10/03/2013 12:49

Whisky,kilts and tartans, golf, castles, a sausage called haggis, Sean Connery and a monster in a lake. A rugby selection and an unintelligible language, be either English or Gaelic. Bagpipes and last names beginning on Mac. Deep estuaries named firth and seven hundred islands. Robert Burns, Rob Roy and J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter's literary mother. Around and above plenty of water is added: is Scotland.

When the Greek Pytheas of Massalia circumnavigated Pretaniké three hundred years before Christ, the British Isles north were inhabited by tribes of Celtic origin maybe Picts. Not yet had arrived migrations from Hibernia, Ireland, Scots and other clans also Celtic. Romans call them Caledonians and despite fight them for years, failed to submit. One hundred and twenty years before Christ, Hadrian Emperor ordered the construction of a wall to split them and Roman world and to draw the boundaries of the Empire. In the first century the general and governor of Britannia, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, conducted several campaigns against the Picts surpassing the wall and reaching the Grampians, but not consolidated the territory, as explain his son Cornelius Tacitus in De Vita et Moribus Iulii Agricolae.

On the lowlands north of the wall extend the two main Scottish cities. Eastwards Edinburgh, home to the parliament building at Holyrood. Between this and the castle, the Royal Mile. The Golden Mile concentrated the most elegant shops in the city. If Edinburgh was the core of the letters and Scottish Enlightenment, Glasgow has always been the industrial engine and is now, after London and Birmingham the UK's third largest city in population.

Highlands, which are not exactly the Himalayas, have their highest point in the Ben Nevis, which at 4.409 feet high, is the highest mountain in Britain. And Inverness, the most populated town in the Highlands, lying where the River Ness flows into the crossroads of the Beauly and Moray Firths. This is also the end of the Great Glen, a huge fault running through dividing Scotland Highlands. The lakes in the fault, Linnhe, Locky, Oich and Ness were united in 1822 by the construction of the waterway of Caledonia. Last is the famous Loch Ness with its dark waters due to the high peat concentration, is the unlikely home of Nessie, the famous lake monster. The first references to the monster were made in the seventh century by San Adomnán of Iona in the book Vita de San Columba, who urged the beast to halt its attacks against a swimmer, convincing thus the heathen Picts to convert. In May 1933 the Inverness Courier highlighted: Strange show at Loch Ness transcribing the testimony of Aldie MacKay and her husband, there was the creature, romping, swinging and diving for a minute, his body resembled that of a whale and the waters were stirred around. Since then multiplied the number of people who claimed to have seen the monster. On July 22, the same newspaper published a new witness, the Spicer family. The husband, George, said: We saw a kind of undulating neck followed by a large, heavy body that would measure about 25 feet () I'm demure man, but I am prepared to swear that we saw the beast of Loch Ness. The following year, in April, the surgeon Robert Kenneth Wilson took the famous and blurred snapshot of the beast to be published in the Daily Mail. In the late nineties would be revealed that was staged, even though some people do not believe. But finally it seems that the monster exists, at least in 2010 was nominated Highland Ambassador of the Year 2010 and received, though not personally collected, a prize for his work in promoting tourism in the area, according gathered once again by the Inverness Courier.

Lakefront, Urquart magnificent castle, which in its time was looted, destroyed and rebuilt, again, is now a visitor and Nessie scouts centre.

On the west coast, Eilean Sgitheanach, or Isle of Skye, is the second of ​​the Inner Hebrides. Until 1995 the connection to land was made by ferries. That year, next to Kyle of Lochalsh, was opened to traffic the Skye Bridge which provided extraordinary access to the island, despite the initial controversy over the price of the toll, removed, finally, eleven years later, in 2006. Skye is a rough island covered by sheep from the Cuillin mountains summits almost always cloudy up to the coastal cliffs where waterfalls pour into the sea as in Kilt Rock. If Scotland it’s a rainy country, there’s even more rain in Skye. Portree, east of the island, has a beautiful harbour with colourful facades guessed through the water curtains and raindrops lazy stacked behind the room windows facing the sea. Along the dock, near the Pier Hotel and Rosedale, the Lower Deck offers simultaneous quality seafood and fish and chips. At the foot of the Cuillin Mountains is Carbost, the small village that is home to the only distillery on the island, Talisker.

Further south and back on mainland the port of Oban on the Firth of Lorn is a springboard to Mull and other nearby islands. Oban houses a rare War and Peace Museum. Beside, in a square packed with tulips, a red Victorian building is the Columbus Hotel and the Harbour Inn either. Why not, Oban has its own distillery named as the city.

Tarbert, another small port, open the access to the long and narrow Kintyre peninsula. At its end is the famous Mull of Kintyre Paul McCartney and The Wings devoted a song. Close, Campbeltown, which was once the capital of whiskey with thirty-four distilleries which only three remain: Springbank, Glen Scotia and Glengyle. Eastwards Kintyre are Arran, Islay and Jura islands. In the latter George Orwell stayed in Barnhill Farm to write his novel 1984 in 1948. Curious, isn’t it? On the island run freely about six thousand deer, hence the island name. People, about two hundred. In Jura there is also a post office, a pub and, of course, a distillery.

© J.L.Nicolas


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