Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Why I Love Scotland

10 Reasons Why I Love Scotland

Glen Coe in the Scottish Highlands
This article is a departure from my usual dose of Sharepoint related fare. As a traveler, I have seen enumerable places, but in my opinion none matches the exquisiteness of Scotland. The top 10 reasons why I love Scotland are its scenery, people, food, golf, culture, history, drinks, music, weather, and castles.

1) Scotland's scenery is breathtakingly natural and uncorrupted. Because Scotland receives much rain, the mountains and plains are overwhelmingly rich and green. I also saw many rainbows, and one astounding rainbow in Edinburgh perfectly encircled the sun. The gardens, especially those of Crathes Castle, are the most beautiful I have ever seen.

2) People in Scotland are often warmly welcoming and temperate, unless they've had too many beers :). Most everyone is amicable (aside from the grumpy chap at my local bakers), including tour guides, entertainers, and everyday citizens.

Indeed, when I was last in Edinburgh, I was leaning in the doorway of an office to keep from the rain, and I was offered a nice cup of tea from a chap who works for a local Edinburgh based company. Clocks are not taken so seriously here, as Scottish way of life is rather relaxed and free of hustle.

3) Scotland is home to some of the best food in the world. The Aberdeen Angus is top-quality beef, the nowhere is fish fresher. Scottish salmon is unbeatable, and Tobermory serves the best fish and chips in existence. The Falls of Feugh in Banchory serves a wonderful afternoon tea with scones, jam, and clotted cream.

4) As a golfer, I enjoyed visiting the home of golf. St. Andrews is a wonderful town, and I loved stepping onto its original golf course. The town has 36 miles of golf courses and many gift shops for golf merchandise.

Golfing at St Andrews

5) Scottish culture is colourful. Everwhere, even on streets, tartan can be seen. Once I saw a bagpiper in full regalia playing in a park in Inverary. Tourists were taking pictures with him and he was more than pleased to oblige. Scottish song and dance is also a stunning experience to behold.

6) History is behind much in Scotland. Inverary is a beautiful example, with traditional buildings and an overall old-time feel. The Urquhart Castle ruins, once one of Scotland's largest castles, is still a stunning site and full of history. Visiting Culloden is an incredible journey through history to the battle in 1746. The ruins of St. Andrew's Cathedral also exude history.

The Ruins of Urquhart Castle

7) From whiskey to ale, Scotland has some of the most delicious beverages in the world. Tennent's Velvet Scottish Ale is the greatest beer I have ever tasted. I also tried light lagers and Guinness, all of them fantastic. I also tasted free whiskey samples in several gift shops, and I can say that single-malt Scotch whiskey earns its fame.

8) Scottish music is amazing with bagpipes, drums, violins, flutes, etc. Banchory, Inverary, The Taste of Scotland Cabaret in Edinburgh, and many other places witness the stunning talents of bagpipers. Edinburgh's Military Tattoo is the greatest bagpipe performance I ever heard.

9) All year the weather is mild, neither too hot nor too cold. Cloud cover is frequent, so the sun is rarely intense. The rain and cloud cover actually enhance the scenery's natural beatuy, as it is free from darkening shadows or glares. Daylight is prolonged during summer, and both sunrise and sunset are captivating.

10) Castles are a must-see in Scotland. Duart Castle, one of Scotland's oldest castles, offers a beautiful view from its balconies and has a wonderful interior. Crathes Castle has the most incredible garden, and Glamis Castle was the Queen Mother's childhood home. Edinburgh castle is also a powerful specter.

No place in the world is quite like Scotland. I appreciate learning about diverse cultures and visiting different countries, but Scotland will always be my favorite. With its comforting food, personalities, beauty, and culture, I truly love Scotland the Brave.

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