Scotland ()

Scotland ()

Moscow State Pedagogical University



the department of sociology,

economics and law


chair of English language



Course paper on the topic


by Gribacheva Alexandra,

a student of the 3rd year

Moscow 2000 The plan:


I. A few words about this work.

II. Scotland how does it look like?

1.Geographical position.


3.Plant & animal life.

4.Natural resources.


6.Scotlands government.

The main part.

I. Early peoples of Scotland & their relations.

II. we will never consent to subject ourselves to the dominion

of the English

III. Scotlands beautiful capital.


2.Edinburghs Castle

3.The Military Tattoo

4.St. Giles Cathedral.

5.Edinburghs museums.

6.Where life is one long festival.



1.A wee dram.

2.Scottish national dress.

3.A few words about tartan.

4.The national musical instrument of the Scots.

5.Highlands dances and games.

6.The famous Loch Ness.

7.St. Andrews Cross.

II.Scotland for every season.


Practical part.




I.A few words about this work.

Though Scotland is a part of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland it still remains an individual country with its own traditions, customs, history and the way of life. In one word, Scotland is not England at all. It is a country with a unique culture full of ancient legends, bright contrasts and mysterious castles. Secrets and mystery always appear immediately when you open a book about Scotland.

But unfortunately you can come across such a problem as lack of literature on this topic. I was lucky to find several books that gave exhaustive information about this magic country. I was so exited by the Scottish national heroes and by this independent nation that I decided to find out more information about them.

Some people say that if you havent been in Venice you havent seen Italy at all. I can say that if you havent been in Scotland you havent seen Britain at all. As for me I was lucky to visit the capital of England London. But alas! I didnt have any opportunity to visit or just to have a glimpse of Scotland, a land of festivals, kilts and bagpipes.

It seemed to me that after visiting London I know everything about Britain. And only after reading several books about Scotland I realized how wrong I had been. Now I can just say: I wish I were in Scotland!

I was seized with an idea of studying more about it and that is why I decided to take this topic for my course paper. I am not sure that I will be able to tell everything that I found out about this country and its people. But I promise to depict all unforgettable events and traditions of the Scottish people that impressed me most of all.

II.Scotland what does it look like?

1.Geographical position

Scotland, administrative division of the kingdom of Great Britain, occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain. Scotland is

bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean; on the east by the North Sea; on the southeast by England; on the south by Solway Firth, which

partly separates it from England, and by the Irish Sea; and on the west by

North Channel, which separates it from Ireland, and by the Atlantic Ocean.

As a geopolitical entity Scotland includes 186 nearby islands, the majority of which are contained in three groups-namely, the Hebrides, also known as the Western Islands, situated off the western coast; the Orkney Islands, situated off the northeastern coast; and the Shetland Islands, situated northeast of the Orkney Islands. The largest of the other islands is the Island of Arran. The area, including the islands, is 78,772 sq km (30,414 sqmi).

Scotland has a very irregular coastline. The western coast in particular is deeply penetrated by numerous arms of the sea, most of which are narrow submerged valleys, known locally as sea lochs[1], and by a number of broad indentations, generally called firths. The principal firths are the Firth of Lorne, the Firth of Clyde, and Solway Firth.

Scotland is characterized by an abundance of streams and lakes (lochs). Notable among the lakes, which are especially numerous in the central and northern regions, are Loch Lomond (the largest), Loch Ness, Loch Tay, and Loch Katrine.

Many of the rivers of Scotland, in particular the rivers in the west, are short, torrential streams, generally of little commercial importance. The longest river of Scotland is the Tay; the Clyde, however, is the principal navigational stream, site of the port of Glasgow. Other chief rivers include the Forth, Tweed, Dee, and Spey.


Like the climate of the rest of Great Britain, that of Scotland is subject to the moderating influences of the surrounding seas. As a result of these influences, extreme seasonal variations are rare, and temperate winters and cool summers are the outstanding climatic features. Low temperatures however, are common during the winter season in the mountainous districts of the interior. In the western coastal region, which is subject to the moderating effects of the Gulf Stream, conditions are somewhat milder than in the east.

