Why Scotland Might be Cooler Than the United States
I must begin this by saying, I love my country — The United States of America. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. During this year of pandemic isolation, I have found myself dreaming about traveling to distant lands. Scotland is one of the countries I’ve researched, and some things have become abundantly clear about Scotland. I think it’s entirely possible that it may be cooler than the good ‘ole US of A — and I don’t just mean the temperature. At the very least, it deserves further investigation post-pandemic.
“Scotland is a part of the United Kingdom (UK) and occupies the northern third of Great Britain. Scotland’s mainland shares a border with England to the south. It is home to almost 800 small islands, including the northern isles of Shetland and Orkney, the Hebrides, Arran and Skye.”-www.scotland.org.
1. Even the names of the government vehicles are better than ours.
In the recent winter months, I spent a good deal of my time on Twitter. I mostly flipped through my feed and occasionally liked something I saw, usually, a cute animal photo. But then someone posted the names and route maps of the snowplows or “gritters” located in Scotland. Those Scots have a good sense of humor. I assume these are government vehicles so that just made them cooler in my opinion. The crews had names like Spready Mercury, Bear Chills, Sled Zepplin, For Your Ice Only, and Licence to Chill. Like I said, that’s pretty cool.
2. Shaken not stirred.
Sean Connery was of Scottish descent. He was also the best James Bond. There is no argument here. That’s it.
3. Their elusive monster is better than our elusive monster
Scotland had the Loch Ness Monster long before the upstart United States version of an elusive monster — Sasquatch.
Old Nessie has been around for centuries, maybe longer. Sightings of this enigmatic monster date back to 565 A.D. when St. Columba stopped by on the way to visit the “King of the picts at Inverness.” He very politely asked a giant slippery creature to please stop eating people. Apparently, the creature grudgingly agreed and sunk back into the water.
By contrast, Britannica listed the first sighting of Sasquatch as occurring in 1811. They’ve also described him as a very large primate that walks on two legs and smells. There have been unverified sightings in parts of the United States and Canada and as far as I know, no one has asked him politely to stop bothering people.
Few people have photographic evidence of the existence of the Loch Ness monster, and still, people hang out at Loch Ness on the off-chance they might see her. That’s pretty cool.
4. Scotch Whisky
“By law, all Scotch whisky must be matured for at least 3 years, but most single malts lie in the wood for 8, 10, 12, 15 years or longer.” That is all.
5. They aren’t fans of the 45th President
When Trump floated the idea he might want to fly to Scotland to play golf during Biden’s Inauguration, government officials flatly turned him down stating that the trip could not be considered essential travel. Trump then chose to retreat Mar-a-Lago where he’s mostly remained out of the public eye.
6. The Joe Biden Airport could happen
There was a move afoot to rename the Glasgow Prestwick airport in Scotland to Joe Biden airport. That’s great they want to honor a popular US President. The move gains epic status when you consider that the same airport is located near The Trump Turnberry hotel and golf resort. The former president would literally have to fly into the airport any time he wanted to visit that golf course. Epic.
7. The wildlife is cute and furry
The Loch Ness Monster aside, the wildlife in Scotland are really cute. The cows are furry in Scotland and the birds are colorful and have interesting names. According to WildScotland. org, one popular bird, The Puffin is a mid-sized bird characterized by its “rainbow-colored beak” and orange feet. The Crested Tit is another crowd favorite, identified by its black crest and is found in the forests of Scotland.
8. Who doesn’t love a haunted castle
I’m sure not all castles in Scotland are haunted, but the Visit Scotland website does list one castle that boasts a bag-pipe playing ghost so there’s that. And old semi-dilapidated castles dot the Scottish landscape in regular intervals that you’ve got a good shot of staying in one that is.
9. The Plaid
There seems to be a lot of plaid in the United Kingdom, especially in Scotland. There’s a variety of colors and patterns. There’s a distinction between plaids and tartans. Plaids are “an old Scottish word for blanket or wrap.” It’s usually draped or worn in different ways depending on the occasion. A bridegroom might drape a plaid banner over his shoulder on his wedding day in Scotland.
Some plaids have a history — that’s something you don’t see with plaid in the United states — our plaid doesn’t have a backstory like the UK plaid does. If a plaid boasts a backstory it’s more than likely a tartan.
“Tartans are patterns that carry history, often associated with a historic Scottish clan, family, or community. Different tartans carry different clan names and to be called a tartan, it must be officially recognized in Scotland, either historically or through a tartan registration process.”
So that cute scarf you bought at JCrew could denote someone’s clan. You gotta respect the plaid.
10. Real men wear kilts in Scotland
Kilts have a long history in Scotland. Scotland.com gives a short history of kilts in Scotland. Soldiers wore kilts in specific colors or patterns to honor their clans. The kilt was functional as well, it offered freedom of movement in a battle that other uniforms or armor did not. Additionally, it could be removed and used as a blanket on cold winter nights.
Some men still wear kilts, but they’ve become more ceremonial than functional. And if you meet a man wearing a kilt, you may discover the answer to the age-old question — does he or doesn’t he wear anything underneath. Men in kilts might be worth the trip to Scotland on their own merit.
Whether or not Scotland is cooler in the United States comes down to personal preference. I’ll always love the United States. But, Scotland does offer a unique culture and interesting history, and the country as a whole seems to have a great sense of humor. I for one can’t wait to plan a visit to a haunted castle to sip some scotch whisky and search for Nessie.
Until then, I can always dream.