Scotland: Meeting Unicorns

While reading the dossier written by the journalist “du Monde” and I have the urge to go to Scotland to discover this country in a new light. That’s what I put on my Scottish ToDoList :

1. La Haie la plus haute du monde

The Meikleour Beech Hedge is the longest hedge in Britain and the highest of its kind in the world. Recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the highest hedge in the world, the Meikleour Beech Hedge was planted in 1745 and is one third of a mile long (530 m) and 100 ft (30 m) high. It is thought the men who planted it were called to fight in the Jacobite Rebellion and none of them returned alive. In tribute the trees were allowed to grow and the hedge acts as a living landmark to them.


2. Europe’s oldest tree : Fortingall Yew 

Located in the churchyard of the village of Fortingall in Perthshire, Scotland, the Fortingall Yew is estimated to be 3,000 – 5,000 years old which means it could be Europe´s oldest tree. With its massive trunk of 52 feet (16 meters) in diameter, the yew is still in good health and may last for many more centuries.

3. The shortest commercial flight in the world is in Scotland.

Operated by Loganair, the world’s shortest commercial flight takes place between the two Orkney Islands, Westray and Papa Westray, north of Scotland. The flight covers a distance of only 1.7 miles (2.7 km)and if the weather conditions are favorable, it can be completed in just 47 seconds.

4. Scotland has approximately 800 islands.

Few people know Scotland can boast of almost 800 islands. Only about 100 of them are permanently inhabited which means the remaining islands offer pristine nature, breathtaking views and unique wildlife. The Hebrides, for example, provide breeding grounds for many important seabird species including the world’s largest colony of northern gannets.

5. The small Scots town of Bonnybridge has become the UFO capital of the world.

The town has more than 300 sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects reported every year.

6. More redheads than anywhere else

Scotland has the highest proportion of red-haired people in the world.

As much as 13% of the Scottish population has red hair and approximately 40% carry the recessive redhead gene. Ireland comes second with 10% of redheads.
Skara Brae

7. Skara Brae

Skara Brae, un site archéologique vieux de 5000ans, fait partie d’un ensemble de sites archéologiques Patrimoine Mondial de l’Humanité de l’UNESCO nommé “Coeur Néolithique des Orcades”.

8.The unicorn is the official national animal of Scotland

Since the 12th century, the unicorn is the official animal of Scotland. This choice is strange, however, the country is very known for its love for mystical stories and legends. It was already the emblem of William the 1st. In Celtic mythology, the Scotch unicorn represents innocence and purity. It also represents the power of healing, joy and life itself. It is also seen as a sign of power and masculinity. In the 15th century, certain pieces of gold were struck with unicorns.