3.Plant and Animal Life

The most common species of trees indigenous to Scotland are oak and conifers-chiefly fir, pine, and larch. Large forested areas, however, are rare, and the only important woodlands are in the southern and eastern Highlands. Except in these wooded areas, vegetation in the elevated regions consists largely of heather, ferns, mosses, and grasses. Saxifrage, mountain willow, and other types of alpine and arctic flora occur at elevations above 610 m (2000 ft). Practically all of the cultivated plants of Scotland were imported from America and the European continent.

The only large indigenous mammal in Scotland is the deer. Both the red deer and the roe deer are found, but the red deer, whose habitat is the Highlands, is by far the more abundant of the two species. Other indigenous mammals are the hare, rabbit, otter, ermine, pine marten, and

wildcat. Game birds include grouse, blackcock, ptarmigan, and waterfowl. The few predatory birds include the kite, osprey, and golden eagle. Scotland is famous for the salmon and trout that abound in its streams and lakes. Many species of fish, including cod, haddock, herring, and various types of shellfish, are found in the coastal waters.

4.Natural Resources

Scotland, like the rest of the island of Great Britain, has significant reserves of coal. It also possesses large deposits of zinc, chiefly in the south. The soil is generally rocky and infertile, except for that of the Central Lowlands. Northern Scotland has great hydroelectric power potential and contains Great Britain's largest hydroelectric generating stations. Beginning in the late 1970s, offshore oil deposits in the North Sea became an important part of the Scottish economy. The most important city here is Aberdeen which is the oil centre of the country. Ships and helicopters travel from Aberdeen to the North Sea oil rigs. Therefore, Scotland is rather rich in natural resources and sometimes can even condition to England.


The people of Scotland, like those of Great Britain in general, are descendants of various racial stocks, including the Picts, Celts, Scandinavians, and Romans. Scotland is a mixed rural-industrial society. Scots divide themselves into Highlanders, who consider themselves of purer Celtic blood and retain a stronger feeling of the clan, and Lowlanders, who are largely of Teutonic blood.

6.Scotlands government.

Government in Scotland is in four tiers. A new Scottish Parliament was elected in 1999, following devolution of powers from the United Kingdom Parliament in London. This is the first time Scotland has had its own parliament in 300 years. The Scottish Parliament, which sits in Edinburgh, is responsible for most aspects of Scottish life. The national parliament in Westminster (London) retains responsibility for areas such as defence, foreign affairs and taxation. The European Parliament in Brussels (Belgium) exercises certain powers vested in the European Union.

The Scottish Parliament is supported by the Scottish Executive also based in Edinburgh. The Scottish Government is led by a First Minister. A Secretary of State for Scotland remains part of the UK Cabinet, and is supported by the Scotland Office (previously the Scottish Office) based in Glasgow, with offices in Edinburgh and London.

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Local government is divided into 29 unitary authorities and three island authorities, having been subject to a major reorganization in 1995.

Scotland has its own legal system, judiciary and an education system which, at all levels, differs from that found "south of the border" in England and Wales.

Scotland also has its own banking system and its own banknotes. Edinburgh is the second financial centre of the UK and one of the major financial centres of the world.

The main part.


I.Early peoples of Scotland and their relations.

(see Appendices, page 23)

Most historians agree that the first man appeared in Scotland as long ago as 6,000 BC. Bone and antler fishing spears and other rudimentary implements found along the western part of the country serve as evidence to support this theory. The Beaker civilization [2]arrived three thousand years later, and is notable for its henges (of which Stonehenge is one of the most famous). The Beaker people eventually spread as far north as Orkney.

As a result of its geography, Scotland has two different societies. In the center of Scotland mountains stretch to the far north and across to the west, beyond which lie many islands. To the east and to the south the lowland hills are gentler, and much of the countryside is like England, rich, welcoming and easy to farm. North of the Highland Line[3] people stayed tied to their own family groups. South and east of this line society was more easily influenced by the changes taking place in England.

Scotland was populated by four separate groups of people. The main group, the Picts, lived mostly in the north and northeast. They spoke Celtic as well as another, probably older, language completely unconnected with any known language today, and they seem to have been the earliest inhabitants of the land.

