Fun Facts: Scotland Edition


It’s getting very exciting around here: The House on Candlewick Lane is released just two weeks from today! To get everyone in the mood to read about Scotland, and Edinburgh in particular, I have put together a list of some facts about Scotland you may  not have known.

The first fact on today’s list, and by far my favorite, is that the unicorn is Scotland’s national animal.

Second: Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, was the first city in the world to have its own fire brigade.

Third, the first recorded appearance of the Loch Ness Monster was in 565 AD.

Fourth, Scotland is home to the oldest tree in Europe, a 3,000-year-old twisted yew.

Fifth, the raincoat was invented in Scotland. And bonus fact: it was invented by a man named “Macintosh.”

Sixth, it is believed that the world’s first toilet was invented in Orkney, Scotland, in 3,000 BC.

Seventh, one of Scotland’s most famous products, whisky, was actually invented in China.

Eighth, Scotland’s national flower, and one of its national symbols, is the thistle.

Ninth, Scotland has the highest proportion of redheads in the world, at 13% of the population. About 40% of the population carry the recessive gene for red hair.

Tenth, the game of golf originated in Scotland in the 15th century.

Eleventh, Scotland is comprised of 790 islands, 130 of which are inhabited.

Twelfth, “Alba” is Gaelic for “Scotland.”

And finally, in 2004 Edinburgh became UNESCO’s first “City of Literature.”

This photo was taken on the Isle of Skye earlier this year:


Do you have a favorite fun fact? Do you know of others that I didn’t mention here? Share them with us!

Until next week,


19 thoughts on “Fun Facts: Scotland Edition”

  1. I visited Edinburgh many years ago – in August- and froze! It’s where I gained an appreciation for hot baths, which has stayed with me ever since. I truly believe that if a unicorn exists (existed), it would be in Scotland! 💚 Can’t wait for your new book.


    1. I agree about the unicorn–you can absolutely believe they gallop around Scotland. I think the weather is part of what I love about Scotland, since I’m someone who appreciates cold weather more than warm weather. 🙂


  2. Congrats on the release! I’ve heard stories about the Lochness monster, aka Nellie, but I never knew the first sighting that far back. I thought the sighting were more recent, from the 18th/19th century.


    1. Hi Lidy,

      Thanks for dropping by! I’m very excited about the release. When my family visited Scotland last spring, we went on a boat tour of Loch Ness. Alas, we did not see Nessie, but it was so cold that Nessie was probably hibernating! Back at the time of the first recorded sighting of Nessie, I think they referred to her as a “water beast.” 🙂


    1. Thanks, Claire! Researching Scotland and having the chance to visit were on my bucket list. I can’t wait to go back sometime. The far western part of Scotland is a place I haven’t had a chance to visit yet–maybe someday I can see the firth of Clyde in person. Glad you enjoyed the post!


  3. Well Amy! You have given some very interesting facts about Scotland, but missed out one of the greatest film character, in the name of Sean Connery, who played the role of James Bond in the earlier versions. His famed Scottish accent became famous and was one of the causes of his popularity. I was a great fan during my college days and never missed his films.


    1. You’re so right–I think Sean Connery is a great actor and a fascinating person. His talent and his accent are probably responsible for introducing Scotland to many people–long before Outlander and other films and television shows actually set in the country. Thanks for dropping in!


  4. Fascinating – but the unicorn? Well, who knew? Edinburgh rock is my favourite gift to buy in Scotland, after the dram o’ whiskey, a bit o’ tartan and a wee haggis 🙂


    1. I ate haggis while I was in Scotland, and I found that if I didn’t think about what I was eating, I didn’t mind it. I couldn’t do blood sausage, though. We traveled along the whisky trail for a ways and bought more whisky than one couple should drink, I’m afraid. But it’s all so different and incredible. We weren’t really whisky drinkers before our first trip to Scotland, but we are now! And I love tartan, no matter the colors or pattern, simply because there’s such a story connected with each one. Thanks for stopping by!


  5. We spent our honeymoon in Edinburgh. I love Scotland and am amazed I never knew about the Unicorn – so cool! We visited the Rosslyn Chapel over 18 years ago – way before it featured in Dan Browns Da Vinci Code. It is a beautifully magical place that is well worth a visit.


    1. Wow–a honeymoon in Edinburgh. That must have been incredible. I haven’t been to the Rosslyn Chapel, but it’s on my list for the next time I visit Scotland, which can’t be soon enough. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

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