Scotland (Gaelic: Alba) is a country that occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain. It is part of the United Kingdom, and shares a land border to the south with England. It has a population of 5,295,400 and an area of 78,800 km2.
Scotland shares a 60 mile (96 km) land border to the south with England, and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the south-west. Scottish waters border those of Norway, the Faeroes, Iceland and Ireland. Apart from the mainland, Scotland consists of over 790 islands, giving it a coastline of approximately 6,200 miles (9,900 km).
The Kingdom of Scotland was united in 843, by Kenneth MacAlpin, King of Scots, and is thus one of the oldest still-existing countries in the world. Scotland existed as an independent state until the Act of Union, 1 May, 1707.
The flag of Scotland - the Saltire or St Andrew's Cross - is thought to be the oldest national flag still in use. Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and Saint Andrew's Day, on 30 November, is Scotland's national day. There are currently attempts to create a national holiday on this day. Scottish people have played prominent parts in many important inventions and discoveries.
Knap of Howar on the island of Papa Westray in Orkney, Scotland, a Neolithic farmstead may be the oldest preserved stone house in northern Europe. Radiocarbon dating shows that it was occupied from 3700 BC to 2800 BC, earlier than the similar houses in the settlement at Skara Brae on the Orkney Mainland. The farmstead consists of two adjacent rounded rectangular thick-walled buildings with very low doorways facing the sea. The larger and older structure is linked by a low passageway to the other building, which has been interpreted as a workshop or a second house. They were constructed on an earlier midden, and were surrounded by midden material which has protected them. There are no windows; the structures were presumably lit by fire, with a hole in the roof to let out smoke. Though they now stand close to the shore, they would have originally lain inland. The shore shows how the local stone splits into thin slabs, giving a ready source of construction material.
The walls still stand to an eaves height of 1.6m, and the stone furniture is intact giving a vivid impression of life in the house. Fireplaces, partition screens, beds and storage shelves are almost intact, and post holes were found indicating the roof structure. Evidence from the middens shows that the inhabitants were keeping cattle, sheep and pigs, cultivating barley and wheat and gathering shellfish as well as fishing for species which have to be line caught using boats. Finds of finely-made and decorated Unstan ware pottery link the inhabitants to chambered cairn tombs nearby and to sites far afield including Balbridie and Eilean Domhnuill. The site is in the care of Historic Scotland.
Braemar i// is a village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, around 58 miles (93 km) west of Aberdeen in the Highlands. It is the closest significantly-sized settlement to the upper course of the River Dee sitting at an altitude of 339 metres (1,112 ft). Braemar is the third coldest low lying place in the UK, after the villages of Dalwhinnie and Leadhills, with an annual average temperature of 6.8 °C. It has twice entered the UK Weather Records with the lowest ever UK temperature of -27.2oC, on 11 February 1895, and 10 January 1982.
Photo credit: Paul Chapman
||... Cynicism, together with unrealistic expectation, are the two great bugbears of politics ...
- — Donald Dewar
||... There can be no peace in the world so long as a large proportion of the population lack the necessities of life and believe that a change of the political and economic system will make them available. World peace must be based on world plenty ...
- — John Boyd Orr
- ...that in 1972, Neil Armstrong was welcomed into the town of Langholm, and happily declared the town his home? And that he and Buzz Aldrin both had Scottish ancestry?
- ...that both of the parents of Mary MacKillop, Australia's first (and only) recognised saint, came from Scotland?
Wikipedia in other Scottish languages