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Portal:Scotland

Related subjects Countries; Geography of Great Britain; Portals


THE SCOTLAND PORTAL

Flag of Scotland
Arms of Scotland
Location on the world map

Scotland ( Gaelic: Alba) is a country that occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain. It is part of the United Kingdom, and shares a land border to the south with England. It has a population of 5,117,000 and an area of 78,800 km².

Scotland shares a 60 mile (96 km) land border to the south with England, and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the south-west. Scottish waters border those of Norway, the Faeroes, Iceland and Ireland. Apart from the mainland, Scotland consists of over 790 islands, giving it a coastline of approximately 6200 miles (9,900 km).

The Kingdom of Scotland was united in 843, by Kenneth MacAlpin, King of Scots, and is thus one of the oldest still-existing countries in the world. Scotland existed as an independent state until the Act of Union, 1 May 1707.

The flag of Scotland - the Saltire or St Andrew's Cross - is thought to be the oldest national flag still in use. Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and Saint Andrew's Day, on 30 November, is Scotland's national day. There are currently attempts to create a national holiday on this day. Scottish people have played prominent parts in many important inventions and discoveries.

Selected article

Harris Tweed fabric, mid-20th century

Harris Tweed (Clò Mór or Clò na Hearadh in Gaelic), is a luxury cloth that has been handwoven by the islanders on the Isles of Harris, Lewis, Uist and Barra in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, using local wool.

Traditional Harris Tweed was characterized by subtle flecks of colour achieved through the use of vegetable dyes, including the lichen dyes called "crottle" ( Parmelia saxatilis and Parmelia omphalodes which give deep red- or purple-brown and rusty orange respectively). These lichens are the origin of the distinctive scent of older Harris Tweed.

The original name of the cloth was tweel, the Scots for twill, the cloth being woven in a twilled rather than a plain pattern. A traditional story has the current name coming about almost by chance. About 1830, a London merchant received a letter from a Hawick firm about some tweels. The London merchant misinterpreted the handwriting understanding it to be a trade-name taken from the name of the river Tweed which flows through the Scottish Borders textile areas, subsequently the goods were advertised as Tweed, the name has remained so ever since.

With the initiation of the industrial revolution the Scottish mainland turned to mechanisation, but the Outer Hebrides retained their traditional processes of manufacturing cloth. Until the middle of the 19th century the cloth was only produced for personal use within the local market. It was not until between 1903 and 1906 that the tweed-making industry in Lewis significantly expanded. Production increased until the peak figure of 7.6 million yards was reached in 1966.

Selected picture

The Torridons from the Shieldaig Peninsula

The Torridon Hills surround Torridon village in the Northwest Highlands of Scotland. The name is usually applied to the mountains to the north of Glen Torridon. These are all made of a type of sandstone, known as Torridonian sandstone (see Geology of the United Kingdom), which over time has become eroded to produce the unique characteristics of the Torridon hills.

Photo credit:

Selected quotes

... When Scotland forgets Burns, then history will forget Scotland. ...
John Stuart Blackie
... Women do not find it difficult nowadays to behave like men, but they often find it extremely difficult to behave like gentlemen. ...
Compton Mackenzie

Did You Know?

Longship

  • ... that when the King of Scotland told King Magnus of Norway he could have any land he could circumnavigate, Magnus had a longship (reconstruction pictured) dragged across an isthmus to East Loch Tarbert, Argyll and claimed Kintyre?
  • ... that HMS Vidal, the ship sent to annexe Rockall, was named after Alexander Vidal, the first man to properly survey the islet?
  • ...that the so-called "father of Argentine football" was a Glaswegian schoolteacher, Alexander Watson Hutton, who first taught football at St Andrew's School in Buenos Aires in the early 1880s?
  • ...that survivors of the Loch Sloy disaster who made it ashore to Kangaroo Island, Australia were eventually found with the remains of two dead penguins tied around their neck?
  • ... that in 1906, Scottish architect Sir Robert Lorimer built the Hill of Tarvit mansion house on an Iron Age site?
  • ...that Ebenezer Place, Wick is recognised as being the world's shortest street in the Guinness Book of Records at 2.06 m (6.8 ft)?
  • ...that Libby Clegg is a Scottish competitor at the 2008 Summer Paralympics, and won a silver medal?
  • ... that the earliest written record of Scotland during the Roman Empire is the submission of the King of Orkney to the Emperor Claudius (pictured) at Colchester in the year 43?
  • ...that the History of rugby union in Scotland includes the first international, the invention of rugby sevens and the earliest national league structure?




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