Fabulous Scotland is one of the countries of the United Kingdom.

INDIVIDUAL INFORMATION-Educational PROJECT Theme: “This magnificent Scotland”

Yeskina Ekaterina Anatolievna

All customs and traditions in their essence reflect the life of this or that group of people, and they arise as a result of knowledge of the surrounding reality. In other words, customs and traditions are those valuable pearls in the ocean of a people’s life that they have collected over the centuries. The customs and traditions of any nation are its “dowry” upon joining the great family of humanity living on planet Earth.

What do we know about Scotland? Very little. That it is one of the three historic regions of Great Britain, located in the north of the country. Sure, we know what bagpipes are, but few of us know anything else about this country.

In fact, Scotland is an amazing country full of tales and mysteries.


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Municipal general educational institution

“Secondary general education school № 13 named after Yuri A. Gagarin”

Subject: “This magnificent Scotland”.

Performed by: Popov Nikita

Student of the 6 “a” grade

Project supervisor: E.A. Yeskina.

English teacher

General information about Scotland……………………………………… …………5

Customs and traditions of the people of Scotland …………………………………………16

Gathering information to create an information booklet “This magnificent Scotland” ………………………………………………………………………… 18

Analysis of student survey results ………………………………. …………. 19

In everyday life and culture of any nation there are many phenomena that are complex in their historical origin and functions. One of the most striking and revealing phenomena of this kind are folk customs and traditions. In order to understand their origins, one must first study the history of the people, its culture, get in touch with its life and way of life, try to understand its soul and character.

All customs and traditions in their essence reflect the life of this or that group of people, and they arise as a result of knowledge of the surrounding reality. In other words, customs and traditions are those valuable pearls in the ocean of a people’s life that they have collected over the centuries. The customs and traditions of any nation are its “dowry” upon joining the great family of humanity living on planet Earth.

What do we know about Scotland? Very little. That it is one of the three historic regions of Great Britain, located in the north of the country. Sure, we know what bagpipes are, but few of us know anything else about this country.

In fact, Scotland is an amazing country full of tales and mysteries.

The subject of the customs and traditions of the Scots, as well as any nation inhabiting the Earth, is unusually broad and multifaceted. These are such topics as the Scottish national costume; ancient agricultural customs of the Scots and their connection with the cult of vegetation and the sun.

The purpose of this work is to study the history, culture, sights and interesting holidays of Scotland.

  • to select and systematize theoretical and illustrative material about Scotland;
  • think through questions and do a survey to determine the level of my class’ knowledge of the topic;
  • Develop an information booklet called “This Magnificent Scotland”.
  • learn how to work with methodological materials;
  • learn to work with Internet resources and summarize data;
  • present the results of the project activities.

The object of the study is the country of Scotland.

The subject of the study is the mysterious places of Scotland and its cultural features.

Hypothesis – Scotland, one of the countries of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is different from other countries in the kingdom, has its own characteristics and is one of the most interesting countries in the world.

The relevance of the topic is to familiarize people and students of our school with the mysterious history of this country, its culture and traditions.

1.1 General information about Scotland

Scotland (English and Anglo-Scottish: Scotland, Gaelic: Alba) is the former (until 1707) independent kingdom in northern Europe and now the most autonomous (with its own parliament, legal system and state church, etc.) of all the countries that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Scotland occupies the north of the island of Great Britain and shares a land border with England (Appendix 1).

The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh.

Population of Scotland. According to the 2011 census Scotland has a population of 5.295 million. If Scotland were an independent state it would be 113th most populous country in the world. The Scottish constitute 84% of the population, the English – 7,9%, other Europeans – 4,1% (including 54 thousand Irish and 61 thousand Poles), Asians – 141 thousand people or 2,7% (mostly Pakistanis – 50 thousand), colored and mixed population (people from Africa, the Caribbean and Arabs) – 70 thousand people or 1,3%.

The Scottish Parliament is a one-chamber legislature. Emergence of Scottish Parliament dates back to the 13th century. In 1707 after unification of England and Scotland into one kingdom of Great Britain parliament ceased to exist and was restored only in 1999 under the Scotland Act of 1998.

