20 unusual facts you may not have known about Scotland


From the gorgeous scenery to the rich history, Scotland has so much to offer to visitors.

The Scottish culture and big personalities of the people throughout the country are amongst the many unique and appealing aspects of our bonnie wee bit of land.

But if you dive a little deeper, you may find out about things you did not already know.

Whether it be Nessie’s lesser-known counterpart Morag or William Wallace’s real nickname, Scotland’s history is full of surprises.

Not to mention the facts about our iconic ginger hair…

To celebrate all things Scottish and quirky, here are some of the best hidden facts about the country…

1. Scotland’s national animal is a unicorn.

Because mythical creatures can be national animals too, you know.



Did you know the Scotland’s national animal is a unicorn?

2. Scotland has the highest proportion of redheads in the world.

Around 13 per cent of the population has red hair.



Portrait of red haired boy sticking tongue out
There are quite a few red heads in Scotland.

3. Scots are more likely to have blue eyes than people in the rest of the UK.

The South East of Scotland has the highest proportion of blue-eyed residents at 57 per cent.



Cropped Image Of Person's Eye
What color are your eyes?

4. Imports of haggis to the US have been banned since the 70s.

All the more for us!



Haggis a traditional Scottish sausage made from sheep stomach and filled with sheeps liver, lungs and heart, oatmeal, onion, suet and seasoning.
Haggis imports to America are banned…

5. Scotland is home to the world’s tallest hedge.

It is located near Meikleour on the A93 Perth-Blairgowrie road. The hedge is over 1,700 feet in length and 100 feet high.

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Gardening.  An elderly man cuts the conifers into shape with an electric hedge trimmer
How tall is your hedge?

6. As well as a giant hedge, Scotland is home to one of Europe’s oldest trees, Fortingall Yew.



The Fortingall Yew in Perthshire is Scotland's oldest tre
The Fortingall Yew is in Perthshire.

7. The Scots invented golf with St Andrews considered as the ‘home of golf’.

The sport has been played there since the 15th century.



Portrait of red haired boy sticking tongue out
St Andrews is hailed as the ‘home of golf’.

8. You’ve heard of Nessie, now meet Morag, the monster of Loch Morar.

This large and elusive female is said to have attacked two fishermen in August 1969. They saw a creature described as around 30ft long with rough brown skin, three large humps and a snake-like head. Loch Morar is even deeper than Loch Ness, more than 1000ft in places.



Loch Ness monster sighting.
Nessie is not the only monster in our Lochs.

9. The shortest commercial flight in the world is in Scotland.

The journey from Westray to Papa Westray in Orkney is approximately 1.5 miles long and takes just 47 seconds.



Loganair undated handout photo of one of their plans as the airline has been awarded the contract to operate the Orkney Inter Isle air service for four years.
Loganair operates the super quick flight.

10. Scotland has approximately 790 islands.

660 are uninhabited.



Fair Isle.  part of the Shetland Islands.  in the far north of Scotland.
Many of Scotland’s islands are uninhabited.

11. The first International association football game was played in Partick.

The match was between Scotland and England in 1872 and was played at the West of Scotland Cricket ground in Partick.



Scotland 2 v England 3, First International match
The game ended Scotland 2 – 3 England.

12. But football was originally banned by King James I.

He decreed that Na man play at the fut ball, in the Football Act of 1424.

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Luckily, it fell into disuse and Scotland became home to one of the most heated rivalries in world football – the Old Firm derby between Rangers and Celtic.



Scott Brown and Scott Bain of Celtic are confronted by Andy Halliday of Rangers at the final whistle during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park on March 31, 2019
The Old Firm rivalry continues to this day…

13. The longest echo inside a man-made structure was recorded in Inchindown tunnels, a WWII fuel-storage facility near Invergordon in Ross-shire.

Researchers from Salford University fired a gun down the tunnels, recording a record-breaking 112-second echo.



The tunnel was used during WWII.
The tunnel was used during WWII.

14. There are as many people with Scots heritage living in the US as in Scotland.



AMERICAN SAILORS RETURN TO SCOTLAND
Many Scots have made the journey to America over the years.

15. ‘Braveheart’ was actually the nickname of Robert the Bruce and not William Wallace.

Despite this, Mel Gibson used the name for Wallace in his Hollywood blockbuster.



Mel Gibson in a scene from the film 'Braveheart', 1995.
Mel Gibson starred as William Wallace in the film Braveheart.

16. Scotland has three officially recognized languages: English, Scots and Scottish Gaelic.

Just one per cent of the population uses the last.



A Welcome to Scotland sign on the Scottish borders
Not many people are able to speak Gaelic these days…

17. Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have its own fire brigade.



Fire and rescue safety equipment hangs in the kit room
Edinburgh was the first to have a fire service.

18. The deepest loch in Scotland is not Loch Ness.

It is, Loch Morar, which reaches 1,077ft (328m) down and is ranked the seventeenth deepest lake in the world.



Loch Morar is located in Inverness-shire.
Loch Morar is located in Inverness-shire.

19. The small Scots town of Bonnybridge has become the UFO capital of the world.

The town has more than 300 sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects reported every year.

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Caucasian man standing in beam of light from UFO
Have you ever spotted a UFO?

20. The Scots invented the modern world.

John Logie Baird created the world’s first TV picture on October 2, 1925 while Scotsman Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in Boston in February 1876. Where would we be today without this technology?



'Bell's telephone in operation', late 19th century.  Scottish-born American inventor Bell
The telephone was invented by Scottish-born Alexander Graham Bell.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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