No need to say that the rest of the world is skeptical about traditional Scottish kilts that men are wearing so proudly. Also, the traditional haggis makes foreigners deny their hunger and take a glass of whiskey instead of a proper dinner. But if you think that these a few things are the only weird customs you can experience in Scotland, then you are deeply wrong! Scotland is an old country with its unique heritage. There is a belief that strong wind and harsh weather conditions are making people a little bit mad. That is not a proven fact, but the possibility that you can see and even try these unique customs and traditions while visiting Scotland is ensured!
Haggis is the national dish of Scotland and there are plenty of myths and white lies told about this savory pudding. Sasanachs are often told that to catch a haggis you must go hunting in the Highlands. Of course, this is meant as a joke as a haggis is not an animal but simply a Scottish dish. Haggis is actually a tasty savory pudding that contains different offal from a sheep. In particular the liver, lungs and heart are all minced then mixed with oatmeal and spices to form a delicious boiled pudding. This dish is unique to Scotland and is the most famous dish served to celebrate Burns Night.
There are many fun facts associated with this very Scottish delicacy, and here are the best.
Many people are scared to try haggis as the ingredients sound a little rich for a lot of palettes. Americans in particular do not enjoy eating many offal parts, and the sound of kidneys and lungs is enough to make them turn their noses up at haggis. In 1984, a revelation happened in the world of haggis and the first vegetarian haggis was produced. Surprisingly it was very well received as the other non-meat ingredients of the dish were perfect for making a really good vegetarian meal.
The United States let their feelings be known about haggis when they banned the importation of the pudding in 1971. The ingredients seemed to contravene certain health and safety laws of America at the time. Although it is believed many Scottish expats continue to smuggle in their national dish when returning from visits back home. Interestingly, a survey in 2003 conducted on American visitors to Scotland revealed that over thirty percent thought that haggis was an actual animal and that the haggis was hunted down in the highlands then boiled up to make a pudding.
London’s Favorite Pudding
The two countries that most enjoy eating haggis are of course Scotland and England. And surprisingly it is London where this traditional dish of Scotland is the most popular. Many pubs and bistros in England’s capital love serving haggis due to its unique taste and easy preparation.
Haggis Ice Cream
If you are a little sensitive to try the real thing, then you can still get the Haggis sensation from other foods. In Scotland some clever entrepreneurs have produced haggis ice cream, and even haggis flavored crisps in an effort to corner the tourist trade.
A Very Scottish Secret
Unbelievably the national dish of Scotland may not have been invented by the Scots. There is evidence that haggis was first invented by the Romans, and the Scots pinched the recipe a few hundred years ago. The ancient Greeks also had a dish with very similar ingredients long before the cooks of Scotland boiled their first puddings. There is no doubt that you either love or hate haggis. This unique Scottish dish has as many fans as dissenters and there is no other food that splits opinion so much. If you really want a haggis experience, then try it with neeps & tatties, and of course a glass of Scotch Whisky.
Scotland is world renowned for its ancient and dramatic castles, often located in the most remote places they sort of represent the rugged spirit of the Scottish people. Strong, resilient, and enduring. But not all Scottish castles are bleak medieval stone towers set in desolate countryside. There are many castles in Scotland that could be put on Christmas shortbread tins, they are so pretty. And could have easily come out of a fairy-tale book. Often steeped in history and legend, Scottish castles are sometimes breathtaking, and here are some of the very best.
You could be mistaken that you were dreaming and in the French countryside when you first see magnificent Dunrobin Castle. Based on the design of an elegant French Chateau, this castle is so beautiful that it could feature in a Walt Disney movie. Located on the northern coast of Scotland near Dornoch the building is beautifully preserved, and it happens to be the largest castle in this part of the Highlands.
Dating back to the 1300s, the castle boasts 189 rooms and has been the ancestral home of the Dukes of Sutherland for many centuries. The architecture is literally breathtaking, and the castle seems to be floating above the carefully manicured lawns with its spires reaching up to the sky. The spires were a later addition to the original building and were designed by Sir Charles Barry, who was the famous architect who built The Houses of Parliament in London.
Traveling down to the Scottish Borders you can see the home of the Duke and Duchess of Roxburgh which is Floors Castle. And it happens to be the largest inhabited castle in the whole of Scotland. The exterior of this magnificent building is imposing and fairly square in design, but where Floors Castle really excels is in the detail of the interior. Inside Floors Castle are luxurious tapestries, unique antiques and really priceless works of art. Set in its own imposing grounds the castle gardens are home to the famous holly tree which supposedly marks the spot where King James II was killed.
Built in the 13th century as a basic stronghold, Fyvie Castle has grown through the ages to become a splendid building. Powerful Scottish families through the ages have made this castle what it is today, and each of them have left their mark on the architecture. Today this castle stands erect and proud as a Scottish baronial fortress, ready to repel modern-day raiders should they dare to attack. The rugged exterior hides what lies inside which is a treasure-trove of glorious antiques and fantastic architectural features. The most dramatic one being the magnificent sweeping staircase that dominates the center of the main entrance.
As well as the magnificent castles that have already been featured there are many other fantastic Scottish castles to enjoy when traveling in this part of the world. Other must-see grand castles are, Culzean, Drummond, Kilchurn, and Castle Fraser. Take an extended trip and enjoy as many of these fine buildings as you can, it is definitely worth it.
Scottish cuisine is your dream pantry. From traditionally prepared salmon to homemade sticky toffee pudding will make your mouth water from getting to know these culinary highlights.
The iconic bagpipes have to be one of the most endearing sights and sounds of Scotland. And if you are lucky enough to visit this beautiful part of the world you cannot possibly fail to hear the unique sound of the bagpipes emanating from shop doorways and busy streets.
Scotland is the most famous place in the world for making whisky which is commonly called Scotch.
People really believed that this animal was real. Kings, army men, travelers all said that they saw it. Everyone describing it differently. Marco Polo was not impressed and said that it is ugly, but now we know that he saw rhinos at that time. There are even recipes found how to cook this mystical creature, pharmacies in London sold unicorn horn powder until 1741. In United States in 1971 University in Michigan started give permits for people who would like to find a unicorn. In Germany in 1560 the unicorn horn was sold to pope for 18 000 pounds. The existence was only disproved in 1825 by scientist Baron George Covier. He said that no animal has just one hoof in the middle of its head by splitting it. In mythology unicorn still is a powerful figure.
There is plenty of wilderness in Scotland as the region is home to vast areas of highlands. This offers probably the most spectacular scenery in the British Isles, but it can also show off some of the country’s wildest weather.
As well as Scottish dishes being famous for their wholesome nature and the quality of the local meats and fish, the Scottish people have proved over the centuries that they have a sweet tooth. In order to satisfy this demand, Scottish cooks have set out to quench this desire and over the years have produced some mouth-watering dishes.
Scotland has always prided itself on the recipes that it has been able to produce from the rich sources of meat and fish that were available to the people. However, Scotland had a feudal society for centuries, so these plentiful supplies were more available to some than they were for others.