The non-Pictish inhabitants were mainly Scots. The Scots were Celtic settlers who started to move into the western Highlands from Ireland in the fourth century.

In 843 the Pictish and Scottish kingdoms were united under a Scottish king, who could also probably claim the Picts throne through his mother, in this way obeying both Scottish and Pictish rules of kingship.

The third inhabitants were the Britons, who inhabited the Lowlands, and had been part of the Romano-British world. They had probably given up their old tribal way of life by the sixth century.

Finally, there were Angels from Nothambria who had pushed northwards into the Scottish Lowlands.

Unity between Picts, Scots and Britons was achieved for several reasons. They shared a common Celtic culture, language and background. Their economy mainly depended on keeping animals. These animals were owned by the tribe as a hole, and for this reason land was also held by tribes, not by individual people. The common economic system increased their feeling of belonging to the same kind of society and the difference from the agricultural Lowlands. The sense of common culture may have been increased by marriage alliances between tribes. This idea of common landholding remained strong until the tribes of Scotland, called clans[4], collapsed in the eighteenth century.

The spread of Celtic Christianity also helped to unite the people. The first Christian mission to Scotland had come to southwest Scotland in about AD 400. Later, in 563, Columba, known as the Dove of the Church, came from Ireland. Through his work both Highland Scots and Picts were brought to Christianity. He even, so it is said, defeated a monster in Loch Ness, the first mention of this famous creature. By the time of the Synod of Whitby in 663, the Picts, Scots and Britons had all been brought closer together by Christianity.

The Angles were very different from the Celts. They had arrived in Britain in family groups, but they soon began to accept the authority from people outside their own family. This was partly due to their way of life. Although they kept some animals, they spent more time growing crops. This meant that land was held by individual people, each man working in his own field. Land was distributed for farming by the local lord. This system encouraged the Angles of Scotland to develop a non-tribal system of control, as the people of England further south were doing. This increased their feeling of difference from the Celtic tribal Highlanders further north.

Finally, as in Ireland and in Wales, foreign invaders increased the speed of political change. Vikings attacked the coastal areas of Scotland, and they settled on many of the islands, Shetland, the Orkneys, the Hebrides, and the Isle of Man southwest of Scotland. In order to resist them, Picts and Scots fought together against the enemy raiders and settles. When they couldnt push them out of the islands and coastal areas, they had to deal with them politically. At first the Vikings, or Norsemen, still served the King of Norway. But communications with Norway were difficult. Slowly the earls of Orkney and other areas found it easier to accept the king of Scots as their overlord, rather than the more distant king of Norway.

However, as the Welsh had also discovered, the English were a greater danger than the Vikings. In 934 the Scots were seriously defeated by a Wessex army pushing northwards. The Scots decided to seek the friendship of the English, because of the likely losses from war. England was obviously stronger than Scotland but, luckily for the Scots, both the north of England and Scotland were difficult to control from London. The Scots hoped that if they were reasonably peaceful the Sassenachs[5] would leave them along.

Scotland remained a difficult country to rule even from its capital, Edinburgh. Anyone looking at a map of Scotland can see that control of the Highlands and islands was a great problem. Travel was often impossible in winter, and slow and difficult in summer. It was easy for a clan chief or noble to throw off the rule of the king.

II. we will never consent to subject ourselves to the dominion of the English.

England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland were once known as the British Isles. Nowadays this term is normally used only in Geography. In fact, the people of these isles have seldom been politically or culturally united. English kings started wars to unite the British Isles from the 12th century. These wars were wars of conquest and only the Welsh war was a success.

At that time England was ruled by several ambitious kings, who wanted to conquer more countries for themselves and to add more titles to their names. They had, as a rule, absolutely no interest in the people of the countries that they wished to conquer. It did not concern them that these wars brought misery to the people in whose land they fought. The result was generally to create a strong, national, patriotic feeling in the invaded country, and a great hatred of the invader.

I dont have much space here to speak about the history of Scotland in details that is why Id like to mention one historical episode which shows the Scottish attitude towards freedom and independence. (For the chronology of the events in the history of Scotland see Appendices,

page 24).

