Most countries have something that they are stereotypically known for, whether it be true or very much exaggerated. We have the French with their love of baguettes and nautical clothing, Brazilian’s with their small bikinis and sun kissed bodies and the English for their overconsumption of fish and chips, the Queen and men bestowing Hugh Grant or Colin Firth charms. Even Australia can’t escape the stereotypes: shrimps on the barbie, the outback and every animal under the sun wanting to kill you. Some of these stereotypes are reinforced upon entering the country but some others are questionable. Or some you ponder “Why is this not a well known fact?”
Take Scotland for example.
Sure, Scotland has its famous stereotypes — Braveheart, Haggis, the other orange soft drink Irn-Bru, tartan kilts, Grounds Keeper Willie off The Simpsons and those ultra loud Bag Pipes. But it’s time for Scotland to be known for something else, something ever so true; its natural beauty and impressive countryside.
I was a tad naive on knowing how much beautiful scenery is crammed into Scotland, especially up in the Highlands. It is packed with rugged landscapes, snow capped mountains, quaint seaside towns, castle ruins in spades and famous lochs (one of which we all know for being the home of the Loch Ness Monster). Unfortunately, ‘Nessy’ didn’t make an appearance when I visited, but that didn’t take away from the impressiveness of the loch itself.
Scotland isn’t just filled with lakes and mythical monsters. Scotland’s Lealt Falls and Quiraing give neighbouring Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher and their leprechauns a run for their pot of gold. The lesser known Lealt Falls is considered a hidden gem of Scotland, despite its dramatic gorge and cliffs. The natural beauty of Scotland is best captured exploring Quiraing, an area filled with daring high cliffs, various rock formations and hilly landscapes. This is an Instagram lovers delight as everywhere you capture is ready for a nature porn #hashtag.
Scotland is also the home of magic. Voted Scotland’s most romantic glen, the scenic Glencoe has many famous vistas thanks to it being the choice for many memorable Harry Potter scenes including the set location of Hagrid’s Hut. Over in Glenfinnan, Harry Potter fans are lost for words as it features the 21-arched viaduct bridge the Hogwarts Express chugs along. New Zealand’s star power may have been bolstered due to its role in the The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies but it’s Harry’s magic that is well and truly captured in Scotland’s magnificent Highlands.
For those with indecisive souls, Scotland has you covered. You don’t need to choose between castles or ruins or castle ruins as all three are common sights. One of the most impressive and less frequented castle ruins is the 15th to 17th century Kilchurn Castle which sits on a rocky peninsular by Loch Awe. To roam around is free or if you would like to inspect life inside a castle and be taken back in time, there is always Eilean Donan Castle with a grand bridge entrance or famous Stirling or Edinburgh castles.
The common perceptions of Scotland calls for an alteration. In an everyday sense, the traditional stereotypes of the Scots’ thick accents, jolly humour and friendly nature is enforced as well as their love for deep fried mars bars, traditional pubs and malt whisky. Not all countries can conquer the scenic goods category but Scotland is truly deserving of the stereotype labelling and that is a fact.
I travelled as a guest of Haggis Adventures which I could not recommend highly enough! The flexibility of the tour, the fantastic guide and of course Scotland itself being an amazing destination to explore. For more information on the tour I took part in, click here.
Looking for a play to stay? I stayed at Safestay which was literally around the river bend ie around the corner from the starting point plus it was clean, spacious and conveniently located in the city centre.