Scottish coat of arms. The Scottish coat of arms depicts a red heraldic lion in attack, he has blue claws and a blue tongue. It was present on all the coats of arms of the Scottish kings until, after the Act of Union in 1707, it became part of the coat of arms of Great Britain (Appendix 2).

The motto is “Nemo me impune lacessit.” (Translated from Latin: “No one shall touch me with impunity.”)

The flag of Scotland (Flag of Scotland, Anglo-Scottish. Banner o Scotland, Gaelic. Bratach na h-Alba) – the official historical symbol of Scotland, is a blue rectangular cloth with a white oblique (St Andrew’s) cross (Appendix 3). According to legend, in 832 AD King Angus II, who led an army of Picts and Scots, before the battle with the Angles, headed by Ethelstan, prayed to God the night before the battle to grant victory on the field of battle, and vowed that if victory will declare the Apostle Andrew the patron saint of Scotland. In the morning, the clouds over the battlefield formed the letter “X” in the blue sky, repeating the shape of the cross on which St. Andrew was crucified in the Greek city of Patras in 70 AD. The Picts and Scots were excited by this divine portent, and the Angles were in awe. As a result, the army of Angus II, outnumbered by the Angles, won the battle and St. Andrew was proclaimed the patron saint of Scotland.

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In fact, the first use of an oblique cross as a national symbol appeared only on the seal of the Scottish Guards in 1286, and the flag itself appeared in 1542. In 1601 the flag of Scotland was united with the flag of England in the flag of Great Britain

1.2 Scotland’s sights

Myths and legends of Scotland are amazingly diverse and exotic. They are incredibly vivid and believable, so most people can’t deny themselves the pleasure of believing in them. Mystical Scotland is famous for inventing legends literally from scratch: there are legendary lakes, castles, mountains, and amazing people. Here are some of them (Appendix 4).

1. Roslyn Chapel

Perhaps Scotland’s most mysterious church, the history of whose erection is shrouded in many legends.

The Chapel, located in the village of Roslyn, is one of Scotland’s most famous and mysterious churches. The mysteries kept by this small chapel beckon many tourists and explorers. The construction of the chapel began in the middle of the XV century. The idea of erecting the chapel belongs to William Sinclair, third Earl of Orkney, who wanted to use the structure as a family tomb. But William was not destined to see Roslin Chapel – he died before it was completed. After his death, construction was halted: his son Oliver completed only the roof of the chapel. For 40 years, the chapel continued to be decorated with stone carvings depicting animals, plants, angels, demons and strange symbols, which scientists all over the world are still trying to decipher.

Since 1592 the chapel was in a complete state of neglect. It was not until 1736 that Sinclair’s descendant James repaired the most serious damage to the Roslin Chapel, but that was all. In 1861 the third Earl of Roslyn, James Alexander, ordered architect David Brice to undertake the restoration of the chapel. It was re-consecrated in 1862 and has served its ecclesiastical functions ever since. The striking decoration of the small chapel has always occupied the minds of explorers and inquisitive tourists alike. It is therefore not surprising that the Roslin Chapel is surrounded by all sorts of legends – and some of them tell of Freemasons and the Holy Grail.

In the Roslin Chapel there is a carved stone column called the “Apprentice Pillar”. One of the most famous legends about the chapel is associated with it: it is said that the column was decorated by an apprentice of the great Master Mason. The old master went to Rome to clarify exactly how the column should be decorated. On his return, however, he saw that the apprentice had already completed the work to be done by the master: he had decorated the column with a drawing he had seen in a dream. The young apprentice hoped to be praised and perhaps paid a little more than promised, but his initiative backfired on him: the carving was so good that the master became envious and hated the apprentice. Blinded by rage, he killed the innocent apprentice and was subsequently executed. At the same time, there is speculation that this legend is based on a Masonic legend telling of the master Hiram-Abiff who decorated Solomon’s temple. It is believed that the column is the world tree Yggdrasil (giant ash tree), in the form of which the ancient Scandinavians represented the universe. The top of the tree represents the zodiacal constellations and the branches represent the planets. The base of the column depicts dragons trying to tear out the roots of Yggdrasil to deprive the tree of the power of the earth.