Although Scottish kings had sometimes accepted the English king as their overlord, they were much stronger than the many Welsh kings had been. Scotland owes its clan system partly to an Englishwoman, Margaret, the Saxon Queen of Malcolm III. After their marriage in 1069, she introduced new fashions and new ideas to the Scottish court and among the new ideas was the feudal system of land tenure. Until that time, most of the country had been divided into seven semi-independent tribal provinces. Under the feudal system, all land belonged to the king, who distributed it among his followers in exchange for allegiance and service. But a Highland chieftain could easily ignore a far-off Lowland king and, as time went by, the clan chiefs became minor kings themselves. They made alliances with other clans, had the power of life and death over their followers.

By the 11th century there was only one king of Scots, and he ruled over all the south and east of Scotland. In Ireland and Wales Norman knights were strong enough to fight local chiefs on their own. But only the English king with a large army could hope to defeat the Scots. Most English kings did not even try, but Edward I was different.

The Scottish kings were closely connected with England. Since Saxon times marriages had frequently taken place between the Scottish and English royal families. At the same time the Scottish kings wanted to establish strong government and so they offered land to Norman knights from England in return for their loyalty.

In 1290 a crises took place over the succession to the Scottish throne. On a stormy night in 1286 King Alexander of Scotland was riding home along a path by the sea in the dark. His horse took a false step, and the king was thrown from the top of a cliff.

Disputes arose at once among all those who had any claim at all to the Scottish throne. Finally two of the claimants, John de Balliol and Robert Bruce, were left. Scottish nobles wanted to avoid civil war and invited Edward I to settle the matter. Edward had already shown interest in joining Scotland to his kingdom. He wanted his son to marry Margaret, the heir to the Scottish throne, but she had died in a shipwreck. Now he had another chance. He told both men that they must do homage to him, and so accept his overlordship, before he would help settle the question. He then invaded Scotland and put one of them, John de Balliol, on the Scottish throne.

De Balliols four years as a king were not a success. First Edward made him provide money and troops for the English army and the Scottish nobles rebelled. They felt that Edward was ruining their country.

Then Edward invaded Scotland again, and captured all the main Scottish castles. During this invasion he stole the sacred Stone of Destiny from Scone Abbey. The legend said that all Scottish kings must sit on it. Edward believed that without the Stone, any Scottish coronation would be meaningless, and that his own possession of the Stone would persuade the Scots to accept him as king. However, neither he nor his successors became kings of Scots, and the Scottish kings managed perfectly well without the stone.

All this led to the creation a popular resistance movement. At first it was led by William Wallace, a Norman-Scottish knight. But after one victory against English army, Wallaces peoples army was itself destroyed by Edward in 1297.

It seemed that Edward had won after all. Wallace was captured and executed. His head was put on a pole on London Bridge. Edward tried to make Scotland a part of England as he had already done with Wales. Some Scottish nobles accepted him, but the people refused to be ruled by the English king. Scottish nationalism was born on the day Wallace died.

A new leader took up the struggle. This was Robert Bruce, who had competed with John de Balliol for the throne. He was able to raise an army and defeat the English army in Scotland. Edward the I gathered another great army and marched against Robert Bruce, but he died on the way north in 1327. On Edwards grave were written the words Edward, the Hammer of the Scots. He had intended to hammer them into the ground and destroy them, but in fact he had hammered them into a nation.

After Edwards death Bruce had enough time to defeat his Scottish enemies, and make himself accepted as king of the Scots. He then began to win back the castles still held by the English. When the son of his old enemy Edward II invaded Scotland in 1314 Bruce destroyed his army at Bannockburn, near Stirling. Six years later, in 1320, the Scots clergy meeting in Arbroath wrote to the Pope in Rome to tell him that they would never accept English authority: for as long as even one hundred of us remain alive, we will never consent to subject ourselves to the dominion of the English.

In the long, bitter struggle for independence, Scotland never capitulated, and when at last it became part of the United Kingdom in 1707 it was by treaty, even if many Scots regarded the Act of Union[6] as a piece of treachery. It is still a land apart, with a very separate culture. Scotland retained its separate legal and ecclesiastical systems, and until well into the 20th century its separate system of free education was the most advanced and generous in Britain. Nowadays, it has its own Parliament.

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2009 .