Fascinating Facts About Scotland
33% of US Tourists visiting Scotland believe that the Haggis is an actual animal, and a quarter thought they could catch one.
The Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter movies is a real train in Scotland named the Jacobite steam train.
Actress Tilda Swinton comes from one of the oldest family lineages in Scotland, and she can trace her family history back to the 9th century.
The prototype of the chainsaw we are familiar with today in the timber industry was pioneered in the late 18th century by two Scottish doctors named John Aitken and James Jeffray as a surgical tool to aid in the process of difficult childbirth and and excision of diseased bone.
The town of Larkhall, Scotland, hates the color green so strongly that their sandwich chain Subway is painted in black instead.
The Scottish national animal is unicorn because it was believed to be the natural enemy of the lion, the English national animal.
Scotland once tried to become a colonial power. The colony failed so spectacularly that it became a large factor in Scotland becoming part of the United Kingdom.
In 1986, at the height of apartheid, Glasgow, Scotland changed the name of the square where the South African consulate-general was based to Nelson Mandela Place, forcing the South African attaché to have to write this address if they wanted to receive mail.
At Edinburgh Zoo there's a Penguin called Sir Nils Olav, who's a Brigadier and has a Knighthood.
In 2007, the Glasgow City Council included Scrooge McDuck’s named on a list of famous Glaswegians.
In 2003, a da Vinci painting "Madonna of the Yarnwinder" was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle by two thieves posing as tourists who claimed to be undercover police. It was found 4 years later in a lawyer’s office in Glasgow.
A popular dish in Scotland is a frozen pizza that is folded in half, dipped in batter and deep fried. It is usually served with salt and vinegar.
Gerard Butler is a trainee lawyer and was President of the Law Society at Glasgow University.
A man named John Smeaton was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal for kicking a would-be suicide bomber on the testicles during the 2007 terrorist attack on Glasgow Airport.
Scots didn't wear kilts until three centuries after the period depicted by the film "Braveheart."
The scars on the face of The Joker (The Dark Knight) is a wound called a Glasgow smile. It originated in Glasgow, Scotland but became popular with English street gangs. Actor Tommy Flanagan was given one when he was attacked outside a bar in Scotland.
There is an island in the Scottish Hebrides that is owned entirely by its people. With a population of less than 100, the Isle of Eigg has been owned by its community since being bought in 1997, after decades of issues with absentee landlords, and generates 100% of its electricity using renewable energy.
The longest echo ever recorded in a man-made structure was set in an underground fuel depot (Inchindown tunnels near Invergordon), which was constructed in Scotland before World War 2. When a blank was fired from a pistol, the echo lasted for 112 seconds.
In 2006, Bill Murray showed up at a student house party in St. Andrews, Scotland. He drank their Vodka out of a coffee cup and washed their dishes in a cramped kitchen.
In 2016, an intricate, 300-year-old map of the world was discovered wedged into a chimney in Aberdeen, Scotland, to stop a draft. It was then sent to the National Library in Scotland for painstaking restoration.
A woman named Mary Johnston in Scotland has inexplicably become the 87th best tourist attraction in the city on TripAdvisor after somehow signing herself up as a destination for visitors rather than a user on the site.
Actress Rose Leslie (Ygritte in Game of Thrones) grew up in Lickleyhead Castle, her family's 15th century ancestral seat in Aberdeen, Scotland. She is a descendant of Charles II.
In 2009, a park ranger named David Booth in Stirling, Scotland, packed up his brand-new metal detector, drove to a field, walked 7 yards (six meters) from his parked car, and scored big. His first sweep yielded 4 gold neck bands, from the first century B.C.—the most important hoard of Iron Age gold found in Scotland to date.
In the 18th century village of Badbea in Scotland (now abandoned), when the women worked, their livestock, and even their children, were tethered to rocks or posts to prevent them from being blown over the cliffs or into the sea by the fierce winds.
In 1850, a severe storm in Scotland eroded a hillock, thus revealing "Skara Brae", a well preserved Neolithic settlement.
When the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philips) once warned the Princess (Diana) of Wales: “If you don’t behave, my girl, we’ll take your title away.” She is said to have replied: “My title is a lot older than yours, Philip.”
When Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing faced a naked schizophrenic woman rocking silently to and fro in a padded cell, he took off his own clothes and sat next to her, rocking to the same rhythm until she spoke for the first time in months.
Edinburgh Castle has a cemetery devoted entirely to the dogs of the soldiers who were garrisoned there, and has been used since the 1840's.
The infamous Red Wedding, from George R.R. Martin’s “A Storm of Swords”, was inspired by real-life events which took place at Edinburgh Castle in 15th century Scotland. The event is now known as “The Black Dinner.”
A Scottish man named Robert Barclay Allardice, walked 1000 miles in 1000 hours to win 1000 guineas. He is considered the father of the 19th century sport of pedestrianism, a precursor to racewalking.
Using fountain pens in a school in Edinburgh improved academic performance and self esteem.
Scottish Town Arnprior painted wiggly lines on a straight road to confuse and slow down fast drivers.
The popular Indian style dish Chicken Tikka Masala was invented in Glasgow, Scotland.
There is a bridge named Overtoun Bridge in Scotland where dogs are known to commit suicide. In the past 50 years, over 50 dogs have visited the bridge and leapt to their death. The reason behind this behavior remains a mystery.
The Scots had a tradition of deep frying chicken in fat. Scottish immigrants to America continued the frying chicken tradition and were responsible for its introduction to the African slaves.
In 1437 at the Blackfriars, Perth, the playing of tennis indirectly led to the death of King James I of Scotland, when the drain outlet, through which he hoped to escape assassins, had been blocked to prevent the loss of tennis balls. James was trapped with the assassins and killed.
The first Scottish fold cat was found at a farm in in Perthshire, Scotland, in 1961. They now are banned by the UK’s pedigree cat registry because a genetic mutation that make their ears folded and their faces so cute also causes distortion of their limb bone shapes and severe painful arthritis.
Scottish economist Adam Smith predicted in his book the Wealth of Nations (1776) that, if given representation in Parliament, in a century the Thirteen Colonies would control the British Empire. By 1913, the USA's economy surpassed the entire British Empire.
If you donate $500 or more to a Scottish heritage foundation, Sir Sean Connery will send you a signed personal letter of thanks.
A Scottish funk musician named Jesse Rae dresses as a Scottish Centurion. His career ended largely due to his mistrust of the English.
King Edward I built the largest trebuchet ever in order to lay siege to a Scottish Castle. The sight of the giant trebuchet so intimidated the Scots that they tried to surrender, but Edward sent them back just so he could use his new weapon to launch 300 lb projectiles at the castle.
The "Highland Charge" was a 17th century Scottish tactic of sprinting into musket lines and hacking at the enemy with broadswords as they struggled to fix their bayonets.
When a Scottish sailor named Alexander Selkirk was left stranded on a deserted island, he survived for over 4 years, partly by using feral cats to protect him from ravenous rats that attacked during the night.
The "heath pea" is an abundant Scottish plant that, when eaten, effectively stops the sensations of both hunger and thirst for several days.
A Scottish folk singer named Shelagh McDonald abruptly and mysteriously vanished in 1972. After an article about her disappearance was published in 2005, Shelagh turned up at the “Scottish Daily Mail” office and explained that a disastrous LSD trip had ruined her voice and her mental health. She had been living nomadic life off the grid, in a tent.
A pioneering Scottish surgeon named Robert Liston, known as “the fastest knife in the West End”, once amputated a leg in two-and-a-half minutes, but in his enthusiasm took the patient's testicles off as well.
In 1836, a group of young boys discovered a group of 17 miniature coffins buried in a cave outside Edinburgh, Scotland. The coffins contain tiny dolls, each individually dressed, and the coffins all differ in their decoration. No one knows who buried them, when, or why.
The city of Glasgow spends an estimated £10,000 each year for removing traffic cones from the head of the statue of the Duke of Wellington. This is because every time it is removed, people replace it.
According to legend, Scottish aristocrat Thomas Urquhart died in 1660 from laughing too much, upon hearing that Charles II had taken the throne.
In 2011, a restaurant named Kismot Restaurant in Edinburgh held a charity hot curry eating contest that resulted in the first 10 contestants writhing in agony, panting, and vomiting, with one contestant being hospitalized twice. The 2nd group of contestants declined to participate.