There are also legends that there is a secret passage in the Sinclair crypt that leads to a hiding place. Further variations branch out: the stash may contain both the Scottish crown and the Holy Grail or the treasures of the Templar order.

The ceiling of the Roslyn Chapel is decorated with strange symbols that no one has yet been able to decipher. Legend has it that by deciphering these symbols, you can get data and make a map, which will show the location of the cache of valuables, ancient manuscripts. But the most plausible theory suggests that the symbols are just the notes of some melody. This assertion is supported by the fact that the walls of the chapel depict many different musical instruments held by angels.

The many secrets that the Roslin Chapel hides inspired the writer Dan Brown to create the bestseller “The Da Vinci Code”, in which the legend of the Holy Grail is voiced. Roslin Chapel is still one of the most mysterious churches in the world.

2. loch ness lake

The mysterious monster living at the bottom of the Scottish lake Loch Ness was already believed in the 6th century. And even after so many centuries, scientists (even if engaged in such dubious science as cryptozoology) continue to study the appearance and existence of such mythical creature as the Loch Ness Monster. The reason for the research become regular statements from local residents and travelers, allegedly encountering the mysterious critter in the lake. In 1957, Constance White, a long-time resident of its shores, wrote the book “It’s more than a legend”, in which she collected 117 eyewitness accounts of the mysterious creature in Loch Ness. They all described it in the same way: massive body, long neck and small head.

By the way, the most famous picture of the monster, which was nicknamed Nessie, was officially recognized as a fake. Loch Ness Lake is an amazing lake of Scotland, located 37 km west of Inverness. One of the deepest and largest freshwater lakes in the country, which is saturated with legends and rumors of an extraordinary monster affectionately called Nessie by the locals. The waters of the lake are murky because they are saturated with a lot of peat. Perhaps because of this feature, the world-famous legendary Loch Ness monster has not yet been officially captured. The first mention of the Loch Ness Monster dates back to 1933, when a magazine published an interview with a family sailing around the lake in a boat and allegedly seeing the monster. Since then there have been many expeditions around the lake, but no one has ever been able to prove the existence of the monster.

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Although the feverish interest in the lake has now subsided, scientists continue to explore the bottom for underwater cavities and caves connecting Loch Ness with other bodies of water. Perhaps someday we will learn the truth about this mystical monster.

3. Mary King’s Dead End.

An underground street in downtown Edinburgh (named after a local landlady) was part of the bustling Royal Mile neighborhood until four centuries ago. Legend has it, however, that when a plague came to the city, infected residents were kept here and died of the incurable disease. In the 18th century, during the construction of a new city administration building, the cul-de-sac was walled up and became part of the foundation, and in the 2000s, the buried streets were again uncovered by archaeologists. To pay tribute to urban legend, TheRealMaryKing’sClose museum was opened on the site of the former cul-de-sac, which is now one of the city’s main attractions.

400 years ago Mary King (as the owner of most of the houses here was called) was one of the busiest places in Edinburgh. The historical chronicles say that in the 17th century an epidemic of the black plague threatened to completely destroy Edinburgh. All of Edinburgh’s infected citizens were isolated in a special place, resembling an infirmary. People were taken to Mary King’s cul-de-sac during several epidemics, and they died there without any help from outside. There are many ghost stories in its streets, and there are so many eyewitness accounts that claim to have seen ghost people, haggard, in rags, wandering between the houses.

In fact, part of Mary King’s cul-de-sac was completely demolished and part was bricked up and was the foundation for a new structure… The ghosts in Mary King’s cul-de-sac have been seen more than once and in 2003 the authorities of Edinburgh opened the mystical area to tourists. Until our days comes the legend of a little girl Ann who ended up in a dead end and was deprived of access to the city, because her parents gave their plague-infected child to this terrible place that smells of death. Through the efforts of local residents in the cul-de-sac of Mary King there is a corner with lots of dolls, designed for the ghost of little Anne, to placate him. People are convinced that the girl loves these toys, so often grabbing the hands of visitors to the cul-de-sac as if to thank them. Not surprisingly, the underground quarter is home to many ghosts of people who died of the plague in anguish, pain and fear. They roam the dimly lit tunnels and sometimes terrify visitors to Mary King’s cul-de-sac.

