In 2005, Scotland’s population is just over 5 million. Glasgow is the largest city with a population of approximately 600,000 while the capital, Edinburgh, has a population of around 450,000 with Aberdeen
next at just less than 210,000.
Scotland covers an area of approximately 48,955 sq miles/78,783 sq km and is situated between 55 and 60 degrees north. Scotland’s central belt is at almost the same latitude as Moscow, Shetland being closer to the Arctic Circle than to the south of England. Scotland constitutes around 34% of Britain’s landmass and is roughly two thirds the size of England.
Most westerly point: Ardnamurchan Point.
Most northerly point: Easter Head, Dunnet Head.
Most easterly point: Keith Inch, Peterhead.
Most southerly point: Mull of Galloway.
The mainland has sea on three sides and there are few places in Scotland more than 40 miles/64 km from salt water. The total coastline is 6214 miles/10,000km.
Mainland Scotland, north of its 60-mile border with England, is divided into three geographical areas. The Highlands constitutes about half the land area and lies north of a line known as the Highland Boundary Fault, from Helensburgh in the west to Stonehaven in the east. This broad definition includes low-lying ground around the Moray Firth. The Central Lowlands or ‘central belt’ has the highest population density and lies below the Highlands. The Lowlands’ southern boundary is another line defined by geology, running from Girvan in the west to Dunbar in the east.
There are just over 100 whisky distilleries in Scotland.
Glenturret Distillery, by Crieff is said to be Scotland’s oldest having been established in 1775. Edradour Distillery, Pitlochry is the smallest (legal) distillery in Scotland.
Scotland has 546 golf courses stretching the length and breath of the country.
Munros: Peaks over 900m/3000ft are called Munros, after Sir Hugo Munro the first president of the Scottish Mountain Club. There are 284 peaks classified as Munros, nine of which are over 1219m/4000 ft. Corbetts: Corbetts are peaks between 760-915m/2.5000-3.000ft. They are named after J Rooke Corbett, who published the first list. To classify as a Corbett, the peak must have a single summit. There are 221 Corbetts. Highest Mountain: Ben Nevis (highest mountain in Britain) at 1344m/4406ft.
There are 790 islands, from big rocks to large islands, 130 of which are inhabited.
There are 40 mainland sea lochs.
The largest stretch of fresh water on mainland Britain is Loch Lomond which has a surface area of 70 sq km/27 sq miles. The loch with the biggest volume is Loch Ness with 7 billion cubic metres of water. The deepest is Loch Morar (328m/1077ft) and the longest is Loch Awe (41km/25m). The longest river is the River Tay, at 93km/120m.
Scotland’s position in Europe and with sea on three sides means that the weather is very varied. Metrological records show that May and June are usually drier than July and August. Edinburgh’s annual rainfall is only slightly greater than London’s and many of the east coast towns have less annual rainfall than Rome. Generally speaking, the east coast tends to be cool and dry, the west coast milder and wetter. July and August are normally the warmest months, with average temperatures of 15-19C/60-68F.
Biggest bird: White-Tailed Sea Eagle.
Oldest tree: A Yew tree in Fortingall churchyard is 3,000+ years old. (North of Loch Tay).
Tallest tree: A Douglas Fir 65m/212ft at the Hermitage, Dunkeld, Perthshire.
Highest hedge: Beech hedge planted in 1746, now at least 36.6m/120ft high and 550m/1804ft long at Meikleour, near Perth.
Longest border: The longest herbaceous border in the world is at Dirleton Castle in East Lothian at 215m/65ft long.
Castles & Historic Houses
The largest castle: Edinburgh Castle.
The largest inhabited castle: Floors Castle at Kelso, Scottish Borders.
The oldest inhabited house: Traquair at Innerleithen, Scottish Borders.
Highest Sea-Stack in Britain: Old Man of Hoy 137m/450ft (Orkney – northwest coast of Hoy).
Highest Waterfall: Eas a’Chual Aluinn 201m/658ft (Highlands – 1 mile southeast of Loch Glencoul).
Highest Village: Wanlockhead 430m/1411ft (Lowther Hills, Dumfriesshire).
Highest Road: Bealach na Ba rises to 626m/2053ft (road to Applecross, Highlands).
Did you know that?
The rocks in Scotland are amongst the oldest in the world – about three billion years old.
Scotland was at one time part of a huge continent linking North America and Scandinavia.
Scotland was once separated from England by a sea 1000 miles wide.
Scotland was once south of the equator and baked in subtropical temperatures.
There are 70 National Nature Reserves in Scotland.
There are 2 National Parks: Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park and The Cairngorms National Park.
On the longest day there is no complete darkness in the north of Scotland.