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28 Things About Scotland That Will Surprise Everyone

Fancy paddling to the pub for a pint? H/t Atlas Obscura.

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1. You can grab a pint at the most remote pub in mainland Britain.

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The Old Forge in Inverie is seven miles from the nearest town, and impossible to reach by road: You have to pick up one of the pub dinghies at the nearby port of Mallaig and row yourself over to the pub, which takes 45 minutes.

2. There's an 88-foot long model of the Titanic behind a house in Inverness.

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This huge scale model of the Titanic was built by hand by just one man, houses a café, and forms the centrepiece of a small, family-run museum called Ship Space.

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3. And a beautiful chapel on Orkney that was built by Italian prisoners of war.

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The Italian Chapel on the Orkney island of Lamb Holm was built in by Italian prisoners of war in 1943 out of scavenged materials, two Nissen huts, and cement.

4. You can visit a creepy abandoned castle in Drymen that once housed Nazi war criminals.

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Buchanan Castle was turned into a high-security hospital during World War II. Infamous Nazis cared for at the castle include Hitler's right hand man Rudolph Hess.

5. Although the worst of the worst were housed at Cultybraggan in Perthshire.

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This remote prison was built in 1941 to house some of the toughest, most fanatical Nazi commanders. Locals are currently trying to turn it into a bunkhouse campsite.

6. There's a truly crazy fire festival in Moray.

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The Burning of the Clavie takes place every January in the fishing village of Burghead. A flaming barrel is carried around the town, then wedged on the ramparts of an ancient fort. People try to grab the burning embers for luck.

7. And a site of ancient pagan worship at Dunino Den.

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This pretty glade in Fife is said to be an important site of pre-Christian worship. Faces are carved into the rock, and carved steps lead down to a large pool where people still leave offerings of ribbons and flowers. Spooky.

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8. We have the world's only singing waterfall.

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When the wind blows around Mealt Falls on the Isle of Skye, surrounding fencing vibrates and the entire area hums with a strange, eerie tone. It's a great accompaniment to the fantastic view.

9. There are a series of weird statues in Edinburgh that lead down to the sea.

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These six life-sized statues start with a figure buried up to its chest outside the National Gallery of Modern Art. The next four are half-submerged in the Water of Leith, and the final one stands at the end of an abandoned pier.

10. And a memorial to a much-loved cat in St. Andrews.

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Hamish McHamish was a ginger cat who lived in St. Andrews until his death in 2014. He wandered freely around town and built up a huge social media following.

11. We're home to the highest hedge on the planet...

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Meikelour beech hedge in Perth and Kinross was planted in 1745. According to the Guinness Book of Records it's the tallest (and longest) hedge in the world.

12. ...and the world's shortest street.

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Ebenezer Place in Wick is just 2.06m long. It was created in 1883 when the owner of Mackay's Hotel painted a street name on the shortest side of the building.

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13. You can see an amazing shell house in Anstruther.

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This fishing cottage was transformed into a gorgeous grotto in the 1840s by a plasterer called Alex Bachelor, who also covered the interior walls in shells.

14. Or stroll around a giant, 3D, map of Scotland.

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The Great Polish Map of Scotland is a huge, to-scale 3D model of Scotland in the Scottish Borders. It was built by a visiting Polish army in the '70s, was originally surrounded by water, and may well be the largest relief map in the world.

15. The "Golden Snitch" is (possibly) on display at the National Museum of Scotland.

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This is the mysterious Walston Ball, which dates to around 200-800AD. It's made from cast bronze and no one knows what it was used for. Curators claim it was J.K. Rowling's inspiration for the Golden Snitch.

16. There's an abandoned village in Argyll and Bute

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Polphail is a "ghost village" that was built in the 1970s to provide accommodation for oil workers, but it was never used. It's now home to a lot of creative graffiti instead, including these awesome washing machines.

17. You can go caving on one of Scotland's most remote islands.

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North Rona is an uninhabited dot on the map around 44 miles north of the Scottish mainland. Harris-based adventure company Seatrek run trips to the island.

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18. And we have an amazing sea kayaking trail.

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This Sea Kayak Trail stretches from Gigha in the south to the Summer Isles in the north, so it's an ideal way to explore Scotland's thousands of miles of coastline.

19. You can stay in a house that looks like a pineapple.

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If bedding down for the night in a prisoner of war camp doesn't float your boat, why not sleep in a pineapple? This 18th-century folly was originally built as a exotic plant hothouse; it's now used as holiday accommodation.

20. Or bed down for the night in a historic sex club.

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Smuggler's Inn in Anstruther used to be the base of the "Beggar's Benison", a scandalous 18th century sex club. It's now an inn and B&B, but the club's saucy artefacts are available to view at the University museum in St Andrews.

21. You can sleep in a geodesic ecopod overlooking Castle Stalker.

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This unique luxury retreat beside Loch Linnhe was made by stretching a waterproof membrane over a network of supports. It's a fancy, carbon-neutral tent, in other words, and features a cedar wood hot tub and an amazing view.

22. There's a secret nuclear bunker tucked beneath an Edinburgh hill.

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The Barnton Quarry Nuclear Bunker is a huge disused space beneath Corstorphine Hill in Edinburgh. It was built in 1952 to house the Queen if she happened to be at Holyrood Palace during a Cold War attack.

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23. You can take a stroll around the best-preserved Neolithic village in Europe.

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This incredible stone age village in Orkney beside the beautiful Bay of Skaill was built around 5000 years ago, making it older than the pyramids. You can still see the stone cabinets and beds that people used every day.

24. Or visit a weird puppet museum in a Glasgow library.

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Intriguingly named museum "The World Through Wooden Eyes" in Glasgow's Mitchell Library is home to hundreds of historical puppets, from Japanese Noh masks to vintage Punch and Judy marionettes.

25. We have an amazing castle covered in graffiti.

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In 2007, the owner of Kelburn Castle invited four Brazilian graffiti artists to create a colourful mural on the castle walls. It was supposed to be temporary, but was so popular the family asked for planning permission to keep the graffiti.

26. You can visit St. Valentine's bones at a Glasgow church.

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If you're stuck for a "romantic" date idea, why not check out the remains of St. Valentine? The box containing bones are on display at Blessed John Duns Scotus Church. The relic is decorated with red roses every February 14th.

27. You can visit a Garden of Cosmic Speculation...

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This surreal garden in Dumfries was created by landscape architect Charles Jencks in the 1980s. It's only open to the public for one day a year, but it's worth putting the date in your diary to see its strange, undulating landforms and lakes.

28. ...which also features a pair of giant, grassy buttocks.

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You aren't supposed to climb on them, but everyone does.

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