Scotland brave and creative, a romantic and beautiful land which has given the world a lot of inventions, discoveries, original concepts and institutions.
I’m William Wallace, and the rest of you will be spared. Go back to England and tell them… Scotland is free!
O! Desolated Scotland, too credulous of fair speeches, and not aware of the calamities which are coming upon you! If you were to judge as I do, you would not easily put your neck under a foreign yoke.
Only 4 percent of all the companies owned in Scotland have their head offices in Scotland.
Barbour is a brand that I have grown up with and been associated with since I was living near the borders of Scotland.
Scotland should be nothing less than equal with all the other nations of the world.
Scotland is about layering. The weather changes every 10 minutes.
I think Scotland could take a stand in a wonderful way, ecologically and morally and ethically.
There’s something fundamentally wrong with a system where there’s been 17 years of a Tory Government and the people of Scotland have voted Socialist for 17 years. That hardly seems democratic.
To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.
There is only one thing wrong with Scotsmen – there are too few of them.
Because Scotland and Northern Ireland want to remain part of the E.U., there is the quite real possibility that Scotland and even Northern Ireland might now choose to go their own way on membership within the E.U. and the ‘United Kingdom’ would suddenly effectively be only England and Wales.
Scotland must be one of the most romantic and beautiful countries on earth. The rough, savage landscape is unique and found nowhere else in Europe, or indeed in the world, and in parts of Northern Scotland you could believe yourself to be on the surface of the moon or some far distant planet The mauve and purple mountains of the Highlands rising straight up from the clear shining water of the lochs… the mist in the glens that diffuses the light and gives colours such peculiar intensity There is a certain pre-historic feeling about the wilds of Scotland and in this strange other-world atmosphere even a confirmed sceptic might find himself imagining the witches and ghosts so commun in Scottish folk tales, or the legends of vast sea monsters in the lochs especially the famous “Nessy”.
Perhaps travellers today think that the Loch Ness Monster is something invented by the Scottish Tourist Office to stimulate one of Scotland’s principal industries, but sighting of huge sea creatures goes back, in fact, to the 6th century A.D. In the Middle Ages there were many more reports of “fish without fins”, “enormous wave on the loch when there was no wind” and “strange islands that float and move”. In the past 40 years, over 1,000 people claim to have seen the Loch Ness Monster. Many of these people were trained observers: soldiers, doctors. seamen etc. There exist at least four photographs claiming to be of the monster which have been verified by experts to be genuine.
Although Scotland is certainly an English speaking country, it speaks English in its own way. For example, you would rarely hear the word “girl” or “young man” used anywhere in Scotland for the Scots say “lassie” and “lad” or “laddie”. Instead of the English word “beautiful” or “fine” the Scots say “bonnie” and instead of “small”. they prefer the Scots word “wee” – so what the rest of the English speaking world would call a “pretty little girl” would be to a Scotsman. a “bonnie wee lassie”.
Because of the international fame of the Loch Ness Monster, most people already know that “Loch” is the Scottish word for “lake” but if you are going to enjoy some of the beautiful Scottish poetry and songs you should also know that a hill in Scotland is a “brae” and a valley is called “glen”. Scotland is a country of braes and glens. Just north of Glagow on the way to the Highlands is one of Scotland most beautiful or should we say “bonnie” lochs, Loch Lomond, and here is the folk song that has made this loch famous all over the world:
“By yon bonnie banks And by yon bonnie braes Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond Where me and my true love Were ever wont to gae (often used to go) On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.
But how does the world imagine a typical Scotsman? Serious, practical in all things, mean with his money, silent and without much sense of humour, and perhaps cold. How much of that is true? If one were talking about great romantic lovers, I doubt if a Scotsman would come to mind very readily – and yet Scottish folk music and poetry is rich with warm, nostalgic, even passionate love songs and ballads. When a young man swears that for his lady love he would lay down and die… or, as the Scots would say, lay doon and dee”… that doesn’t sound like the thoughts of a cold-hearted man – or a very practical one either.
