50 Interesting Facts about Scotland

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26Kismot restaurant

In 2011, a restaurant named Kismot Restaurant in Edinburgh held a charity hot curry eating contest that resulted in the first 10 contestants writhing in agony, panting, and vomiting, with one contestant being hospitalized twice. The 2nd group of contestants declined to participate.


27. 33% of US Tourists visiting Scotland believe that the Haggis is an actual animal, and a quarter thought they could catch one.


28. Actress Tilda Swinton comes from one of the oldest family lineages in Scotland, and she can trace her family history back to the 9th century.


29. The town of Larkhall, Scotland, hates the color green so strongly that their sandwich chain Subway is painted in black instead.


30. Scotland once tried to become a colonial power. The colony failed so spectacularly that it became a large factor in Scotland becoming part of the United Kingdom.


31Sir Nils Olav

At Edinburgh Zoo there's a Penguin called Sir Nils Olav, who's a Brigadier and has a Knighthood.


32. In 2003, a da Vinci painting "Madonna of the Yarnwinder" was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle by two thieves posing as tourists who claimed to be undercover police. It was found 4 years later in a lawyer’s office in Glasgow.


33. Gerard Butler is a trainee lawyer and was President of the Law Society at Glasgow University.


34. Scots didn't wear kilts until three centuries after the period depicted by the film "Braveheart."


35. There is an island in the Scottish Hebrides that is owned entirely by its people. With a population of less than 100, the Isle of Eigg has been owned by its community since being bought in 1997, after decades of issues with absentee landlords, and generates 100% of its electricity using renewable energy.


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36Bill Murray

In 2006, Bill Murray showed up at a student house party in St. Andrews, Scotland. He drank their Vodka out of a coffee cup and washed their dishes in a cramped kitchen.


37. A woman named Mary Johnston in Scotland has inexplicably become the 87th best tourist attraction in the city on TripAdvisor after somehow signing herself up as a destination for visitors rather than a user on the site.


38. In 2009, a park ranger named David Booth in Stirling, Scotland, packed up his brand-new metal detector, drove to a field, walked 7 yards (six meters) from his parked car, and scored big. His first sweep yielded 4 gold neck bands, from the first century B.C.—the most important hoard of Iron Age gold found in Scotland to date.


39. In 1850, a severe storm in Scotland eroded a hillock, thus revealing "Skara Brae", a well preserved Neolithic settlement.


40. Edinburgh Castle has a cemetery devoted entirely to the dogs of the soldiers who were garrisoned there, and has been used since the 1840's.


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41Robert Barclay Allardice

A Scottish man named Robert Barclay Allardice, walked 1000 miles in 1000 hours to win 1000 guineas. He is considered the father of the 19th century sport of pedestrianism, a precursor to racewalking.


42. Scottish Town Arnprior painted wiggly lines on a straight road to confuse and slow down fast drivers.


43. There is a bridge named Overtoun Bridge in Scotland where dogs are known to commit suicide. In the past 50 years, over 50 dogs have visited the bridge and leapt to their death. The reason behind this behavior remains a mystery.


44. In 1437 at the Blackfriars, Perth, the playing of tennis indirectly led to the death of King James I of Scotland, when the drain outlet, through which he hoped to escape assassins, had been blocked to prevent the loss of tennis balls. James was trapped with the assassins and killed.


45. Scottish economist Adam Smith predicted in his book the Wealth of Nations (1776) that, if given representation in Parliament, in a century the Thirteen Colonies would control the British Empire. By 1913, the USA's economy surpassed the entire British Empire.


46Jesse Rae

A Scottish funk musician named Jesse Rae dresses as a Scottish Centurion. His career ended largely due to his mistrust of the English.


47. The "Highland Charge" was a 17th century Scottish tactic of sprinting into musket lines and hacking at the enemy with broadswords as they struggled to fix their bayonets.


48. The "heath pea" is an abundant Scottish plant that, when eaten, effectively stops the sensations of both hunger and thirst for several days.


49. A pioneering Scottish surgeon named Robert Liston, known as “the fastest knife in the West End”, once amputated a leg in two-and-a-half minutes, but in his enthusiasm took the patient's testicles off as well.


50. According to legend, Scottish aristocrat Thomas Urquhart died in 1660 from laughing too much, upon hearing that Charles II had taken the throne.

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