Scotland is a land of
contrast, offering both bustling cities and remote countryside of spectacular
beauty. Scotland covers an area of some 30,000 square miles, with the border
between Scotland and England running upwards in a diagonal line from the
Solway Firth on the West Coast to just above Berwick-upon-Tweed on the
East Coast. The main cities of Scotland are Edinburgh and Glasgow. Edinburgh
has a magnificent castle and historic Old Town, and in August hosts the
famous Edinburgh Festival, the largest arts festival in the world. An hour's
travel to the West of Edinburgh is Glasgow, which became the powerhouse
of Scotland during the industrial revolution, and today offers an impressive
architectural heritage, as well as lively social and cultural scenes.
Running diagonally from Stirling in the Centre of Scotland to Aberdeen
on the North East Coast, is Strathmore, which means 'Great
Valley' in Gaelic.
dividing line from Lowland southern Scotland, to the Highlands in the
North, where the country rises into the Grampian mountain range which
includes Britain's highest peak, Ben Nevis at 1,343 metres (4406 feet).
The Highlands are largely formed from Old Red Sandstone, the oldest exposed
rock in the world, which has been worn down by millions of years of glaciation.
Whilst a popular destination for climbing, walking and cycling,
The Highlands of Scotland are never overrun with tourists. You can find
with purple heather, ancient castles, and a wealth of wildlife including
Red Deer, Grouse, Buzzards and Golden Eagles. Much of this romantic region
remains one of Europe's last great wildernesses. The Grampians are separated
from the Northern Highlands by the Great Glen, a chain of deep lochs,
including the moody waters of Loch Ness, running from Fort William on
the West Coast to the mouth of the Moray Firth on the East Coast.
On the East coast of Scotland can be found deep estuaries, the
prosperous oil town of Aberdeen, tiny fishing villages nestled in picturesque
bays, fertile farm land and golf courses, including
the famous course at St Andrews, golf's spiritual home. The jagged
North West Coast consists of the innumerable islands of the Inner and
Outer Hebrides, which include Skye, Mull and the Pilgramage Centre
of Iona. The Hebrides are the last bastion of Gaelic language and culture.
Off the North Coast of Scotland lie the islands of Orkney and Shetland,
which both have a rich Norse heritage. These are isolated, windswept
islands, with some of the best bird watching and archeological sites
For wildlife enthusiasts, Scotland is a veritable paradise. The bird
population includes Ospreys, White-Headed Sea Eagles, Puffins, Guillemots
and Great Skuas. Sea otters, seals, porpoises and dolphins can be spotted
off the Scottish Coast, whilst in the rivers and lochs can be found brown
trout and salmon.