Maxwelton braes are bonnie Where early falls the dew And it’s there that Annie Laurie Gave me her promise true. Gave me her promise true, Which ne’er (never) forgot will be And for bonnie Annie Laurie I’d lay me doon and dee (down and die).
If a Scot is silent, perhaps he is following the advice of many a Scottish proverb, like “Give your tongue more holidays than your head” or “Keep your breath to cool your porridge”. Clearly, excess talking is not something the Scots admire. Now, what about their international reputation for being mean or stingy? There must be some truth in that, or the reputation would not have become so established, world-wide. And even the Scots tell stories or jokes about themselves being mean, and seem to enjoy them.
I was reading in the Glasgow Herald that two thieves who smashed a jeweller’s window and stole 2,000 worth of diamonds were arrested by the Glasgow police when they came back to the jeweller’s… to recover the brick they had used.
I knew a Scotsman who fell down an icy well in winter. His wife came running to try and pull him out, but she couldn’t. “Try and keep your head. Jock”, she cried. “I’ll ring for the men from the fields to come and pull you out.” The half-frozen Scot just managed to look at his watch and called up to his wife “Don’t ring for the laddies noo (now). Let them work till dinner time. I’ll swim about till then.”
Or consider the Scottish lad from Dumferline who went to America as a boy and took a job that paid him one dollar and twenty cents per week. Before long this laddie had become the richest man in the world. He was the man who conceived the idea of free public libraries. He built 2,507 of them in Britain, Canada and the U.S.A. and by the time he died in 1919, Andrew Carnegie had given away over 300 million dollars of his personal fortune. Has anyone, of any other nationality, ever been so generous?
Scotland is a small country – about twice the size of Holland – yet with only half its population. In fact there are two million more sheep in Scotland than there are Scotsmen. However. Scotland is an important part of the English speaking world – not because of its economy, certainly – it has always been a poor country by Western European standards, yet Western Europe, and the rest of the world, owes a great deal to Scotland because of its greatest natural resource and finest export… Scotsmen. Sir Winston Churchill once said: “There is only one thing wrong with Scotsmen – there are too few of them”. But what they have lacked in numbers, they have certainly made up for in inventive genius, particularly in the fields of engineering. mathematics and medicine.
Everyone knows that Scotland gave the world its favourite prestige drink – Scotch whisky – and the business man’s favourite prestige game – golf. And for a small country those alone would be enough. But few of you, perhaps, realise how many conveniences and necessities of modern life discovered or invented by Scotsmen: the bicycle, the pneumatic tyre, the refrigerator, the reflecting telescope, perspex, paraffin (what the Americans call kerosene), waterproof cloth, neon and helium, penicillin and anesthetics, the rotary printing press, logarithms, macadam roads, radar, the telephone, the telegraph and not least – television.
The concept of the savings bank came from a Scot, as did the concept of town planning, and its pioneer, Thomas Geddes, coined the word “conurbation” to mean a group of towns grown together to form one urban area. The international unit of energy, the “watt”, was taken, as most of you know, from the name of a Scotsman James Watt, who first used the power of steam to create an efficient, commercial engine, and of course Watt’s steam engine literally transformed the world.
In addition, Scotland has produced at least one great philosopher, David Hume, and one great economist, Adam Smith. Sir Walter Scott, as well as being a prolific writer, actually invented the historical novel, but there is one Scotsman, without a doubt, who stands out far above the others, at least in the hearts of Scotsmen, the great national poet, Robert Burns. Burns was the creator of Scotland’s national identity. It has been said that to understand the Scottish people you must realise that Burns is the man every Scot would most like to be, and sometimes feels he is: brave, egalitarian, kindly, romantic, natural and unpretentious, admired by men and adored by women.
Burns died in 1796 at the age of 37. Today, all over the English speaking world tens of thousands of Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders and Australians of Scottish origin gather on the 25th of January to celebrate the birthday of the man who represents the very soul of Scotland. At these annual Burns dinners everything is strictly traditional: The Scotsmen wear their national costume, the kilt, drink their national drink in large quantities, eat their national dish, Haggis. made from a sheep’s stomach stuffed with oats, onions and offal, listen to their national music played on the bagpipe and recite the poetry of Burns which unites these “export” Scots the world over.
