Scotland occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain. In addition to the mainland, Scotland has nearly 800 islands. There are two national parks – the Cairngorms where you can ski in the winter months, and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs which features forests, lochs and waterfalls.
Glasgow, the host of the XX Commonwealth Games, lies on the west coast of the Scottish Lowlands.
Scotland’s economy is diverse, but you will have heard of whisky, oatcakes and shortbread. Did you know that some of the world’s most popular video games are from Scotland? The developer of Grand Theft Auto was founded in Dundee.
The national flower is the thistle, and ‘Flower of Scotland’ is the national anthem. Another popular song at international sporting events is ‘I Would Walk 500 Miles’ by the Proclaimers.
The national instrument of Scotland is the great Highland bagpipe, a wind instrument made up of a bag, reeds, a chanter and pipes.
Famous Scottish inventions include the television, developed by John Logie Baird in 1925, the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 and penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928.
Football and rugby are popular sports played in Scotland. Scots also like tossing the caber, throwing hammers and pulling a tug o’ war. These sports can be enjoyed at the legendary Highlands games which take place across the country.
The 2012 Olympic and 2013 Wimbledon tennis champion Andy Murray was born in Dunblane.
During its debut at the Hamilton 1930 British Empire Games, Scotland was represented by 15 athletes. The Scots have taken part in every Games since, winning medals each time they have participated.
At the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, Scotland took home a total of 26 medals, nine of which were Gold.
Edinburgh became the first city to hold the Games twice, in 1970 and 1986. It also hosted the first Commonwealth Youth Games in 2000, which is now held every four years.
Scotland will be hosting the Games for the third time, when the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games takes place.
Fun fact: Legend tells you that there is a monster living in Loch Ness, the Highlands. This monster is known as Nessie.
Sport fact: St Andrews, on the east coast of Scotland, is considered to be the Home of Golf. The most famous golf course there is the Old Course.