The landscape of Scotland consists not only of the natural
landscape of the mountains and lochs, but also the cultural
and spiritual landscape of the Scottish People. As you browse
through these pages I hope they will give you some appreciation
that Scotland is not just a beautiful place, but a landscape
of the mind.
A Brief Portrait Of Scotland
from continental Europe by the North Sea, Scotland occupies
the northern third of the Island of Great Britain. Its nearest
neighbors are Ireland to the west, the Netherlands, Germany,
Denmark and Norway to the east, and England on its southern
border. Scotland is a fairly isolated land made up of rugged
terrain, deep coastal inlets, and many islands. The highest
peak is Ben Nevis ( 4,406 ft ) The isolation and ruggedness
have combined to keep Scotland's population small and its land
empty, but they have also helped to make my fellow Scots an
independent, proud, and determinedly self-reliant people.
country is washed on the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean
and on the east by the North Sea. Its breadth varies from 154
miles to as little as 26 miles. The country has 2,300 miles
of coastline, an incredible length for the size of the mainland.
Scotland is indeed a land of contrasts, from the austere majesty
of the mountains to the subtle undulations of the Lowland valleys,
and from the dramatic cliffs to the dense forests. The country
also boasts 787 major islands; almost all lying off the northern
or western coasts. Picturesque lochs and rivers are scattered
throughout the whole country.
country is a Geologists playground, with rocks displaying 3
billion years of geological time. Starting with hard granite
in the Western Isles, which was formed before life itself developed
on earth, the rocks tell a long story of lava flows, eras of
mountain-building, numerous ice ages and even a time when the
land was briefly separated from England.
major fault and thrust lines, running across Scotland from northeast
to southwest, define the main geological zones. The U-shaped
valleys in the Highlands are a legacy of the last Ice Age. The
weight and movements of glaciers broke off spurs, deepening
and rounding out the existing river valleys. The Basalt Columns
of the Isle Of Staffa were formed 60 million years ago as a
flow of lava cooled slowly, contracting and fracturing in a
distinctive hexagonal pattern similar to the Giant's Causeway
in Ireland. The Devonian Sandstone in the Orkney Islands has
eroded the horizontally layered rock into spectacular cliffs
and stacks, as with the Old Man Of Hoy.
Scotland's Best-Loved Driving... Driving Tours. Everything
You Need to See the Best of Scotland by Car!
Scotland: Touring Map Scotland This easy-to-use map features
all of Scotland's most interesting tourist attractions.