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Both Cathy and I come from Scotland, although from different parts. I come from Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire (or Banff & Buchan, it changes its name every so often), Cathy from Grangemouth, near Edinburgh. Scotland is a fine country, so I thought I'd bring together some information.

The first thing that should be made clear is that Scotland is a separate country, and is most definitely not England or part of England. Calling a Scotsman 'English' is one of the worst faux pas you can ever make, and may lead to blood being spilled in extreme cases! British you will get away with, normally with all bodily particles intact, but English? Cruisin' for a bruisin'...


First of all you'll be wanting to know where Scotland is, so here's a map of Europe to make it easy. There's Scotland, in red, just to the north of England. If you don't know where Europe is then sue your local education department...

Click for a really close look!

Here's a closer look at Scotland. I come from Fraserburgh (just to the north of Peterhead, on the point) and Cathy comes from Grangemouth (about 40km up the river from Edinburgh).

The main population centers are Edinburgh (the capitol) and Glasgow, although that whole central belt probably accounts for 75% of the population (about 5 million people in total). The area in the middle of the country is fairly mountainous, and most of the country to the north and west is rough and sparsely populated. (The Scottish comedian/actor Robbie Coltrane calls it 'MAMBA' country - Miles And Miles of Bugger All!) It is, however, very nice and very peaceful, a great place to get away from it all.

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The weather in Scotland is not that dissimilar to Portland. It can be fairly wet, and gets fairly warm in the summer, just add about 30f to all temperatures! The one thing that Scotland has is wind (err...), which leads to the principle difference in the weather - at least in Portland the rain is normally vertical. Scotland has horrendous horizontal rain, most unpleasant!

Having said that, though, there are still surprises in store. The west coast is fairly mild (if wet), picking up the edge of the Gulf Stream. Plockton (on the west coast just left of 'Loch Ness') even has a palm tree (trees?), although it's a pretty stunted specimen.

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The main sport of Scotland is, of course, soccer, or football as it's known in most of the world. The main soccer clubs are Celtic and Rangers, both based in Glasgow, although teams in the top division are based from Aberdeen to Edinburgh, with Dundee and Perth in the middle. Scottish soccer is not the greatest in the world, but there is a tremendous passion for it. Recently Rangers dominated the whole scene, but this has now been broken. For all their domination of the Scottish scene, Rangers have not done anything in Europe, a performance matched by other clubs. Internationally Scotland are very much an 'also-ran' on the world stage. They make it to the World Cup and European Championships in a good year, but have never progressed beyond the first round.

Scotland also plays rugby to a reasonable level, but is still very much in the second or even third tier. Rugby is more popular in the Borders area of Scotland, where soccer is less popular. With the advent of the professional game the weaknesses in the Scottish game are being exposed more and more.

Scotland is also fairly well known for its golf, hosting some rather excellent golf courses. The greatest of them all must be the Royal and Ancient at St. Andrews, although Gleneagles and Troon are also popular.

Many other sports are played around Scotland, but none to any great level. The exception is possibly Curling, where the Scots men and women are reasonably good. Then again, there are fewer participants

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