The most Northerly part of the United Kingdom is bursting with green spaces, lush forests, towering mountains and vast lochs. Venture off to high mountains, scenic valleys and remote islands, explore the beautiful national parks in a fun and active way and witness Scotland's turbulent past in historic towns, impressive castles and abbeys. Enjoy the best of Scottish hospitality while relaxing in cozy B&Bs, charming country houses or luxurious castles and by sampling the culinary highlights including baked treats in all forms and world class Scotch whisky.
OUR SCOTLAND ADVENTURES
Located on the Northern end of the United Kingdom, Scotland occupies around one third of the territory of the island of Great Britain. It borders England in the South, the North Sea to the East and the Atlantic Ocean to the North and West. Most places are within 40 - 50 km from the seam even though at its greatest length, Scotland extends just over 440 km from Cape Wrath to the Mull of Galloway and measures around 250km from West to East between the Western Highlands and the Grampian Mountains.
The country counts just under 5,5 million residents with Glasgow and Edinburgh accounting for nearly a fifth of the whole population. On average, there are only 68 people per square kilometer (8 in the Highlands), making Scotland the most sparsely populated country in the UK.
REGIONS OF SCOTLAND
Set among a series of volcanic hills the Scottish capital is a wonderful composition of late medieval tenements, neo-classical terraces and grand modern building projects. Despite Edinburgh’s wild and somehow raw appeal reflecting in the contrast of the medieval architecture and the elegant Georgian houses of the new town and big chunks of wilderness around the center, the city remains one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Besides its grand architecture, Edinburgh excites with its vibrant arts scene with a cosmopolitan mix of galleries, museums parks and mouth-watering gastronomic traditions.Edinburgh is also the home to some of the world’s biggest and delightful arts festivals.
Scotland’s biggest city is a mix of noble character, handsome buildings and invincible spirit. Glasgow transformed from a small elegant merchant city to an industrial center in the course of industrialization in the 19th century, which has left its mark on the city’s structure, but Glasgow has always been able to show a strong sense of open-mindness, nobility and unbreakable self-esteem. The city comes with its share of fine architecture, gardens and parks, but it’s real appeal lies in its social and cultural scene with buzzing nightlife, fine restaurants, world-class shopping and a vibrant arts and theatre scene.
Also known as the border, Southeastern Scotland delights with castles, ruined abbeys, baronial mansions and evidence of past turbulent struggles laid out in 1,800 square miles of stunning countryside and woodlands. Much of the area is shaped by the river Tweed cutting its way from the small village of Tweedsmuir through rugged moorland, craggy terrain and little towns and along its way, you can enjoy stunning panoramic views from steep slopes and hillsides. The area also has a reputation for world-class mountain-biking and fishing.
The gentle countryside of the Southwest is characterized by scattered farms and villages laid-out between soaring granite mountains and green pastures. Set against the lonely and beautiful Galloway Hills, the area comes with plenty of wildlife, ancient stone circles and pretty villages.
The region around Stirling and set between the waterways of the Forth and Clyde is strongly associated with some of Scotland’s most famous historical personalities, including William Wallace, Rob Roy and Mary Queen of Scots. Along the rivers shores you will encounter magnificent castles, beautiful country parks and pretty landscapes while pristine beaches, majestic lakes and great pine forests await in the inland. The heartland region around Perthshire attracts with vibrant culture, stunning landscape made of woodlands, waterfalls, rivers and craggy hills as well as historic attractions and architecture.
The West Coast and Isles
The West coast of Scotland comes with mysterious mountains, moors and lochs, magnificent ancient castles and a magical seaboard of isolated villages and small ports. Here you will find incredibly dramatic landscapes,beautiful unspoiled islands and sandy beaches. From the rich coastal landscapes and the charming seaside villages of Argyll to the magical landscapes on the Isle of Skye, the dramatic Hebrides and the haunted glens and mountains in the Northern highlands, the wild and wonderful beauty of the region along the rugged coastline really is really the Scotland from the books.
North East Scotland
The coast and countryside set between the Firth of Tay and the sandy Moray Firth comes with pristine beaches, impressive castles and exciting cultural and maritime heritage. Rich croplands and farmlands, the wild adventure playground that is the Cairngorms National Park and a majestic wild coast dotted with coastal fishing villages have shaped the region for centuries and best reflect the determination and ambition in the Scottish character to impose their will on the land. Further, the malt whisky trail along the Spey river takes in eight world famous whisky distilleries in the stunning Speyside.
Shetland and Orkney Islands
Orkney in fact consists of 70 small islands and is separated from mainland Scotland by only 12km. The archipelago is full of historical artefacts and holds a variety of wildlife in a harmonious green and wide scenery. Here you will find white sandy beaches, some of Britain’s most impressive stone circles and a wealth of archaeological sites dating back as far as the Celts and Vikings.
A vast majority of the remote Shetland islands bordering to the Northeast are uninhabited and scattered over the swelling seas. The islands are dominated by animals and outnumber people by large numbers, besides large flocks of sheep you will encounter Shetland ponies, seals, porpoises, dolphins and millions of sea birds.
As a small economy, Scotland accounts for around 5% of Britain’s export revenue. The GDP per capita in Scotland is above the average of all regions outside London and Eastern England and the level of unemployment is fairly low, though there are major local and regional differences here.
Farming and agriculture are a significant contributor to Scotland’s rural economy and the sector employs around 70,000 people. While dairy farming and livestock is predominant in the Southwest, field crops are mainly found in the Eastern areas, where common crops include Rapeseed, oats, barley and raspberries.
About half of the UK's timber production and two thirds of its softwoods production are accounted for in Scotland.
Scottish ports handle about two thirds of the British fish and shellfish catch and the main species include cod, herring, haddock, sole, mackerels, nephrops, scallops or crabs. Fish farming of salmon and shellfish plays an integral part in the economy along the higher West coast and the islands.
The development of petroleum and natural gas resources in Scottish waters began in the 1970s, which hugely benefited the areas around Aberdeen and the Shetland Islands, creating tens of thousands of jobs. Renewable energy and its related industries have seen a boost since the early 21st century.
The diversification and modernization of the structure of Scottish industry has seen a reduction in the dependence on heavy industries and a focus on high-technology and consumer goods industries. Electronics and related industries have been a major contributor to economic growth, employment and export revenue.
Despite a strong taxation at home, Scottish whisky remains one of Scotland’s leading exports. Over the past decade, exports have increased by more than 85% and make up a quarter of the overall UK's food and drinks revenue. For most parts, it is still produced in the distilleries in the Highlands and the Northeast and its production is also closely linked to tourism in many places.
Financial services including banking, insurance and investment, have seen a significant growth in the early 21st century, when the sector grew by about 35%. Further, the software sector developed rapidly and is attracting companies from around the world.
Scotland is a well-developed tourist destination and tourism makes up around 5% of the Scottish GDP and is linked to around 200,000 jobs. Britain is by far the biggest source market for tourism in Scotland, followed by the US and countries in mainland Europe.
Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and the country is represented in Westminster by 59 members of parliament. The Head of Government is the British prime minister and the Queen is the Head of State. Areas like foreign affairs, defense, foreign trade, national civil service, economic and monetary policies, social security, employment, taxation, energy regulation and some aspects of transport fall into the competence of the British Parliament. Scotland is represented in the British cabinet by the secretary of state.
The Scottish government was formed in 1999 after a referendum and it consists of the Scottish ministers. The government is accountable to the parliament, which is dealing with matters that are not reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Scottish government is led by the Scottish prime minister. Further, Scotland is divided into 32 council areas for local government purposes.
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