By Brian Smudge
Scotland is a wild and beautiful country and well worth a visit to the aspiring traveller who has, say, a fear of leaving the British Isles.
It boasts a rich and varied history whose narrative runs along side that of its neighbour, and perennial enemy TheBastardEnglish.
Once a country of its very own, Scotland was chained to the rest of the British Isles by the great Scottish Engineers of the Victorian era, in a marriage of convenience that has almost lasted to this day with only a sprinkling of tell-tale signs of mutual domestic abuse.
From its mountainous glens and clear spring waters to the quaint charms of catatonic fishing villages and the riotous display of interreligious hatred that is an old firm match in either of the country’s great cities – Glasgow and Pittenweem, Scotland is a vibrant yet gentle country and well worth a visit on any day (Not on match day.)
Going by historical averages of most efficient journeys, Scotland is best reached by Longboat from Scandinavia. Alternatives include the train-replacement coach-train route which is commonly available during the festive season, the East Coast Mainline, the West Coast Mainline, the overnight coach, plane, pogo stick, bay city rollerskate and popular 1974 science fiction invention, the Jaunting Belt, all of which are as equally relaible.
Upon crossing the border there are no passport checks but a close inspection of any banknotes you are carrying will be carried out. While any bank note portraying the Queen’s head and bearing the word Sterling is legal tender throughout the country, it is a long standing and tiresome ritual that any English note in Scotland or Scottish note in England be treated with suspicion, derision and scorn despite both sides being more than delighted to take your money.
Assuming you are reaching Scotland overland from the south the first sight that will greet you is the borders. These are wild and disputed lands, peppered with magnificent castles and stately fortified homes from a time when the folks lived in absolute and perpetual terror.
Further North you reach the Lowlands, a narrow band of fertile soil and the most populous part of Scotland. Between the Forth and the Clyde lie the great cities of Edinburgh, Stirling, Glasgow and Sterling, Tilocoutry, near Stirling.
Beyond the lowlands are the High Lowlands, followed by the Low Highlands, The Middle Highlands, The High Highlands. The Highlands and Islands, The Islands, Skye, Tiree, Wick, Orkney, Shetland. Fair Isle, the Faroes, South East Iceland, Iceland, North Iceland, The Aurorae Borealis, the North Atlantic Ice Shelf and The North Pole.
Broadly speaking the West of the country is more mountainous than the East and as a consquence is wetter. Excessive erosion over the years as well as being eaten by sheep has led to the crinkly coastline of the west. It rains less in the East although it is worth visitors from England noting that THIS IS ALL RELATIVE.
Places to Visit
Scotland is a culturally rich country having produced some of the greatest Poets (Robert Burns), Engineers (Telford, Watt) and Inventors (Logie Baird(TV(Television:Inventor of),the),John,Graham Bell(tele(phone),the,inventor of),Alexander),Krankie,(“Fan-dabby-dozy”),phrase,the,of, inventor),Wee Jimmy) the world has ever seen.
In recent years Scotland has achieved a degree of independence from its oppressive Southern Neighbour and recently, to its general dismay, the whole of Europe. The Scots are an eternally optimistic bunch(1) however and only time will tell what the future holds for this lovely country.
- Can you check that’s what you meant?
Make sure, if you’re in the habit of missing things out, that you don’t miss these things out on your visit while you’re there!
Check these places out:
- Killfuchquars Castle – Now a stately home but once the site of the most bloody luncheon in Scottish History. Seven rival clans were brought together to negotiate peace over dinner. They never even made it past the soup course. Grounds open daily 13:01 – 13:12 a camera with a high shutter speed is advised.
- The Burns Monument, Dunfermline – Lots of people suffer nasty burns every year, some serious but many temporary and overplayed for sympathy. This centrally-heated monument pays tribute to them
- The Flora McDonald visitor centre. Sponsored by Flora and McDonalds.
- Edinburgh Castle and Tattoo parlour. The Edinbugh Tattoo cannot be removed by laser surgery. Visitors are requested to be sure they are happy to commit before attending.
- The Grand Whisky Tour – all 148 distilleries in eight hours- inculdes free dram at every stop! We cannot remember anything about this and four of our party died.
- The Clydeside ship building tour. 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. You must book in advance to be let out.
- Walking in the Glens of the Hunters tour. Wear bright clothing and stay low.
- A Taste of the Monroes. Monroes are spectacular mountains over 3000 feet high. Amazing views. Will break your teeth.
- The Pittenweem Fisheries Museum. this novelty attraction teaches visitors to identify sixteen different types of fish by the smell of their putrefying carcasses. An entertaining if mildly horrific afternoon.
- The Dunkeld Science Centre. Built with Lottery Heritage money that was going to go on a bridge or something this baffling collection of interactive exhibits is easily as informative as being in a coma.
- The Wee Tartan Fleece Shop, Edinburgh. You think you’re getting a personalised Tartan, you’re being fleeced.
Top Picks to Stay
Additionally we’ve sought out some of the best places to stay and eat, whether you’re in the north, the south, the west, the east or somewhere inbetween (not LongNiddry)
- Mrs Brown’s Boys Only club. Leith Docks. Edinbugh. Right next to popular gay nightspots this friendly transgender boutique hotel promises you numerous innuendo and gurns to camera.
- The Auld Reekin’ FermToun Lodge. Situated in the borders near a massive sewage treatment works, the Auld Reekin FermToun Lodge promises unspoilt views of natural biological degradation of human waste. A nearby nature reserve is inexplicably deserted, and visitors will be able to enjoy pleasant country walks un-accosted by the irritating sounds and activity of wild animals.
- MineHead. MineHead. A unique chance to stay in one of the many abandoned mine shafts that litter the central Lowlands. Visitors are not met on arrival and approach the mine floor via a rickety lift mechanism. No reviews as yet as we are currently struggling to locate previous visitors.
- St Andrews Golfing Lodge and Gentleman’s Parlour. £4,500 a night. Handicap of 5 or better required. Scottish peerage or equivalent preferred.
- The anti-trump bunker – Trump international Golf Links, Aberdeen. Stay in the bunker on Trump’s newly built and highly controversial golf course. Stays vary from several months to a few days before being carted away by some men in black polo shirts with thick necks.
Eating and Drinking
- Advised as an excellent way to avoid starvation or dying of thirst.
Try our poll:
Special Mention: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Edinburgh during the month of August you may have about to be lucky enough to have encounted the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Here anyone with an idea, regardless of talent, business sense or creative integrity can rent just a cleaning cupboard and create “theatre” or even “comedy”. Schedules vary so check the 450 page brochure or simply walk down the Royal Mile to have suggestions bellowed into your head.
Last year’s highlights included:
- The Darkness of the Dark: A man wearing only a pair of flippers stares at you from a spotlight in a not-quite-dark enough room while other performing arts graduates stumble in the background wrapped in sheets. A challenging piece that raises questions about the meaning of theatre and the true value of seven pounds fifty and forty five minutes of your life.
- The Incredibly Well Supported and Popular Comedian show. They don’t give a f**k what you think as long as the Telly Producers see you laughing.
- Whoops Vicar is that your Dick? Riotous Oxbridge fun as the undergraduates tackle thorny issues such as the sudden appearance of a vicar’s bottom in the window of the village chandlers. Almost certainly original and appealing to wide socio-economic audience while tackling thorny topical issues.
- Angry shouty drunk man. Daily. The Royal Mile. Continues all year.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to Scotland. If you’ve any ideas how to make it better please dear God write to us.
The Lazy Planet Team