And what a lot there are! Although its population has never reached six million, Scotland has filled the English speaking world with its sons. and everywhere you go vou’ll find common Scottish family names: Armstrong. Anderson, Fraser, Bell, Wilson, Hamilton, Campbell, Douglas, Grant, Stewart, Scott and so on.. not to mention all the “macs”. Mac- is the Gaelic prefix meaning “son of”. In England these names were formed by adding the word “son” to Christian names – Williamson. Donaldson. etc. In Scotland these became MacWilliams and MacDonald.
The Scots certainly do get around and are found everywhere. Karl Marx’s mother-in-law, Jeannie Wishart, is said to have descended form the Earls of Argyll, old Scottish aristocracy. The first man on the moon may hold United States citizenship, but he carried a 100% Scottish name, Neil Armstrong. Neil is just one of the typical and uniquely Scottish first names that are common all over the English speaking world, along with Graham, Malcolm, Kenneth, Ian, Gordon, Wallace, Alan, Douglas, Bruce and Alec, from Alexander. The former American Secretary of State Alexander Haig and the Canadian economist Kenneth Galbraith are two others who display their Scottish blood from one end of their names to the other.
Inventions by Scotsmen
Gas lighting – William Murdoch
The bicycle – Kirkpatrick Macmillan
The steam engine – James Watt
The sea-going steamboat – William Symington
The rotary printing press – Thomas Nelson
The refrigerator – James Harrison
Ice made artificially – William Thompson (Lord Kelvin)
The vacuum flask – Sir James Dewer
Waterproof cloth – Charles Macintosh
The corn reaper – Patrick Bell
The pneumatic tyre – John Boyd Dunlop
The reflecting telescope – James Gregory
The first grand piano – John Broadwood
The kaleidoscope – Sir David Brewster
Radio Telegraphy – Lord Rutherford
Macadam road surfacing – John McAdam
The telephone – Alexander Graham Bell
Perspex – J.W.C. Crawfurd (of I.C.I.)
Terylene (U.S. Dacron) – J.T. Dickson (together with an Englishman)
Radar – Sir Robert Watson-Watt
Television – John Logic Baird
Discoveries by Scotsmen
Chloroform/anaesthetics – Sir James Young Simpson
The Malaria parasite – Sir Ronald Ross (Nobel Prize Winner)
Logarithms and the decimal point – John Napier
The inert gases: helium, neon, krypton, argon, xenon – Sir William Ramsey (Nobel Prize Winner)
Penicillin – Sir Alexander Fleming (Nobel Prize Winner)
Victoria Falls, etc. – Sir David Livingstone, foremost African explorer
34,000 stars (first catalogued) – Johann von Lamont (born. John Lamont), Head astronomer of Munich observatory
Original concepts and institutions founded by Scotsmen
The savings bank – Rev. Dr. Henry Duncan
Town planning – Thomas Geddes
The historical novel – Sir Walter Scott
Free circulating libraries – Andrew Carnegie
Free Universal Education – John Knox
The Y.M.C.A. – (Young Men’s Sir George Williams Christian Association)
The Rubber Industry – John Boyd Dunlop
I.C.I. – (Europe’s largest Harry McGowan chemical industry)
The Bank of England – William Paterson
Like their Northern neighbours, the Scots, the English have also been great inventors and have given the world the locomotive, the telescope, the electric motor, the fire extinguisher, cement, the propeller, the turbine engine, stainless steel, vaccination, antiseptics, man-made fibres for synthetic cloth, the jet engine, the hovercraft, the stethoscope, the mini car, the mini bicycle and the mini skirt. It was English scientists who first discovered nuclear science and the neutron and first split the atom.
If you want to find out more about Scotland you can also read:
Quotes and aphorisms on Scotland