Archive for the ‘Scotland’ Category

Heritage Tours in Edinburgh

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

A very beautiful city, Edinburgh is more than just the Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. It is also a place from where you get a wonderful view of the Firth of Forth and though there are many places to see, you should contemplate taking the Lothian Buses instead of venturing out on foot to see the sights.

You can start off by visiting Calton Hill that is located on the east side of Princess Street and this centrally located attraction is well worth paying a visit to. You get excellent views of the city itself as well as across Forth Estuary and on to Fife and the rest of the skyline of Edinburgh. This is also where you will find the National Monument that was constructed in 1822 and is somewhat of an Athenian type of acropolis that commemorates the defeating of Napoleon at Waterloo. Another place of interest at Calton Hill is the City Observatory.

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland

Closer to the city center is Holyrood Park that was once used for royal hunting parties and for more excitement and thrills check out a climb of Arthur’s Seat from where you can get an excellent panoramic view. Then there is Water of Leith Walkway that in more poetic terms is known as “silver thread in a ribbon of green” and this twelve mile path that stretches from Balerno all the way to Leith is a very unique walk indeed and even in spite of the proximity to the hectic city noise and traffic you will hardly feel distracted. There are excellent walkways that take you to Canon Mills and also Dean Village and the Dean Village Walk will allow you to sample the history of the village with the Dean Gallery of Modern Art close by as well.

Edinburgh is also famous for the Royal Botanical Gardens that came into existence in the year 1670 and has as many as six percent of all known plants in the world. Entrance is free though you will have to pay three pounds and fifty pence to enter the greenhouses and among the many areas is Chinese Hillside, the Rock Garden and also Woodland Garden.

You may also like to visit Craigentinny Marbles which is a classical mausoleum that was the prized possession of one William Henry Miller and there is also the Miller Mausoleum that also has bas relief sculptures depicting scenes from the Bible.

A trip down to Portobello Beach should not be missed and this beach is just three miles to the east of Edinburgh city center and on clear and cloudless days you will get an excellent view of the Firth of Forth and also the county of Fife as well as the three Lomond Hills. And, you may be surprised to know that famous James Bond actor Sean Connery once worked as a lifeguard at the now defunct outdoor Portobello Swimming Pool during the fifties.


Friday, June 15th, 2007

Comprising one of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom, Scotland is a country that has as much as one third of the area of the Great Britain having a border with England that lies south of Scotland. On the east, there is the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean lies further north and west of Scotland, and lower down to its southwest are the North Channel and Irish Sea. There are thus many islands that also make up a part of Scotland, whose capital city is Edinburgh which is the second largest city in the country and it is also a financial center of great importance in Europe. The largest city in Scotland is Glasgow where there are supposed to be living as many as forty percent of all Scots that inhabit the country.

Culzean Castle, Scotland

Once, it was an independent kingdom, until on May 1, 1707 the Acts of Union brought it into political union with its southern neighbor, the Kingdom of England which resulted in the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain. However, the Scottish legal system continues to remain separate and distinct from those of Wales, Northern Island and of course, England.

Scotland forms the northern third of Great Britain and it has one land border and that is the one that separates it from England. The climate can best be described as being temperate as well as oceanic and it does change quite often. There is warmth from the Gulf Stream that comes from the Atlantic and even the winters are relatively mild as compared to other places including Oslo and Moscow that are situated on similar latitudes.

You will find much wildlife in Scotland that is more or less what is found in other parts of Europe though there are many of the bigger mammals including the Brown Bear, Wolf, Eurasian Lynx and also Beaver, Reindeer and Elk and Walrus found in this part of the world.

Scotland is also a well developed country that follows western type open as well as mixed economy that is much like what you would find in Europe and in many other parts of the world. Its economy centers on shipbuilding, coal mining and also steel, and with the North Sea oil has good economic prospects for the future as well. At Edinburgh is the financial center that is sixth as far as other European nations are concerned being surpassed only by Paris, London, Frankfurt, Zurich and Amsterdam!

There are believed to be as many as five million inhabitants, who make Scotland the one hundred and twelfth most populated country in the world, and the majority of its towns are located on what is known as the Central Belt. The religion is predominantly Protestant and the Church of Scotland follows a Presbyterian system that is independent of the state, and there are also many Roman Catholics, more so in the west of the country.

Scotland also has many traditions molded into its culture and there is a vibrant arts scene that sees heavy music (including its famous bag pipes) and literature, though sports are also a major activity in the country.