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24 Facts You'll Only Get Your Head Around After You Leave Scotland

"Miss you, hen."

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1. Not every country has acres of ancient forests.

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Like this 8,000-year-old Caledonian forest fragment in Wester Ross. Mmm, lush.

2. Or mountains that stretch for miles.

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Loch Duich near Ratagan, a sight for sore eyes.

3. The words "hen", "doll", and "pal" aren't an integral part of people's vocabulary elsewhere.

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And you'll get a real pang of homesickness whenever you hear them on the phone. "Miss you, hen." "I miss you too, doll."

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4. It turns out that this is winter wear.

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Not everyone wears a woolly hat, ski mittens, North Face jacket, shearling boots, waterproof trousers, and a look of fear for five months of the year.

5. Encountering other Scots when you're away is the most emotional experience you'll ever have.

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"I love you so much. Never leave me. Also, do you know where you can get tattie scones in Auckland?"

6. Our attractions are quirkier than you ever realised.

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Apparently haunted jails aren't a standard day out. In other places families usually visit theme parks, play miniature golf, and just generally avoid ghosts and criminals.

7. Scottish food is generally (and very hurtfully) considered to be a bit grim.

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The first time someone catches you eating haggis they will be shocked and appalled, and you'll be shocked and appalled that they're shocked and appalled.

8. But Scottish people are basically treated like celebs.

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Everyone will be genuinely excited to hear you're from Scotland, and you'll be like "yeah bitch I'm awesome."

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9. Though the constant requests to "say something Scottish" wear a bit thin after a while.

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"OMG say cranachan again. And loch. Amaaaaazing. Wait, where are you going?"

10. And you discover your accent is unintelligible in 90% of the world, including other parts of the UK.

Going to the US and they have no idea what you are saying #doricproblems #scottishproblems

"Passenger is elderly, hard of hearing, and speaks little English."

12. And nobody finds your anecdotes about meeting Scottish celebs as cool as you do.

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"Did I tell you about the time I bumped into Kevin Bridges in a 24-hour Greggs?"

"..."

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14. Although that does mean that camping trips elsewhere aren't Bear Grylls-style exercises in survival.

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"Maybe just bring a light sleeping bag and leave the snow shoes, Jungle Formula, deer meat rehydrator, and emergency flares at home."

15. You had absolutely no idea how fond you were of Highland cattle. Like, at all.

I miss Scotland so much, I bought a Hamish for our home office <3 I need to go back soon... http://t.co/f45DfgjuHh

Their on-point fringes bored you, their fluffy coats left you cold, but now they're like a shaggy ginger beacon pointing towards home.

16. Stone cottages, quaint villages, and sandstone tenements aren't a regular sight in other places.

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After you pass your 100th red-brick housing estate, you'll pine for your country.

17. You should never have taken casual, everyday friendliness for granted.

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Friendly nods as you pass, smiles on the street, not being shouted at for accidentally standing in the wrong place...Scotland has it all.

18. Or a reasonably priced roll and bacon.

Sophie Gadd.

Even if you can get Scottish(ish) food elsewhere, you'll probably pay a premium for it. £8 for a sausage, egg, and bacon roll is a bloody joke though.

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19. Speaking of which, you'll also discover that breakfasts aren't really a thing anywhere else.

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"Please take this bircher muesli away and bring me haggis, square sausage, tattie scones, beans, and bacon. And some black pudding. And an egg. Thanks."

20. You'll be genuinely shocked at how little other people know (or seem to care) about Scotland.

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"You're from Scotland, does that mean you're Irish?" "Is Bannockburn a type of cake?" Shuuuuuuttttt uppppppppp.

21. You miss being able to escape the hustle and bustle and lose yourself in an empty landscape.

22. You'll also pine for the awe-inspiring sight of the Northern Lights flickering overhead.

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Or just the clear, starry night sky. Light pollution is a CRIME, people. Sort it out.

23. And also (and more importantly) for Irn-Bru.

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You can buy a calendar to see Scottish scenery, but if you see a can of ginger in a non-Scottish shop you'll sob and hold it close, like a lover.

24. But most of all, you'll realise just how much you truly love this sign.

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Alba, let's never part again. <3

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