back to top

19 Fucking Odd Facts About Scotland That'll Make You Say "Hmm, Random"

Bill Murray once showed up at a student party in Scotland and did their washing up.

Posted on

1. A Scottish penguin called Sir Nils Olav is officially a Colonel-In-Chief of the Norwegian army.

tumblr.becausebirds.com

He was previously a knight, then a brigadier and each time was promoted in a lavish ceremony in front of 50 Norwegian soldiers in full dress uniforms.

2. Ygritte in Game of Thrones grew up in Aberdeen's Lickleyhead Castle, and is a descendant of Charles II.

Rose Leslie is a Scottish aristocrat whose childhood home was Clan Leslie's 15th century ancestral seat in Aberdeen. It's now available for rent on Airbnb.

3. And the Red Wedding from Game of Thrones was inspired by a real-life event that happened in Edinburgh.

HBO

The infamous wedding was inspired by a bloody massacre from 15th-century Scotland known as "The Black Dinner". At the time, the King of Scotland was fighting the Black Douglas clan. He invited them for dinner at Edinburgh Castle, but at the end the drums started pounding and they were captured and put to death. Harsh.

4. Bill Murray once showed up at a student party, drank vodka out of a mug, then did their washing up.

American Zoetrope / Giphy

It was at the University of St. Andrews in 2006, and he was wearing a brown vest and a checked shirt. After drinking a bunch of their vodka, he washed up for them, then left.

5. Chicken Tikka Masala was invented in Glasgow.

roxychowdown.tumblr.com

In the 1970s, Ali Ahmed Aslam, who owned the Shish Mahal restaurant, created a sauce from condensed tomato soup and spices after a customer complained his chicken was too dry. This evolved into the nation's favourite dish.

6. The Perthshire town of Dull is paired with the town of Boring in Oregon, USA.

And also Bland in Australia.
reddit.com

And also Bland in Australia.

7. One of the gargoyles on Paisley Abbey is an alien.

It's not an original feature though. It dates back to the 1990s when the abbey was undergoing renovations and replaced 12 of its gargoyles.
commons.wikimedia.org / Creative Commons / BuzzFeed

It's not an original feature though. It dates back to the 1990s when the abbey was undergoing renovations and replaced 12 of its gargoyles.

8. Scottish ferry workers once let Germans travel for free because Germany beat England in football.

Sky Sports / Giphy

After Germany defeated England in a vital 2000 World Cup qualifying match, ferry workers on the Isle of Skye route let German tourists travel for free.

9. In 1896 a group of boys discovered a bunch of miniature coffins in an Edinburgh cave.

The coffins each contain a carefully-made miniature doll, wearing a tiny outfit. The coffins are all decorated differently. No one knows who put them there, or why.
commons.wikimedia.org / Creative Commons

The coffins each contain a carefully-made miniature doll, wearing a tiny outfit. The coffins are all decorated differently. No one knows who put them there, or why.

10. People lived in caves as recently as 100 years ago.

The people in the photo were known as the cave dwellers of Wick. They slept on bracken and burned peat for warmth until cave dwelling was outlawed in 1915.
forum.caithness.org

The people in the photo were known as the cave dwellers of Wick. They slept on bracken and burned peat for warmth until cave dwelling was outlawed in 1915.

11. Scottish deer kill and eat baby birds.

Renaissance Pictures / Giphy

Red deer on the island of Rum were caught chomping the heads and legs off Manx shearwater chicks by researchers, because they needed "extra calcium". Urgh.

12. There's a mountain called The Demon's Penis.

It's called “Bod an Deamhain” in Gaelic, which means the “penis of the demon”, but it was more politely translated into English as “The Devil’s Point.” Hee.
geograph.org.uk / Creative Commons

It's called “Bod an Deamhain” in Gaelic, which means the “penis of the demon”, but it was more politely translated into English as “The Devil’s Point.” Hee.

13. And volunteers once found a piano on Ben Nevis.

In 2006, a group of volunteers doing a clean-up at the top of Britain's highest mountain found the remains of a piano. Turns out someone carried it up on their back 35 years before for charity.

14. The Scottish national animal is the unicorn because it was the enemy of the lion, the symbol of England.

And several poems and nursery rhymes exist that document the two animals symbolically beating each other up in an attempt to claim the crown.
en.wikipedia.org / Creative Commons

And several poems and nursery rhymes exist that document the two animals symbolically beating each other up in an attempt to claim the crown.

15. There's a Canadian town called Cape Breton where the descendants of Scottish settlers still speak Gaelic.

Highway signs are bilingual (English/Gaelic) too, piping is very popular, and some old dialects that have died out in Scotland have been preserved in Cape Breton.
Twitter: @beatoninstitute

Highway signs are bilingual (English/Gaelic) too, piping is very popular, and some old dialects that have died out in Scotland have been preserved in Cape Breton.

16. Scotland has a national elephant polo team.

youtube.com / BuzzFeed

What's more, they regularly win the world championship. Woo! Go team.

17. David Tennant played a transvestite called Davina in Glasgow sitcom Rab C. Nesbitt.

BBC / Giphy

It was filmed in the '80s, and he looked bloody gorgeous.

18. King David I suggested giving tax rebates to subjects with good table manners.

BBC / Giphy

Sadly, the idea didn't catch on, mainly because you'd have to monitor everyone in Scotland at every mealtime all of the time. Kings, eh?

19. And there's a fine of two cans of beer for any Scotsman caught wearing underwear under his kilt.

thekiltedcoaches.com

This odd law first cropped up in 1935, and might be a bit tricky to enforce. It was probably a joke, but it's best to leave your underwear at home just in case, guys.