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A visiting scot share joys of living in Scotland

By Staff | Apr 17, 2009

Sanibel is so Beautiful. Why Would I Want To Go To Scotland?

An interesting question, but only to someone who does not know Scotland. So let’s look at the pros and cons. Sanibel has great beaches. Well yes, but so does Scotland. Travel up the east coast through Fife and Angus and you will encounter miles and miles of golden sand.

Even better, travel up the west coast to, for example, Arisaig and you will find white sand and azure water, set in a landscape of majestic mountains and rugged shorelines. And there is something else peace and quiet.

There are lots of easily accessible little coves to which you can escape and imagine that you are the only person in this idyllic spot. But maybe sitting on the beach is not your thing. How about a game of golf? Scotland is the home of golf and has so many courses that even the keenest aficionado would die of old age before sampling all of the offerings.

But a word of warning to the enthusiasts. Many American golfers do the grand tour and play The Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Troon, Turnberry, Muirfield, Prestwich and Gleneagles, the Titans of golfing history and return home with more debt than the average US investment bank. But it need not be so. St. Andrews has five other challenging courses, including The New Course, where “New” still means that it is older than most of America. You can play Montrose, the fifth oldest course in Scotland and a public course, for a pittance. So, as long as you are selective, you can play some of the best courses and still have enough money left over for a light refreshment at the 19th hole (i.e. a drink in the bar) to discuss just how good your score would have been if only.

And talking about a “wee dram” brings us to that other great Scottish delight whisky. And I don’t mean that blended firewater that masquerades as whisky. I’m talking about genuine, Scottish distilled single malt.

You can visit the island of Islay and find friendly people (all of the local car drivers wave to you – disconcerting at first but very friendly), delicious food, based on simply prepared local produce, a fine golf course and seven distilleries, six of which you can visit for a wee tasting.

We even have a well-signposted whisky trail, in the shadow of the Cairngorm Mountains, which will lead you from distillery to distillery to delightful oblivion, if you so desire. What more can you ask? Well, there is more.

Have you ever seen a guy throwing a telegraph pole? No? You need to see Scottish Highland games, where brawny men toss cabers (telegraph poles) and take part in other trials of strength, with highland dancing as a side show. Not to be missed. We have great cities like Glasgow or Edinburgh, with its annual festival, Aberdeen Angus beef (yes very Scottish). And would you really eat anything other than Scottish salmon, smoked or simply grilled?

If you would like to catch it yourself, you can even fish some of the finest rivers in the world. And just to make things easy, Scots speak a variant of the English language, just like the Americans! Finally, if you are interested in history, Scotland is the place. Beautiful castles, ancient battlefields and many, many examples of the historical links between Scotland and America.

You could combine two of these by visiting President Eisenhower’s apartment in Culzean Castle in Ayrshire. On the subject of history, remember that the Scots and the Americans shared a common thread. We both fought the English.

For those of you who are animal lovers, you will fall instantly in love with highland cattle and, of course, Scottie dogs, the real symbol of the Scottish spirit. They may be small but they will tackle anything, no matter how big or how frightening.

And it is so easy to travel around because Scotland is quite a small country. Well, I need to be careful here. You may have sensed my national fervor, causing a little bit of exaggeration. Some of the roads, particularly in the north of the country or on the islands are “interesting”. But you will be on holiday, so, what’s the rush.

This year is Homecoming Year in Scotland. It is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, our national poet and a man who really had a way with words. It is a great opportunity for all Scots, descendants of Scots and all who love the finer things in life to come home and celebrate with us.

We will make you most welcome. So book your ticket now. Summer in Scotland is beautiful and you know you want to be there, don’t you?