Scotland is north of the border from England with the North Sea on the east coast and on the west coast is the Atlantic Ocean. This country is made up of the mainland and has many groups of spectacular islands mainly the Orkneys, the Shetlands and the Hebrides. The Scottish people decided to have a devolved Parliament in 1997 previously under British rule. However the British Parliament is still responsible for international relations and the defence of Scotland.
Scotland has distinctive features with the Highland mountains, low lying in the Central Belt and fairly hilly in the Southern Uplands. Three of the largest cities are Edinburgh which is the capital and also Stirling and Glasgow. The Scots have a culture both civic and ethnic quite distinct from the rest of the British Isles.
The traditional Highland Kilt is well known worldwide as part of the national costume in the tartans of various clans. Highlanders around the 1700s would wear a piece of woollen material around their body with a belt and pin and this also became a blanket during the campaign years. The origin of this style of dress has been attributed to the tunic of the Romans or Celts. For those of Scottish descent tracing the family tartan is a symbol of your heritage and a national identity worldwide.
Scotch whisky needs no introduction. The blended type is most consumed, possibly influenced by cost, but the Malt variety is desired by those who enjoy a wee dram of the amber nectar which has been maturing from 8 to 14 years in oak barrels. Each single malt acquires its flavour from the source of water, local peat and even the weather can play its part towards the consistent production of this popular drink.
The Highlands and the Islands such as the Isle of Skye plus the Orkneys and Shetlands too are always popular with visitors. The clean air and natural beauty of Scotland is endless. With mountains to climb and lochs to fish and returning to nature is part of life. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland and in the UK. Should you visit Loch Ness you may see 'the monster' reputed to be in the depths of the water. Loch Lomond is a must with visitors and song writers too.
Golf is the sport associated with Scotland with many famous courses such as St. Andrews, Gleneagles and Royal Troon. If these are fully booked there are plenty more less famous courses to enjoy with friends.
There are Stone circles, Standing stones, Bronze and Iron Age sites not to mention castles and battlegrounds. The Highland Games and Edinburgh Tattoo against the backdrop of the Castle and the Fringe Festival ensure there is always great entertainment for those who visit Scotland. The English Royal Family spend their summer holidays at Balmoral Castle where they can enjoy a relaxing time having family barbeques and horse riding in the surrounding countryside and shopping in the local village store.
1,500 companies are investing in Scotland using the skilled workforce and business locations. Also the major cities have regeneration plans to improve housing and amenities for local people. The three major offshore oilfields are also being redeveloped with the benefit of new technology to access the remaining oil using horizontal drilling from the existing platforms.