> Hillwalk Tours Blog > Hiking in Scotland > 10 interesting facts about Scotland
POSTED BY August 9, 2021

In these 10 interesting facts about Scotland you will learn lots of new information about Scotland: that the Loch Ness monster has a brother, why linguists disagree about the Scottish language, and how many Scottish islands there are exactly. Do you have any other interesting facts about Scotland? Share them with us!

1. Shortest flight in the world

The world’s shortest commercial flight is from Westray to Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands. The journey takes less than a minute and covers a distance of less than 2 miles – roughly equal to the length of the runway at Edinburgh Airport.

2. Morag, Nessie’s little brother

Everyone knows Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. Nessie’s lesser known brother is Morag, the monster that is said to live in Loch Morar. Loch Morar is the deepest lake in Scotland with a maximum depth of over 300 meters.

Interesting in looking for Nessie? On our Great Glen Way tours, you walk the full length of Loch Ness.

Views of Loch Ness from the Great Glen Way

3. The national animal is a unicorn

The national animal of Scotland is a unicorn. When King Robert appointed the unicorn as Scotland’s national animal in the fourteenth century, most people worldwide still believed in the existence of unicorns.

4. Three official languages

What do you know about the Scottish language? Scotland has three official languages: English, Scottish and Scottish Gaelic. In Scotland, of the more than 5 million inhabitants of Scotland, about 1.5 million people speak Scottish. Although Scottish is an official language in Scotland, the language is not recognized by the British government. Linguists still disagree on whether Scottish is a language or a dialect.

West Highland Way Hiking Hillwalk Tours Ltd.
Hiking The West Highland Way

5. The first fire brigade

Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have its own fire brigade. In 1824, the brigade was founded by James Braidwood.

6. Golf is Scottish; bagpipes not

Inventions that originated in Scotland include the raincoat, the telephone, golf and the television. A number of typically Scottish items have their origins in other parts of the world.

The bagpipes existed in the Middle East 3,000 years ago, and the tartan probably emigrated to Scotland from Central Europe.

Scotland’s best coastal trail, the Fife Coastal Path, brings you right to St. Andrews, the home of golf

Hiking the Fife Coastal Path, Hillwalk Tours
Hiking the Fife Coastal Path

7. More than 790 Scottish islands

There are more than 790 Scottish islands spread over different island groups. Most of the islands are uninhabited.

8. The oldest trees in Europe are in Scotland

One of the oldest trees in Europe is in Scotland. Fortingall’s venom is between 2,000 and 3,000 years old, making it one of the world’s oldest organisms.

Ever heard of Scotland’s Robin Hood, Rob Roy MacGregor? Find out more on the Rob Roy Way!

Autumn Hiking on the Rob Roy Way
Autumn Hiking on the Rob Roy Way

9. Glasgow bigger than Edinburgh

Edinburgh may be the country’s capital, but Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland.

10. Queen Victoria smoked cigarettes against the Scottish gadflies

Queen Victoria is said to have smoked cigarettes on a visit to Scotland to guard against the vicious gadflies, midges, which are notorious in the Scottish Highlands.

Find out how to avoid the midgets on Scotland’s most famous hike, the West Highland Way!

West Highland Way Hillwalk Tours Ltd.
Hiking Scotland – West Highland Way

We hope that you enjoyed this guide to 10 interesting facts about Scotland. If you are interested in a Scotland hiking tour, just get in touch.