15 Facts About Scotland
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15 Facts About Scotland

A look at 15 facts that are all linked by Scotland.

  1. Once upon a time, a clockmaker from Pittenweem, Scotland, created a clock that had not two dials as per a traditional clock, but four dials. Not only did this clock show the minutes and hours, it also showed the days of the week and months of the year. It never really caught on. Interestingly, it did chime but never on the Sabbath.

  2. During the Second World War, the Enola Gay famously dropped the American atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. What is less known however is that the entire crew was of Scots descent.

  3. The phrase 'the real McCoy' (meaning: the genuine article) may have its roots with an historical confusion of the Scottish, Mackay clan chief. By the 19th century it was being used as a slogan for Mackay's whisky and also appears in the work of Robert Louis Stevenson. It didn't enter the American mainstream until the turn of the 20th century; they attribute it either to a boxer called Kid McCoy or famous prohibition bootlegger Bill McCoy. Really, any of those could be correct!

  4. Curse those Scots and their writings. The first verified printed use of the F-word comes in a 1503 poem by William Dunbar entitled 'Ane Brash of Wowing'. There are other earlier recorded (hand-written, not printed) uses of the word from Scots writers. EIther the Scots were less inhibited about the language or the word was not taboo in those days.

  5. Have you ever heard the line: 'To the wee gentleman in the black velvet jacket'? William of Orange died from injuries suffered after his horse had stumbled over a molehill. The delighted Jacobites composed a toast to celebrate the creature whose digging had caused the king's demise; hence the above line, and Scottish history was never the same.

  6. One of the most famous catchphrases in America today is that of Homer Simpson; 'Doh'! The word was actually based on a catchphrase used by James Finlayson who was born in Falkirk, Scotland in 1887. Finlayson is most famed for appearing alongside Laurel and Hardy in many of their films.

  7. How many tides a day are there? The answer may well be two, but not in the Firth of Forth, Scotland. Due to a 'kink' of the topographyof the estuary, the coast between Alloa and Culross has twice the number of tides each and every day.

  8. HRH Prince Charles may be the Prince of Wales but he has a total of five Scottish titles; Duke of Rothseay, Earl of Carrick, Barron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Great Steward of Scotland. Try remembering all of those if you meet him!

  9. If you are ever in Sydney Park, Australia you will find a cairn built entirely from stones from every parish in Scotland. The cairn was erected in memorial to the Scottish pioneers who played a rather important role in the shaping of the country.

  10. Berwick Rangers are the only English football team who ply their trade in Scotland. They are also the only Scottish league team who play their home games in England.

  11. Highland cattle (majestic beasts of Scotland) are so hairy that the only way to tell the difference between a cow and a bull is the direction their horns are pointing. The cow's horns grow more squarely from the head, rise sharper and are longer. The bull's horns grow outwards, at a level with the head but incline slightly.

  12. The oldest rock in Britain is Lewisian Gneiss. It forms much of the bedrock of the northern coastal region of Scotland. It is a hard metamorphic rock and is believed to be more than 3,000 million years old.

  13. It is thought that at least twenty-one of the men who signed the American Declaration of Independence has some Scottish blood running through them. The only clergyman to sign, John Witherspoon and James Wilson were born in Scotland. Those that had Scottish forebears included Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Rush, Phillip Livingston, Francis Lewis and Thomas McKean.

  14. The only triangular castle that can be found in Great Britain is Caerlaverock Castle which is near Dumfries, Scotland.

  15. Robert III was involved in a riding accident when he was young which left him physically disabled. His character wasn't much better. As it was, he was ruled un-fit to carry out his duties so his brother, the Duke of Albany, effectively ruled Scotland on his behalf.

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Comments (5)

Really fascinating collection of facts, Andrew. If you read my article on Larnach Castle in New Zealand, you'll find he too was of Scottish descent! So, Scottish people are strewn all around the world.

I recall a tidbit (but not the location of~ and yea, of course) about an earthquake in the U.S. that briefly caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards (north) for a short while...

Amazing facts. . Thanks for sharing...I'm beginning to wish I was scottish...hehe.

Great article. I'm familiar with William Dunbar's Lament for the Makers. I'm surprised at him using such language!

Wonderful stuff, loved it!