About Scotland the Country


Scotland is very much a country in it own right. The Scottish Wars on Independence were in the 13th and 14th centuries. There are only two signatures on the United Kingdom, those of Scotland and England, forming the Union of the nations in 1707. The Scots are fiercely proud of their nation, with a very strong identity.

Scotland the country is 60% the size of England, its largest neighbour while only having one tenth of England's population at 5 million people.

Scotland is very far north, with some parts of the country closer to the arctic circle than to London in the south of the UK. Most people are surprised when they learn that Scotland's two major cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, are on the same latitude as Moscow. At the top of Scotland you will find the Orkney and Shetland Islands which are on the same latitude as Leningrad.

The very north of the country, Scotland is closer to the arctic circle than to London!! The climate in Scotland is not nearly so severe as either Moscow or Leningrad, because of the influence of the sea and the Gulf Stream current which runs up the west coast of Scotland warming the country throughout the year.

Scotland's main regions.

The country is divided in to a number of distinct areas:-

  1. Looking for the famous highland scenery in Scotland?  The Highlands of Scotland are located in an area that is north and west from Glasgow and Edinburgh, by drawing a line from the southern tip of Loch Lomond to Pitlochry to Braemar the area west of that line can be loosely called the Highlands. To the east of this line is what is known as the East Coast, which is generally flatter and dryer and colder than the western side of Scotland.
  2. The majority of Scotland's Islands lie off Scotland's west coast, and of course two of Scotland's largest islands, Orkney and Shetland at the very north of Scotland which are a distinct part of the country. There are frequent ferry sailings to the islands from Oban and Malaig, north of Fort William. Life on the islands is at a much slower pace and has been altered little by modern life. Generally the more remote the island the less the impact of modern ways. 
  3. The east coast of Scotland, is another distinct part of the country that makes up Scotland. The land is generally flat and agricultural. This is where you will find the cereal crops being grown along with a variety of other produce such as vegetables, oil seed rape etc.
  4. The Central Belt, is generally low lying flat area of the country, it is the area from Glasgow to Edinburgh, it is here the bulk of Scotland's population live and work.
  5. The Borders area is another distinct part of the country, an area of Scotland to the south of the line from Glasgow to Edinburgh. Named The Borders as it borders with England, this area has much to offer with many Abbey's and fortifications, with a distinct character of their own, because of the constant battle for ownership of these places between Scotland and England.


Scotland's weather is much talked about by those who do not live here. It is seen as wet and often cloud covered, which it can be, but we certainly know when we get a lovely sunny day in Scotland, as no where else in the world has sunny days comparable to those here in Scotland. After all the weather is the major factor that makes Scotland the country so beautiful.

Many Scots see the Scottish weather as being down to the 'attitude of the mind', it really is what you make it. It is a matter of wearing the right clothing and going out and enjoying the fabulous country. The majority of the Scots take the attitude that we are water proof, we do not corrode, after all we have a fantastic country in Scotland, it is influenced hugely by our coastal climate.

The Scottish weather is very unpredictable. There are no distinct seasonal weather patterns (such as Monsoon, wet & dry seasons etc.) as occur in some parts of the world. So it is very much up to luck, how the weather is when you get here. Generally the west coast of the country is wetter, with twice the rain fall of the east coast, the rain and the winds come across the Atlantic and fall on Scotland's west coast. But the west coast of Scotland has spectacular scenery.

Scotland does have plenty of good weather, contrary to most people's beliefs, but come ready for rain and showers even during the summer months. The light in Scotland is very special; it is for ever changing producing a kaleidoscope of changing colours over the countryside, through out the day and the seasons, providing a wonderful opportunity for photographers.

 The length of the days in Scotland.

Mid winter and the shortest day light hours is the 22 December, twilight starts at approx. 8.30 am, sunrise at 9.30am. Sunset is at 3.30pm and the end of twilight at 4.15pm. This is one of the reasons New Year is so important for the Scots, in the past they were afraid that the light and warmth of the sun might not come back again to warm up the country ready for the summer crops they depended so much on for their survival.

Around Easter time, April 1st, twilight begins at about 4.50am with sunrise at 5.30am. Sunset is at 6.40pm and the end of twilight is at 7.20pm.

Mid Summer. The longest day is 22 June, twilight starts at 2am with sun rise at 3.10am. The sun sets at 9pm and twilight ends at 10.05pm. This gives you time to see and do things and explore the countryside in Scotland, after you have had your evening meal. Although many of the paying attractions such as Visitor centres will close before evening meal time. (We have listed as many opening times as possible to help you).

Autumn time. 1st October, twilight begins at about 5.25am with sunrise at 6.00am. Sunset is at 5.30pm and the end of twilight is at 6.15pm. Autumn is a special season in Scotland as the country is full of colour with the autumn leaves changing colour before falling off as the year turns to winter.

Twilight is the light in the Sky between full night and sunrise or sunset produced by the diffusion of the sunlight through the atmosphere. The light levels are often sufficiently good to allow activities outside with out the need for torches or lights.

Scotland the country is very special; choose the time of year for your visit as each season has its own peculiar magic.

In this section

website developed by Lachlann Rattray

This website is operated by Explore Scotland Ltd. 2017