Scotland a Unique Vacation Alternative

Posted on May 26, 2011 by

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When people go on vacations, they usually visit somewhere tropical, with nicer weather than any place close to home. Some go east rather than south; some go west, but usually never north. There are many places in the world that aren’t considered vacation hotspots. How about somewhere that is still an island but doesn’t have palm trees or white beaches? Why not green fields with a side of incessant rain?

The Highlands, Lowlands, and Islands of Scotland are generally mountainous with some of the highest elevations of the whole British Isles. Scotland has over 790 islands, which are divided into four main groups: Shetland, Orkney, Inner Hebrides, and Outer Hebrides. In addition, numerous freshwater bodies including Loch Lomond and Loch Ness are located in Scotland.

The climate is temperate and oceanic, and weather tends to be very changeable. The country is warmed by the Atlantic and has mild winters with cool, wet summers.

The wildlife is typical for northwest Europe, and most of the larger mammals were hunted to extinction, including the Lynx, Brown Bear, Wolf, Elk, and Walrus. The Golden Eagle is a national icon, and there are important populations of seals and a significant variety of seabirds.

The economy is similar to that of other western countries, open and mixed. The country has been dominated by heavy industry such as shipbuilding in Glasgow, coal mining, and steel industries.

The Scottish education system has always differed from the rest of the UK with an emphasis on studying abroad. Since Sparta in classical Greece, Scotland was one of the first countries to implement a system of public education.

Sixty-seven percent of the Scottish population is Christian, 2% is other, and 28% practices no religion at all. Since 1689, Scotland has had a Presbyterian system, which refers to many Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism.

Scottish music is a significant component of the nation’s culture. A famous tradition is the Great Highland Bagpipe, along with the clàrsach (harp), fiddle, and accordion. Their national literature includes texts written in English, Scottish Gaelic, Scottish, French, and Latin.

The government is a Devolved Government within a Constitutional monarchy. The monarch is Elizabeth II, the First Minister (Head of Scottish Government) Alex Salmond, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron. Based on the 2010 census, the population is 5,222,100.

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