Bagpipes and Beyond: 41 Remarkable Facts About Scotland

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The prototype of the chainsaw we are familiar with today in the timber industry was pioneered in the late 18th century by two Scottish doctors named John Aitken and James Jeffray as a surgical tool to aid in the process of difficult childbirth and and excision of diseased bone.

2. The Scottish national animal is unicorn because it was believed to be the natural enemy of the lion, the English national animal.

3. In 1986, at the height of apartheid, Glasgow, Scotland changed the name of the square where the South African consulate-general was based to Nelson Mandela Place, forcing the South African attaché to have to write this address if they wanted to receive mail.

4. In 2007, the Glasgow City Council included Scrooge McDuck’s named on a list of famous Glaswegians.

5. A popular dish in Scotland is a frozen pizza that is folded in half, dipped in batter and deep fried. It is usually served with salt and vinegar.

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6John Smeaton

John Smeaton

A man named John Smeaton was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal for kicking a would-be suicide bomber on the testicles during the 2007 terrorist attack on Glasgow Airport.

7. The scars on the face of The Joker (The Dark Knight) is a wound called a Glasgow smile. It originated in Glasgow, Scotland but became popular with English street gangs. Actor Tommy Flanagan was given one when he was attacked outside a bar in Scotland.

8. The longest echo ever recorded in a man-made structure was set in an underground fuel depot (Inchindown tunnels near Invergordon), which was constructed in Scotland before World War 2. When a blank was fired from a pistol, the echo lasted for 112 seconds.

9. Actress Rose Leslie (Ygritte in Game of Thrones) grew up in Lickleyhead Castle, her family's 15th century ancestral seat in Aberdeen, Scotland. She is a descendant of Charles II.

10. In the 18th century village of Badbea in Scotland (now abandoned), when the women worked, their livestock, and even their children, were tethered to rocks or posts to prevent them from being blown over the cliffs or into the sea by the fierce winds.

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11Prince Philips and Diana

Prince Philips and Diana

When the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philips) once warned the Princess (Diana) of Wales: “If you don’t behave, my girl, we’ll take your title away.” She is said to have replied: “My title is a lot older than yours, Philip.”

12. The infamous Red Wedding, from George R.R. Martin’s “A Storm of Swords”, was inspired by real-life events which took place at Edinburgh Castle in 15th century Scotland. The event is now known as “The Black Dinner.”

13. Using fountain pens in a school in Edinburgh improved academic performance and self esteem.

14. The popular Indian style dish Chicken Tikka Masala was invented in Glasgow, Scotland.

15. The first Scottish fold cat was found at a farm in in Perthshire, Scotland, in 1961. They now are banned by the UK’s pedigree cat registry because a genetic mutation that make their ears folded and their faces so cute also causes distortion of their limb bone shapes and severe painful arthritis.

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16Sean Connery

Sean Connery

If you donate $500 or more to a Scottish heritage foundation, Sir Sean Connery will send you a signed personal letter of thanks.

17. When a Scottish sailor named Alexander Selkirk was left stranded on a deserted island, he survived for over 4 years, partly by using feral cats to protect him from ravenous rats that attacked during the night.

18. In 1836, a group of young boys discovered a group of 17 miniature coffins buried in a cave outside Edinburgh, Scotland. The coffins contain tiny dolls, each individually dressed, and the coffins all differ in their decoration. No one knows who buried them, when, or why.

19. 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.

20. 33% of US Tourists visiting Scotland believe that the Haggis is an actual animal, and a quarter thought they could catch one.

21Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton

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.

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

23. 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.

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

25. 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.

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