About Scotland

Scotland may be small in term of population, but in term of what it has contributed to the world – it’s huge!

The Scottish Enlightenment, led by David Hume and Adam Smith amongst others, awakened Europe from the Dark Age. Scottish invention, and James Watt’s steam engine in particular, sparked the Industrial Revolution which gave rise to the growth of the British Empire. Scottish scientists have contributed so much to the world as we know it today – from the theory of Electromagnetism to the cloning of Dolly the Sheep. The great Winston Churchill once said – ‘Of all the small nations on earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind.’ A fitting tribute indeed!

Scotland is the northernmost of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom. While in terms of its size it makes up one-third of the land mass of the UK it contributes only 10% of its population, concentrated largely in the cities of the central belt. Two of these cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow, are second only to London as financial centers and tourist destinations. Aberdeen in the north-east is the oil capital of Europe while its neighbour Dundee is a leading European technology city with a particular expertise in biomedicine and computer games design. The city of Stirling offers a rich and proud Scottish history and the Highlands and Islands are renowned as one of the last surviving areas of true wilderness with outstanding beauty and variety of geology and biodiversity.

Scotland is a proud nation with a long history and is one of the constituents of the UK.

Archaeological evidence shows that the first settlers arrived in Scotland after the last Ice Age around ten thousand years ago. The earliest written records were made by the Romans when they occupied England and Wales and for a time the southernmost part of Scotland. They found a fierce, independent people but also a rich culture and a country adept at exploiting trade routes with Europe and the world beyond.

Independence is a word which has been intertwined with the history of Scotland and in particular its relationship with its closest neighbour England. For many people outside Scotland, their images of the country have been influenced by the famous movie “Braveheart” and passions have been stirred by William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce and their fight for “Freedom”!

While Thai often mistakenly think of Scotland as a part of England, the fact is that the United Kingdom as we know it today came together in 1603 to share the same monarch. This was when the Scottish King, James VI, became James I of England and consequently the first King of Great Britain; their parliaments were still separate entities however. Eventually, the Act of Union 1707 resulted in the dissolution of both parliaments and created the first parliament of Great Britain at Westminster in London. Certain matters including religion, law and education remained distinct from the control of the Westminster parliament, however, and this remains the case today under the power of the devolved Scottish Parliament established in 1999.

Scotland…………………..a modern, vibrant nation with its own distinctive character while making a vital contribution to the success of the United Kingdom in the world today.

The six cities of Scotland

Edinburgh – Scotland’s capital city and a UNESCO world heritage site – is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations.

Countless generations of writers and poets have paid tribute to the outstanding beauty of this “Athens of the North”. Scotland’s largest city, however, is Glasgow – a city which is recognised for its ability to reinvent itself. Perhaps best known as the manufacturing heart of the Scottish economy and the second city of the British Empire – the Poet Laureate John Betjeman described it as the best example of Victorian architecture in the world. Over successive generations Glasgow has seen the decline of traditional industries and its success today as a major educational, conference and cultural centre is down to the hard work and resourcefulness for which Glaswegians (people who live in Glasgow) are famed.

Aberdeen, Scotland’s 3rd largest city, has always played an important role in the Scottish economy as a vital trading and fishing port. With the discovery of oil in the North Sea during the 1970’s Aberdeen has developed to be recognised as the oil capital of Europe. Other important cities include Stirling – recognised as the “buckle in the belt” of Scotland as it occupies an important strategic position controlling the routes between the south and the Highlands. As such it has played an important part in the history of Scotland with monarchs being born and crowned here and Royal Courts established to attract the great thinkers of their time from across Europe. Now a center for government, retail, and light industry, like the other Scottish cities Stirling is an important tourist destination. Dundee – once known as the city of jute, jam, and journalism because of its traditional industries – now accounts for 10% of the British digital entertainment industry and is home to the research and development facilities of several companies active in the field of health and biomedical research. Finally, Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, is recognised as one of the fastest growing cities in Western Europe and regularly tops polls for the quality of life of its residents.

 

Other interesting Information about Scotland

Location:Northwest Europe, UK
Size:30,086 sq miles
Population:5,062,011
Capital City:Edinburgh
Language:English
Currency:Great British Pound Sterling (GBP) (£)
Country Code:+44
Time Zone:GMT
Electricity:240 volts AC, 50 Hz, 3 pin plugs
Major Airport:Glasgow International, Glasgow Prestwick, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness

Weather in Scotland

The east coast tends to be cool and dry, the west coast milder and wetter. July and August (summer) are normally the warmest months, average temperature of 15-19C/60-68F.

The long summer days (18-21 hours/ day) give you more time to enjoy yourself!

In autumn, birches, rowans and bracken bring a riot of yellow & red, or golden brown, to the glens and hillsides. Wherever you visit you will be rewarded with breathtaking colors.

 

Winter can be wild yet exhilarating and, with the right clothing and a bit of preparation, can be as enjoyable as any other season. In the winter the mountains take on a completely different appearance and assume the arctic or alpine character which visitors might associate with Scotland.

Spring is perhaps Scotland’s most beautiful season as the gardens and countryside come alive again after the winter. Known throughout the world for the variety of its plants and flowers, a drive in the country or a walk through the cities’ many parks and gardens in the warm spring sunshine, will provide a riot of colour that is truly awe-inspiring.

Living and studying in Scotland provides Thai students with a completely new experience. The landscape is dominated by the sky which is constantly changing, providing a magnificent backdrop to the stunning landscapes. In Scotland there is a saying “Four seasons in one day”. If you don’t like the weather now, just wait five minutes!

Even in the cities the air is crisp and clear but out in the wild countryside it is quite pure. Just like the whisky – intoxicating!