Scotland is a country that multiplies contradictory images, constantly confusing tourists. Braveheart’s watchers think of it as a proud and fierce country where men fight for their freedom on the battlefield. But, on the other hand, if you’ve watched the Brave movie, Scotland is a place of powerful myths and magic where a woman is as brave as any man. Trainspotting, on the other hand, reveals a bleak story born from depression and drugs in the Scottish cities. Literature enthusiasts turn to Robert Burns for guidance and discover a romantic Scotland, food of its dialect, traditions, and landscapes instead. Which is the real Scotland? The answer is all of them.
Food like nowhere else
First of all, as the National Bard wrote, Scotland has a strong tradition of culture. Many recommend the Scottish Food and Drink Trails to explore in-depth the complex flavours of the country. Do not miss the great chieftain o’ the puddin-race, in Burns’s words, haggis. The traditional food is made from chopped liver, heart and lungs of a sheep, mixed with suet, herbs, oatmeal, seasoning and spices. It is served inside a natural casing, which is typically boiled or baked.
If you dream of untamed landscapes, Scotland is the place to see with a plethora of natural sceneries. From Loch Lomond to Shetland, Scotland offers a canvas of natural colours, vegetation, and undisturbed wildlife. In the middle of this wonderland, it’s easy to understand how Scottish author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle came to believe in fairies.
A country of myths
Like all Celtic regions, Scotland has a deep history of myths and legends that never cease to fascinate. If you love a fantasy story, let the Scottish myths guide your way. The deep basalt columns cave in the island of Staffa is called Fingal’s Cave. Some tales refer to the Irish giant Finn McCool, who built a pathway between the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland and Scotland to cross the ocean without getting wet. There are myths all around Scotland about Robert the Bruce, the Loch Ness Monster, Kelpies, vampires in Glasgow, and even a dragon in Strathmartine.
Harry Potter fans, rejoice
If you fell in love with reading thanks to Harry Potter, you probably know that J.K. Rowling is Scottish. What you may not realise, though, is that some iconic scenes from the movies were filmed in Scotland. The Glenfinnan Viaduct is the railway bridge where you can see the Hogwarts Express. You can even book a ticket on the train called the Jacobite Steam train. They even have themed carriages.
The ghosts of Scotland
If you prefer ghosts over wizards, be assured that Scottish haunted spots have all you need for a spooky visit. Mary King’s Close, Scotland’s spookiest street in Edinburgh, was fully bricked up during a plague outbreak before being re-opened much later. Visitors claim they can still hear the cries of the ghosts. Fyvie Castle near Aberdeen is said to be haunted by the ghost of a trumpeter, who plays his instrument when death is near. Culloden Moor, the scene of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s battle, still shows visions of the bloodied battle at the many memorial cairns for the fallen men.
Whether you are a foodie, a romantic, a book-lover, or a nature enthusiast, there is plenty in Scotland to amaze, fascinate and entertain. Scotland is a country with a deep and rich culture that takes the mind on a journey.