Country Spotlight: Scotland
Good morning, my dear readers!
Oh, I can just imagine the excitement in the eyes of a few of the followers at seeing the title of this blog post. That’s right, folks, today we are spotlighting the historic land of Scotland, brought to you by a real Scotsman and friend of mine, Lee! Lee has agreed to join us today and talk about Scottish history and culture with us. Are you ready for some good ol’ Celtic traditions? Good, because we’re about to get this interview started! First off, Lee, why don’t you introduce yourself to the readers?
Lee: Hello everyone, it is an honour to be invited to talk about my homeland. My name is Lee and I was born in a town called Fraserburgh in the North East of Scotland. The youngest of two, I grew up with my grandmother in a small town called Laurencekirk which is 30 miles from both Aberdeen and Dundee. I went to both primary school and academy here and I graduated in 2014.
Emily: Oh interesting side fact, there's a town in Washington also called Aberdeen. I wonder if we got it from Scotland.
Thanks for telling us about yourself, Lee, now let’s get to the main part of our interview!
Question One: First off, Lee, why don’t you give us an introduction on Scotland and what it’s like to live there, what you love about it, what makes it special to you, etc. Just tell us about Scotland! Anything you like.
|Edinburgh, Scotland. Image from Morguefile.com|
Lee: Scotland is my home and I love it dearly. She has made me who I am and I shall never turn my back on her. Us Scots has contributed so much to the world. At times we're mocked and forgotten which saddens me but I still love my country. Yes there are flaws but what nation does not have its own?
Emily: Very true, every nation has their flaws but also their strengths.
Question Two: Next question: I know you are a big history buff and know your eras, so why don’t you give us a bit of an overview of Scottish history, along with your favorite time period, perhaps some interesting facts most of us wouldn’t know, whatever you want to teach us!
Lee: Well Scottish history is very deep. So deep that there is hardly a country that's been touched by Scotland's wide influence. Sir Winston Churchill once said that ‘Of all the small nations of this earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind.’ The Declaration of Arbroath which was signed by Scottish nobles and Robert I of Scotland (Robert the Bruce whom is a hero in Scotland) stated that Scotland was a free nation and it belongs to the people of Scotland. That very important document is said to have influenced the declaration of independence. Both are claiming a nation’s independence while half of the signatories of the American declaration were of Scottish ancestry. Robert I was the first ruler in Europe to be brought to power by a system recognizable as modern democracy, by "due consent and assent of us all". Even Japan gives credit to a Scot for making the country what it is today, that man was Thomas Blake Glover. I can go on but I do not wish to bore you.
Question Three: Now here’s an interesting question I don’t think I’ve asked before- weather. What’s the weather like in Scotland? How hot does it get in the summer, how cold in the winter? Do you get much snow?
Lee: Well the weather is commonly mild with quite a bit of wind but usually depends on where you are. For example: Edinburgh (from my experience) is sunny and very lovely while places in the west of Scotland such as Fort William is dreigh (Scots word for dull) due to the cauld (another Scots word for cold) wind and rain. Now, during the winter it gets really cold but there hasn't been a lot of snow and unfortunately it's mainly sleet.
Emily: Ooo, new words to add to my stories. *Puts on list*
Question Four: Let’s talk Scottish agriculture! We as Americans (and I’m sure those of you from other countries as well) have heard many stories of your country being dotted with sheep, your massive Clydesdales and watched several movies with the Scottish farmer working in the cold and wet to grow a crop. What can you tell us about your agriculture, what grows the best in Scotland, and what stereotypes aren’t correct in our mindset of sheep? ;)
|Sheep. Image from Morguefile.com|
Lee: Fields of sheep aren't far from the truth. But only a small portion of land in Scotland is used for farming due to the rugged terrain. The west coast of Scotland isn't particularly well suited for growing wheat and whatnot due to the strong winds and cold climate, but is alright for herding sheep. However, in the northeast and the border region, it is well suited for growing produce with the rich nutrient soil and the somewhat balanced climate. On the Isle of Shetland, a lot of vegetables such as turnip and potatoes are grown there. Although this isn't related to farming; Shetland is where the Shetland Collie (sheepdog) originated from.
Question Five: I’d like to ask about dishes in Scotland. What would you say are some of the most popular, very “Scottish” foods you eat? And what are some of your own favorite dishes? (Be it Scottish or not?)
Lee: Scottish dishes are considered poor food due to Scotland being quite poverty-stricken. A Scottish diet used to consist mainly of oats, tatties (potatoes) and neeps (turnips). Meat was eaten but every meal would contain at least one of those. Scotland's most renown dish, haggis, was popular due to it being made from the scraps of what farmers had. Haggis is made from the lungs, liver and heart of sheep and is grinded up, mixed with oats and spices then stuffed inside the lining of a sheep stomach. A lot of game such as venison, pheasant, partridge and rabbit was eaten as it was what people could get. Now those are seen cuisine for the wealthy. My favourite dish is venison, I would honestly prefer that to beef.
Question Six: This one is a fun question! Books! Tell us about your favorite books, some famous Scottish authors, and a book you’d recommend all those who want to know more about Scotland should read.
Lee: Scotland is home to many great writers such as Sir Walter Scott, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and of course Robert Burns. Burns, also known as “Scotland's favourite son” was the creator of the well known New Year's song ‘Auld Lang Syne’.
Question Seven: And here we are at our last question, Lee. Thanks for bearing with us this far. For our final question, I’d like to ask what areas you’d recommend for someone coming to your country to visit. Any specific celebrations that you think one can’t miss out on? What historical places would you tell someone to go see? Be the guide for our dear readers and tell them what they simply can’t miss out on!
|Hogmanay in Edinburgh. Image from Wikipedia.com|
Lee: One special celebration that is only held in Scotland is Hogmanay. It's held on the final night of the year and the following day is the start of the new year. Hogmanay is what we call New Year's eve, and originates back to winter solstice among the vikings with wild parties. It's just a massive party on Princess Street in Edinburgh.
Well, that concludes this interview with my very good friend, Lee. Thank you so much for doing this with me, Lee, I really appreciate it! :) Did you have any extra comments you’d like to make or something you would like to ask the blog readers?
Lee: I'd like to end with an inspirational story. It's said that after Robert the Bruce lost a battle against the English, he was on the run and was a wanted man. He took shelter in a cave and there he watched a spider make a web. The spider attempt to make its web but it would fall, but yet it wouldn't give up so it climbs back up and tries again. Again and again, it would fall but still it would climb up and retry. Watching the spider gave the King of Scots hope and to never give up, he kept on fighting and maintained his title of ‘King of Scots’ until his death.
Emily: I remember reading that story in my English workbook when I was quite young, I didn't realize it was a Scottish story! You learn something new each day. :)
That’s it for today, readers! May the Lord bless you and I hope you learned something new about Scotland. I’m thinking of a few of my friends with Scottish ancestry as I write this, imagining their wild grins. ;) You know who you are!
Blessings to all and have a great week!