haggis, drink whisky, dance to bagpipe music and read his poems.
FOR REFERENCEThe Island of Lewis is famous for its mysterious standing stones. The most important stone circle is near Callanish. Dated from 4,000 years ago, the site consists of over 50 standing stones, arranged in the form of a Celtic Cross. No one knows for sure why they are here. Some say it was a religious place, others say it was an ancient calendar.
HOGMANAYHogmanay is the name for the Scottish New Year’s Eve. It’s more important than Christmas in Scotland. People go ‘ first footing ‘ – they visit a neighbor’s house after midnight and give them a piece of coal, some bread, some salt, and a coin for good luck. Many people believe that you will have good luck for the coming year if the first person to enter your house after midnight is a ‘ tall dark stranger ‘. There is much dancing and singing until the early hours of the morning.
SCOTLAND’S CITIESScotland has a large territory – about 79,000 square kms – but most people live in the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee. The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world. Like Rome, it was built on seven hills. The Castle of Edinburgh has become a national symbol of Scotland.
Do YOU KNOW? Scottish people are called Scots but not Scotch. Scotch is a strong drink made in Scotland. Scotland has about 790 islands, but people live only on 130 of them. The Romans called Scotland Caledonia. Today, this is still the poetic name for Scotland. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has her own colour of tartan : grey with black, red n blue. The flag of Scotland is known as the Saltire or St Andrews Cross. The Gaelic alphabet has 18 letters ( J, K, Q, V, W, X, Y and Z are not used). Be careful if you are offered a ‘ wee dram’ in Scotland: you’ll be given some whisky to drink and you will probably have to drink it all in one go! JK Rowling created the first of the Harry Potter books, writing from an Edinburgh café.
GREAT SCOTS QUIZ THE MAN AND HIS WORK OR INVENTION. ‘ The Hound of the Baskervilles ‘ – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The raincoat – Charles Macintosh. ‘ Treasure Island ’ – Robert Louis Stevenson. The telephone – Alexander Bell. ‘ The Wealth of Nations ’ – Adam Smith. The penicillin – Alexander Fleming. ‘ Auld Lang Syne’ – Robert Burns. ‘ Ivanhoe ‘ – Sir Walter Scott.
Solve the crossword about Scotland.1. It is the national emblem of Scotland.2. He is a famous writer. People made him the monument which stands in the gardens of Princes Street.3. It is the biggest city in Scotland.4. It is a national ornament of Scotland.5. It is the traditional Scottish skirt for men.6. It is the national food.7. It is the monster which may live in Loch Ness. 8. It is the capital city.
SOURCES The magazine “Speak Out No 3 (79), 2010 The magazine “Speak Out No 6 (82), 2010 The magazine “Speak Out No 4 (86), 2011 The magazine “Speak Out” No 5 (93), 2012 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotland http://www.scotland.org https://yandex.ru/images/search?text=Scotland&stype=image&lr=62&noreask=1&source=wiz