The castle stands on a rock, which is nothing less than the remains of a huge volcano that went extinct about 350,000 years ago. This ancient structure is the most haunted place on Earth, and that is the reason why hundreds of thousands of tourists come here every year, and not in vain. Ghost musicians have taken up residence here, playing a variety of musical instruments in opposite corners of the castle. But the list of dead souls does not end there. Immortal French prisoners, medieval prisoners, and even the ghost of a guard dog guarding an ancient cemetery. The entire book of reviews of the castle is scribbled with cases of encounters with these mystical creatures and illustrated with photographs.

Richard Weissman with a group of nine scientists conducted research at Edinburgh Castle. For ten days 240 volunteers from all over the world tried to catch ghosts while holed up in the basements of the famous castle. The results were as follows. Several of the test subjects had ominous experiences from their underground vigils. Most of the strange experiences occurred in those dungeons that were already infamous. In those places, which, despite their ominous appearance, had not been visited by ghosts before, the number of reported strange experiences was significantly lower. And this despite the fact that the volunteers, according to the terms of the experiment, said nothing about the exact place where they will conduct surveillance and what its “ghostly” history.

In general, the Castle of Edinburgh is a record-breaker in Scotland by the number of unexplored mystical phenomena. Through the castle’s vast, mysterious dungeon wanders the ghost of a piper who, when he was alive, was sent to explore the underground passage in search of a way out, but never returned.

The headless ghost of the drummer, executed in the castle centuries ago, is sometimes, usually in the morning, seen in the castle courtyard. It is said that this only happens when the castle is in some kind of danger. The ghost of a poor man who tried to escape from the dungeon, but was thrown off a cliff alive by an absurd accident, is seen on the slopes of a volcano.

The ghost of a piper, a legendary ghost who plays old melodies and a ghost in a leather apron, an executioner and sadist who tortured and tormented prisoners for years until a brave prisoner threw him out of a window, has been seen many times here. The dog, long buried in the castle cemetery, still runs around the castle.

Less frequent but effective are the appearances of Janet Douglas, Lady Glamis, wandering the dark halls of the castle, burnt at the stake in the castle courtyard in 1537 on charges of witchcraft (clearly trumped up). In addition in the city of Edinburgh 53 other ghosts have been registered in various buildings and underground passages. This abundance of ghosts, strange as it may seem, does not disturb the citizens at all. They take care of all the “ghostly” places. This is not surprising: crowds of tourists come every year to see the ghosts. Here the ghosts are elevated to the rank of national treasure and treated accordingly.

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Scotland, Highland: Interview with a resident of the mountain fairytale

Scotland, Highland: interview with a resident of the mountain fairy tale

Marina Guy is an experienced traveler and certified tour guide in Northern Scotland. A geophysical engineer by training and a businesswoman in Russia (still pays Russian taxes even though she has been living abroad since 2010!), Marina does everything passionately – whether speaking at international conferences, or writing poetry and prose, or sharing useful Internet stuff on the pages of her blog…

And about what the Highlands are, Marina tells it in such a way that it makes you want to apply for a British visa and immediately see the legendary land of Scottish Highlanders with your own eyes. Let’s get acquainted – with Marina and with “Scottish eyes” of our compatriot.

For reference: Scotland – the most autonomous country of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, was an independent state until 1707. Highland – the northern highlands and the largest area of its territory.

– Let us define the starting point of our journey: where do you live and how did you get there?

– In my childhood memories there are stories about the Loch Ness monster. It was a socialist time, it was not accepted to believe in such nonsense. Nevertheless, all the newspapers were full of pictures of this famous head sticking out of the lake. My father, a hydrogeologist, loved such horror stories, and I remembered the monster of Loch Ness all my life.


