Scotland: Highlands & Islands

Una breve guía sobre la cultura, la gastronomía y las costumbres de la región más septentrional del Reino Unido, formada por cientos de islas y dueña de unos paisajes espectaculares, incluidas auroras boreales.

The British Council

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Daniel Francis

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Scotland is a country in Great Britain, to the north of England. Scotland has nearly eight hundred islands, but people only live on some of them. Scotland is a beautiful country with many mountains, forests, beaches, rivers and lochs (the Scots word for ‘lakes’). In the north of Scotland it is light until 11.30pm in summer and in winter you can sometimes see the Northern Lights.

Scotland has its own parliament which makes laws for Scottish people. The Scottish parliament is in the capital city, Edinburgh. About five million people live in Scotland, which is 8.5 per cent of the UK population. Most people live in the south of the country in and around the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and Dundee.

Language

There are three languages in Scotland. Most people speak English and Scots. Scots is spoken by young and old people and sometimes people mix Scots and English. A minority (around one per cent of the Scottish population) speak Scottish Gaelic, an old Celtic language which is very different from English.

music

At public and cultural events you can often hear traditional music and see traditional dancing. Pipers play music on bagpipes, a Celtic wind instrument with pipes and a bag. Pipers and dancers usually wear kilts. A kilt is a traditional skirt with a tartan design which is worn by men and women.

Sport

The most popular sport in Scotland is football and famous teams include Celtic and Rangers, from Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city. Another popular game, golf, was invented in Scotland in the Middle Ages. You can go skiing or snowboarding in winter at Scotland’s five mountain ski resorts. In rural, Gaelic-speaking regions people play shinty, a traditional sport similar to hockey that is played in Scotland and Ireland. The famous Scottish Highland Games are a combination of culture and sport. Competitors do heavy sports like caber tossing, where they throw big tree trunks, and there is traditional Scottish music and dancing.

Food

When people think of Scottish food they often think of haggis, a type of sausage made from parts of a sheep. However, Scotland is also known for its variety of seafood such as lobster and oysters, fish such as salmon and trout, and beef.

SYMBOLS

Blue is a colour which is often associated with Scotland. The Scottish flag is blue with a white X-shaped cross called the St. Andrew’s cross. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and his day is celebrated on 30 November. On this day, everywhere you go in Scotland you will see tartan, kilts and bagpipes. Also, look out for the national animal, the unicorn, and the thistle, the purple flower of Scotland.   

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