A small nation ('Tis a wee country, aye -- but a bonnie one), Scotland is only 443km (275 miles) long and some 242km (150 miles) wide at its broadest. No Scot lives more than 65km (40 miles) from saltwater. But despite the small size of their country, the Scots have extended their influence around the world. And in this land of bagpipes, clans, and kilts, you'll find some of Europe's grandest scenery.
Inventor Alexander Graham Bell and explorers Mungo Park and David Livingstone came from Scotland. This country gave the world entrepreneur Andrew Carnegie, poet Robert Burns, novelist Sir Walter Scott, actor Sean Connery, singer Sheena Easton, and comedian/actor Billy Connolly. But, curiously, for a long time, its most famous resident has been neither man nor woman but Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.
The border is just a line on a map; you're hardly aware of crossing from England to Scotland. Yet even though the two countries have been joined constitutionally since 1707, Scotland is quite different from England and is very much its own country. (In fact, on July 1, 1999, Scotland was granted greater independence when a reform instituted by Prime Minister Tony Blair brought back regional government, and a new Scottish Parliament was opened by Queen Elizabeth in Edinburgh.)
In Scotland, you'll discover mountains and glens, lochs and heather-covered moors, skirling bagpipes and twirling kilts, and rivers and streams filled with trout and salmon. Lush meadowlands are dotted with sheep, and rocky coves and secret harbors await the adventurous. You can hear the sounds of Gaelic, admire the misty blue hills, and attend a Highland Gathering. You can schedule quiet contemplation or an activity-filled calendar. And in Scotland, you'll find one of Europe's biggest welcomes.
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