A mock-up of the Loch Ness Monster in the pond at the Loch Ness Center & Exhibition

True, I never intended to go there, much less live there. I ended up in the land of the Highlanders a few years ago after marrying a local. We don’t live too far from Loch Ness, which had beckoned me since childhood. I was utterly amazed to discover that I was only 50 minutes by car from the “habitat” of the Loch Ness Monster… So, dreams do come true, as a rule (if they really are YOUR dreams, of course)!

I live in the small town of Forres almost on the border of Highland, the area with the lowest population density on the island (about 9 people per square mile on average).

The England-Scotland border runs almost along a geological fault line. From England, you first enter the southern Scottish plain of the Lowlands, and then the highland of the Highlands. It’s in the midst of wildlife and northern exoticism that I live – where the clan system once ruled and true Highlanders lived.

– Is Highland Scotland cold?

– Since the Gulf Stream is here, the climate is much warmer than at the same latitude in Russia (but, of course, colder than in London). What would you say about tropical gardens with palms, rhododendrons and other southern exotics in the latitude of Veliky Novgorod? And it’s all of gigantic proportions!


Inverewe Gardens with tropical vegetation

It’s true that the climate in our area has changed lately. In 2010-11, we had incredibly snowy winters with almost a foot of snow drifts. So snow is no surprise here now, and drifts on the roads have become common, although the winters were snowless before. The temperature has loosened up, from typical -10°C, and sometimes -15°C! But year to year, of course, does not happen. The Scots treat this as an anomaly.


Snowy winter 2010 – a wild pheasant in our garden

– And how do the Scots react to the snow and cold anomaly? Surprised, frightened?

– This is where the story of the peculiarities of the national character begins. The difference is just in their reaction to events. The Scots, by nature, know how to rejoice and joke. For example, Americans are taught how to react to events correctly, but the Scots have a certain inherent positivity. If there is a reason to have fun, they will definitely use it and manage to rejoice in every little thing.

I’m looking out the window right now: some butterflies have come and clung to bushes of buddleia, which is very popular here, though it’s a little late in the summer. And here it is already a reason to rejoice.


Butterflies on buddleia bushes

Don’t get the impression that Scotland is heavenly and people don’t have any problems. It’s not! But the ability to see the positive, to find joy in the little things is a great gift that we all should learn!

– And what problems do the cheerful Scots worry about?

– Although life here is really quiet, but there are plenty of problems. And one of them is connected with immigration from a number of countries of the British Commonwealth (that is, former colonies), from the countries of Eastern Europe, which joined the European Union, and even, for some reason, from Afghanistan! Many of them somehow mysteriously find themselves in line for housing and medical care ahead of the locals, receive a decent financial allowance, and are totally unwilling to give anything back to society. At the same time, crime is certainly on the rise!

Taxes go up, bills go up, and the money goes to support immigrants, many of whom have no intention of working. And pensions are not indexed, while immigrant benefits are regularly indexed. This, of course, is a state of affairs that few people like.

– So immigrants are not treated very well? Marina, you are not a native-born resident, either. Do you also have immigrant status?

– All people are treated very well here! And immigration is a problem that has to be solved at the state level. Immigration to the UK in search of political asylum is already a business. There is some serious hole in the existing system. Unscrupulous people have found this hole and are using it mercilessly! And everything, after all, comes out of the pockets of the taxpayers.

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I do not have such a status, because I am married to a British citizen, so I have to earn my own money. And I didn’t come from a former colony. That’s the trick, the laws here are different for everyone!

– If I propose a comparison – Scotland and Russia. What would you think of first? The similarities or the differences?

– Russia and Scotland are very similar and it’s noticeable in the relationship between people: you establish rapport immediately. If it wasn’t for visa difficulties I’m sure there would be much more Russian tourists here! Russians feel at home here, so I didn’t really have to get used to anything.

Although this is probably only true of the general mood. But I had to get used to a lot of details. If the left-hand traffic I have coped easily, then a completely different system of measurements strains me still! At least the temperature is in degrees Celsius, and not in Fahrenheit.

Here are a couple of examples. Since the local food abounds in various buns, it is customary to lose weight here. How would a Russian react if he hears this: “I lost weight by one stone”?

Of course he will ask: “How much is that?” The answer will follow: “What kind of question is that? 14 pounds, of course!” (not to be confused with a pound).

