Scotland Journals

Scotland: General Tips

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A travel journal to Scotland by MagdaDH_AlexH

Travel Photo by IgoUgo memberMore Photos
Quote: General rambles and tips for Scotland.

Eating Scotland

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Story/Tip

Photo of Isle of Skye, Scotland
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Scotland isn't exactly known for its tradition of sophisticated cuisine, but there's been more and more high-quality restaurants opening in the country all the time, and although day-to-day Scottish food tends towards stodge and fat, there are some products and dishes that you just have to try. Like many cultures from wet and cold places, Scots are good at grain products, and cakes and pastries are something of a national weakness. Try the Dundee Cake -- a ground-almond enriched fruit-cake covered with whole almonds, or the Black Bun, a dark almost flour-less Christmas concoction covered in plain pastry traditionally associated with Hogmany (New Year). Savoury pastries of note...Read More
Travel Photo by IgoUgo member
Quote:
Although all of the UK enjoys a relatively mild climate considering its actual latitude, the Scottish weather, especially in the Highlands, and especially in the west, gets a fairly deserved bad press.This is less to do with the fact that the weather is incredibly harsh, as the temperatures rarely drop into below zero and snow isn't that common on the sea level, and more with the amount of rain, the weather's fickle changeability and the fierce gales that combine with the damp to sometimes create a literally lethal wind chill factor. To keep it in perspective, though, unless unlucky or careless on a mountain side or a deserted moor, you are extremely unlikely to die of exposure...Read More

Don't get eaten

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Various repellents Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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If the Scottish weather, apart from being generally wetter (especially on the west coast) than many other places in the UK, tends to be at least a little bit better than its pretty universally held image, and the wildlife in Scotland is mostly as benign as everywhere else in the UK, there is one creature that keeps visitors away from large swathes of the best Scottish landscape for half of the year.This creature is a small insect that flies slowly and can be easily squashed with two fingers: the Highland Midge. Midges are a bane of the outdoors on the west coast of Scotland (although they appear in other areas as well, but in vastly smaller quantities) and anybody who is consid...Read More

Single Track Roads

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Bealach na Ba Photo, Scottish Highlands, Scotland
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A phenomenon that, although appearing occasionally in the most remote parts or on the least significant roads in England and Wales, a single track road with passing places is very much a Scottish thing. In the Highlands, many roads – even fairly major roads, and in the most remote North, even the main trunk A-Roads – are single track. A single track road is a road that has only enough room for one vehicle. Usually a vehicle means a lorry, which means that in SOME places two smallish cars may be able to pass slowly, but in the vast majority of cases it's the passing places that must be used for that purpose. Passing places are wider areas of the road sort of bu...Read More

Social mine-fields

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As everywhere else in the UK, Scotland is and old place with an long-standing culture full of subtle (as well as not so subtle) complications and fault lines. Certain sensitivities are common to all parts of the UK, but others are quite specific to Scotland, or even its particular parts or regions. I am not attempting to write an anthropological guide here, just point out certain aspects of the culture that a traveller or a visitor might want to be aware of, either to avoid an unpleasant moment or just to enhance the understanding of the place. Nationality. Never, ever call a Scott ''English'' and never refer to Scotland as ''England''. Although it is understood tha...Read More