Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

The countryside of Scotland is much, much different from the city, and a great getaway from a busy and bustling life. I spent some time staying with family in the middle of pretty much nowhere, and gathered some Scottish highlands facts that fascinated me as I’m sure they will you.

Up here I got to explore some amazingly untouched natural beauty in the Scottish Highlands while learning some unique perspectives and facts about the highlands.

There is so much amazing history in Scotland and so much to learn from the area. The Highlands are not a far trip from Edinburgh or Glasgow, and are actually very accessible even from London as well! You can get a bus straight from London, and if you would like an organized tour to the Scottish Highlands, they’re available from a few cities.

I stayed for a week in the countryside outside of Nairn, which is a small town outside of Inverness. I spent the week exploring the nature, coastlines, castles, and lakes of the Scottish highlands, learning about Scottish history, and trying some classic Scottish foods as well. Here is a delightfully random assortment of 25 interesting facts about Scotland and the highlands that I learned about the area (and myself) during this adventure!

Interesting Scottish Highlands Facts

There are over 400 species of Daffodils. They come in different color combinations and with different petals, and can all grow together to make an absolutely beautiful scene.

In 2013, nine traffic lights were put into the small town of Nairn as part of a deal for getting a large-sized Sainsbury’s supermarket, and it is now known as the ‘traffic light capital of the highlands’ because it has so many lights in such a small span.

The Highlands have some beautiful and unique accommodation options, from staying in castles to remote island cabins. Check out some unique places to stay in Scotland here.

Scottish people traditionally eat oatcakes, which are flat circular biscuits made mostly from oats (one of the few grains that grow easily in the region). They in a way substitute for bread for the Scots, as they can be eaten win jam and butter or with cheese.

Scotland and England have many local and tasty kinds of cheese. Scotland is known for its cheeses, and you can go to different farms throughout the highlands and purchase cheese made right there on site.

Scotland is also known for its gin (not just whiskey!) and you can go on a tour and taste Scottish gin from many different areas.

Why You Need To Visit The Scottish Highlands | Inspiring Travel Scotland

It is possible for cheese to be so smelly that you get lightheaded. Not thinking this was possible, I stuck my nose straight into “Stinking Bishop’ cheese and honestly thought I was going to pass out for a second! Stinking Bishop is known as the stinkiest cheese in the WORLD and is made in Scotland and the UK.

Wifi is provided to the countryside through wires, and is not a fibre connection like in the city. If one house on the road is downloading a big movie, it will slow down the broadband for everyone else, even if the nearest neighbors are over 400m away. And it is usual for wifi connections to have a smaller GB limit per month- something we are not used to in the city!

Scotland has a unique law called the “Right to Roam” which allows people to walk, cycle, or just pass through land in any non-motorized way. This ‘right to roam’ allows people to pass through even privately owned land – mountains, fields, forests, grassland, coastal areas, lochs (lakes), etc – as long as they do so responsibly. So basically, you are allowed to explore nearly all of the countryside (besides private gardens etc) without fear of trespassing laws – which can be a good and bad thing depending on how you use it!

More traditionally found in the Scottish highlands are some interesting breeds of scones: the Scottish cheese scone and the potato scone. They are a savory departure from usual sweet scones.

The Glasgow fair is a public bank holiday in July in the city of Glasgow, and people in this city traditionally take this day to go on holiday around local areas and the rest of Scotland, like up to the Highlands or Edinburgh with kids. So, when a countryside town is unusually crowded in July… “Oh, it must be the Glasgow Fair!”

facts about scotland scottish highlands fort ocean view

The Orkney Islands are an archipelago in Northern Scotland that actually used to be owned by Norway. They have some of the best-preserved Neolithic sites in Europe and beautiful scenery (definitely on my travel bucket list!).

There are three languages spoken in the Highlands: English, Scots, and Gaelic. Some people still speak it, and many learn it to preserve it.

The Jacobite Rebellions in the 1700’s were a big part of Scottish highland history. Jacobites were supporters of the royal English house of Stuart, which was exiled from the throne in the 1600’s. The English army fought back, and eventually chased the Jacobite troops back up to the Scottish highlands and defeated them in the very bloody battle of Cullodden. This battlefield is now a historic site and can be visited to this day.

You can also visit many forts in the highlands which are still in use today. Fort George is a historical site but is also still in use by the highland army.

‘Tattie’ means potato in Scotland.

Loch Ness is the lake in the highlands which is rumored to have ‘the Loch Ness monster” (Nessie). It has many boat tours to ‘look’ for the monster and also a very historic castle along its waters called Urquhart, which is worth a visit.

scottish highlands lake hiking view

Throughout history (around and before the 1600’s) the Scottish Highlands were made up of clans, each with their own family/clan tartan. In the 1800’s, the King of England wanted to break up these clans, so he used them to his advantage by making each clan into a Scottish regiment of the British army.

Highland Regiments of the British army are known for their fierceness and for being the only regiments to dress in traditionally Scottish tartan.

Cairngorms National Park is a large, beautiful, snowy mountain area in the Scottish Highlands that is popular for hikers and snow sports. It has the UK’s highest mountains!

The Highlands can offer some of the most beautiful and uninterrupted landscapes and nature scenes in the UK.

There are two main parts of the Highlands: the southeast is home to the Grampian Mountains and the northwest has the Highlands.

There are a lot of Iron/Bronze Age historical sites in the Scottish highlands with artifacts from ancient Pictish and Gaelic peoples.

scottish highlands UK Scotland Loch Ness Urquhart castle

Scotch whiskey distilleries are abundant and many have the option for you to visit and taste their whiskey. There are LOTS of Scotch whiskey tours that will take you around distilleries for tastings.

The Highlands were initially differentiated from the lowlands by language, with the highlands speaking Scottish Gaelic. They are also of course differentiated geographically, with the highlands in the north and the lowlands in the south!

It is indeed possible for a Scottish accent to be so thick it is unclear whether or not it is English.

Garden Centers in Scotland all have pretty nice cafes in them, and compete with each other to have the nicest cafe and best food. So, it is quite normal for people to reserve and eat at Garden Centers. They will walk past all the shovels, gardening gloves, potted plants, and decorative trinkets in a garden shop to go to a nice meal. These cafes get crowded with pretty long lines at times.

Well, that’s enough random history and facts about the Scottish highlands for one day. Hope you enjoyed it and learned something interesting!


By Lala