To the next question, “How much is that in kilograms?”, the Scots will reply, “I don’t know, but 1 pound is about half a pound. “

It’s a little easier with a pint (pint, pronounced “pint”) of beer. A British pint is equal to 0.57 liters. So you can safely order a half pint of beer (half pint of beer) even when you’re driving. It is allowed by law.

I have a separate story on the subject, “Stones, Pints and Angels’ Share” http://www.chitalnya.ru/work/882574/.

And if you think of buying a house or an apartment here, you will also encounter the foot and the inch. The first is marked with one stroke when you indicate the meterage, and the second with two strokes! So, all the same, it is better to come here as a guest, dear guests are always welcome!

But it is a joke, of course! It is not necessary to drink whisky. But what’s really cool is that you can drink the water right from the tap, and everywhere, even in the toilets. But two separate taps with hot and cold water – I’ll never get used to that! :)

And of course it’s very hard for me to understand when the Scots talk about local celebrities! Apart from Tilda Swinton and Susan Bowl I don’t know anyone!

But the difficulties are manageable when you go, for example, for a blood test or to the dentist, and everyone smiles and jokes, and even complete strangers smile and say hello in the street.

– How is your life here arranged?

– I live in Forres, a town of about 10,000 people (actually it’s only about 2.5 times bigger than on a modern cruise ship! However, life here is very busy. Every month in the mail is such a little magazine with local events – and what’s not in it! There’s always competitions, concerts, exhibitions, not to mention the Highlander Summer Games! The city has a huge Grand Park, where all these events are held.

For example, in 2010 there was the national championship Beautiful Scotland in Bloom and our volunteer craftsmen won the Gold Medal Award for the “living” sculpture in the park. Have you ever seen a giant peacock, bear or beaver created out of flowers and decorating the park all summer long! All of these can only be seen in our Grand Park.

06-Scotland 1

Flower peacock in Grand Park

By the way, an interesting fact: it is the norm to hold large-scale championships in small towns. And these events are catered by volunteers, too, mostly active retirees. In June 2013 we had a world bagpipe championship, which brought together brass bands from all over the world, even from Oman! In such exotic outfits…

07-Scotland 1

June 29, 2013 – European Pipe Band Championships

As for local entertainment, golf and curling are definitely the ones to watch. In curling a heavy 20 kilogram bat, made of natural granite, is curling. Fortunately it rolls on ice, otherwise this game would be available only for bogeymen of fairy tales! Each of these bats 30 cm in diameter and about 13 cm high costs 400 £ (more than 20 000 rubbles)!

These popular around the world “elite” sports games were born here, their homeland – Scotland. And golf clubs (golf clubs) are literally on every kilometer, as well as distilleries!

I’m not very old enough to play either, so I can’t count myself among the local elite. After all, on average, one round of golf at 18 holes takes from 3.5 to 4.5 hours. Prices for these “elite” sports here can be afforded by any resident, but where to get so much free time?

– From your story you can already imagine what character traits the Scots have. But add more details – what are they like, the descendants of the mountain clans?

– The Scots are cheerful people who like to have fun and socialize, despite the fact that everyone here is busy. You’ll find Scottish parties-ceilidh (Gaelic for “ceilidh”) with singing and dancing. People wear their national dress to the ceilidh. And it’s really great! Many of the songs are sung in Gaelic too, it’s the second national language after English, so it’s on the road signs too, so don’t be scared!

Wearing the national dress is welcomed and cultivated by the Scots. A man can wear a kilt skirt even in the cities and not for any occasion but just for fun. It coincides with his worldview, so he goes that way. It should not be perceived as something abnormal. In my opinion, it’s very sexy!

The Scottish have a very good sense of humor – they joke all the time, on all occasions and even with strangers. I’ve already started to understand their jokes. In general, my husband (an Englishman! ha-ha) thinks that Russians have no sense of humor. That’s because I don’t always understand jokes. After all, when someone makes a joke, you have to know the language very well to understand the nuances.

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– Now you are a qualified mining engineer-geophysicist and a candidate of technical sciences and you are preparing to become a tourist guide. Where does this desire come from?

First of all, by Russian standards, I am already a pensioner and I would like to finally do something for my soul! So I decided to take a course and pass the exam to join the League of Professional Tour Guides of the Highlands.

I want to take a pseudonym of Baba Marina for tourism, so you can call me that! This is another Scottish trick, because here I am still a young woman: the active age in our area lasts until 85-95. People of that age actively travel, fall in love, get married. Don’t believe me? Come, I’ll show you and introduce you to me!

Besides, I am an avid traveler and have been to more than 30 countries, what is called the “wild way”, but it takes time for a country to open up to you.

Scotland – in particular its highland part – is of the greatest interest to me, but I still lack organization. Preparing for the exam, I picked up a huge layer of materials on the history, culture, nature of this region. I traveled thousands of kilometers on various routes. When you think about doing some kind of tour, you just find a lot of incredibly interesting materials. Any lecturer confesses: when preparing for the next lecture, he or she learns a lot of new things.

And most importantly, you want to share your discoveries of this fabulous region with their compatriots. Of course big groups of Russian tourists on cruise liners – a rarity at the moment due to the same visas. So on top of that, I am planning tours with small groups of 4-5 people, when you can and should take a car or van and travel from the soul, to see life, as they say, from the inside.

– I suggest we do it right now! Baba Marina, show us what is your Scotland!

– With pleasure! Let’s go! Although public transportation is excellent, but if you travel – only by car!

Rental service is available in all small towns, but behind the wheel must be extremely careful – and not only because it’s unusual for the Russians on the left-hand side of the road. A doe, a wild rabbit, a fox, a squirrel, or even a forest cat can run across the road at any moment!


Young llamas on a farm on the road to Cawdor Castle.

In the Lowlands you can meet llamas on the road (so cute!). In the Highlands I know some places where llamas are bred on farms. Lots of horses, highland Scottish cows with thick long hair and long horns. Here they are called highland cattle. And of course, sheep of all breeds and colors are everywhere; some are white with black muzzles, and all of them have horns!


A Highland cattle red coat. Do you like it?

It’s very unusual and a pleasant surprise: one would think that such exotics can be found only in a zoo. But Highland – it’s a reality: a huge expanse of forest, and mountain rivers, in which the Atlantic salmon jumping on the rapids, trying to break through to spawn, and the black sky from the goose wedges, and wild swans in small ponds right by the roads. Here, even a small pond is at once a lake (Gaelic, loch).


Local Sanquhar Loch in winter.

Many country roads are fenced by low walls of cobblestones of different sizes, not cemented, but located in a special way (dry stone dyke). These walls are more than a century old, and it is not quite clear how they are preserved…


The ancient dry stone dyke masonry

The country has a curious approach to the monuments. Whereas in Russia they are restored and brought back to their original look, the Scots preserve the ruins and preserve them so that they don’t crumble further. You can read “castle so-and-so” and when you get there, it’s a ruin. For example, Skelbo Castle in Sutherland. When planning a tour, you need to keep that in mind! There are plenty of beautifully preserved castles here too, even within a 10-15 minute drive from our house there are as many as two!


One of the castles closest to us is the legendary Cawdor Castle, said to have inspired Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth.

The main reason why Russians like to come here so much is that there is a sense of fairy tale here. These castles… no, not the ruined ones I mentioned, but real castles where real dukes and duchesses still live today! That nightingale singing in the center of the Scottish capital Edinburgh, where I arrive on the way to Moscow or on other business. It just makes you go crazy – the feeling is unreal, as if you really got into a fairy tale.

– Is it difficult to get a visa?

– It may not be much harder to get a visa than to other European countries. However, you need a special visa for the UK. The Schengen visa does not work here. The embassy gives tourists a six-month multi-visa, so it’s also access to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Still, you should start with the north of Scotland! Come here not just for a couple of days, but for ten days at least, so that the Highlands open up to you at least slightly. And then you can really take away with you this wonderful feeling of a fairy tale, which then will warm you up for a long time!

We look forward to more articles and photos from the author – and questions from travelers about the Scottish mountain fairy tale! What do you want to know about the country and its people first of all?

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