My Scotland, by Heather L. Reid

Scotland. A mysterious land shrouded in mist. Ancient castles rise from the moss green mountains. Grey skies weep above the wind-swept moors. Monsters lurk in Highland Lochs. Bagpipes whine through her city streets. Men in kilts roam the haunted forests and glens, revenants of fierce battles fought throughout the centuries.  Picts, Romans, Vikings, Normans, English, their blood drenched this rugged and wild landscape. The footsteps of William Wallace are deeply imprinted on the soil and in the heart of Scotland herself.

This stereotypical view of Scotland is at least part true. The sky weeps considerably, gales blow across the moors and castles and ancient ruins are as common as trees. Unfortunately, most men opt for pants these days instead of Kilts, with the exception of special occasions such as Weddings. I wish they wore them more often. I do love a man in a kilt.

Monument at Culloden

The, rugged, brooding, atmospheric landscape of Scotland is stunning.  Even more so are the crisp blue water and white sandy Highland beaches. The weather doesn’t allow for much beach time, but without the chill wind, this beach in Nairn would fool you into thinking you were in the Caribbean. Scotland also boasts Britain’s highest peak. Ben Nevis, or Beinn Nibheis in Gaelic, is part of the Grampian mountain range and rises 1344 metres (4409 ft) above sea level which makes it a fantastic year round ski resort.

A Scotland Beach

Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic language native to Scotland is only spoken by about 1% of the population, the main stronghold of the language being the isles of the Outer Hebrides.  Despite this decline, revival efforts are ongoing. There are Gaelic radio stations, schools, and television to keep the language alive. Although Gaelic is the most famous language of Scotland, it isn’t the only one. Scots is spoken more often than Gaelic, but is harder to recognize as people tend to confuse it as English with a Scottish accent. Indeed, Scots was the spoken and written language of the Scottish state for four hundred years. It wasn’t until Scotland became part of Great Britain in 1707 and moved their government to London, that Scots gave way to English.

Scots does not have the public support that Gaelic does. There are no radio or TV broadcastings in Scots. It is not taught in school, and has been reduced to a purely spoken language. In fact, until the beginning of the 1980s, Scottish children were punished for talking Scots in school. Once an independent language used by people on all social levels Sadly, Scots is now thought of as a dialect of English, a dialect thought of as Scottish slang because it is not proper English. If you visit Scotland, you’re likely to hear these phrases, all stemming from Scots.

  • Aboot – About
  • Ain – Own
  • Auld – Old
  • Aye – Yes
  • Bahooky – Backside, bum
  • Bairn – Baby
  • Blether – Talkative, when      referred to a person. To “have a blether” is to have a chat.
  • Bonnie – Beautiful
  • Bowfing – Smelly,      horrible
  • Braw – Good, or brilliant
  • Breeks – Trousers
  • Cannae      – cant, such as I cannae make it to the pub tonight.
  • Crabbit – Bad tempered
  • Dae – Do
  • Dauner – Walk –      “I’m away for a dauner”
  • Didnae – Didn’t
  • Dinnae – Don’t
  • Drookit – Soaking wet
  • Dunderheid, Eejit, Galoot,      Numptie – All mean idiot
  • Dunt – Bump
  • Fae – From – “I’m fae      Glasgow”
  • Gallus – Bravado,      over-confident
  • Gaunnae – Going to
  • Greet – Cry
  • Hame – Home
  • Haud – Hold
  • Haver – Talk rubbish
  • Hing – Hang
  • Hoachin’ – Very busy
  • Honkin’, Hummin’, Howlin’ – Bad      smell
  • Hoose – House
  • Hunner – Hundred
  • Huvnae – Haven’t
  • Keek – A little look
  • Ken – Know “I dinnae      ken’’- I didn’t know
  • Lum – Chimney
  • Mair – More
  • Merrit – Married
  • Mockit, Manky, Mingin’,      Boggin’ – All mean dirty
  • Neep, Tumshie – Turnip
  • Peely Wally – Pale
  • Riddy – A red face,      embarrassed
  • Scunnered – Bored, fed up
  • Shoogle – Shake
  • Skelp – Slap
  • Sleekit – Sly
  • Stookie – Plaster cast      (for a broken bone)
  • Stour – Dust
  • Tattie – Potato
  • Wean – Child
  • Whit – What
  • Willnae – Will not
  • Widnae – Would not
  • Windae – Window
  • Yer – Your
  • Yin – One

As an American expat living here, the notion of Scotland was one of ancient tradition, magic and romance. I wasn’t disappointed. After five years, I’m still in love with her cities, her barbaric history, turmoil, triumph, and defeat. I’ve come to her with a fresh eye, with passion in my heart, with her stories and myths running through my blood. Distant roots of my ancestors, generations past, tether me to the clans of old. Scotland is in my blood. So in the words of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns:

O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to heaven is sent;
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content.

Heather L. Reid

Heather L. Reid eats mayonnaise on her fries, loves men in kilts, and met her husband playing Star Wars Galaxies online. This native Texan now lives with her Scottish hubby in North Ayrshire, Scotland, where she wanders the moors in search of William Wallace. She has been a guest blogger on Writer Unboxed and is currently working on her YA supernatural novel, Touched by Darkness.

You can find her at  on her Facebook Page or Twitter. Other posts about Scotland:

Reviving my Muse: The Beauty of Scotland

A Fab Day Reviving my Muse at Culzean Castle Scotland

Opening photo from Photobucket.



Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Special Events

29 responses to “My Scotland, by Heather L. Reid

  1. Pingback: I'd Rather be Writing » Blog Archive » My Scotland

  2. What would you do if you found William Wallace? I would love to read that interview. I loved this; I could hear the bagpipes and see the romance of the moors. Thank you for the language lesson, as well. I am one who thought Scots was merely a dialect. Karen, props to you for International Week. I could read posts like this one and Niamh Clune’s for months. Sort of a “Have imagination, will travel” kind of thing. One day I’ll do the real thing!

    • Tonia, I would love to interview William Wallace. Who knows, maybe I’ll run into his ghost wandering around Ayrshire. I thought Scots was a dialect as well. In fact, most Scottish people don’t realise it’s a language. 🙂 I love the sound of bagpipes they make me cry! Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  3. Another wonderful post for International Week, yes! And the language lesson helped me on Jeopardy last night. Scotland is another place on my bucket list.

  4. Karen, Your idea for an international week was truly inspired. Heahter, Your travelogue of Scotland was excellent. After a trip back to Ireland with Niamh Clune yesterday and your trip through the homeland of my maternal ancestors, I’ve taken two fantastic journeys with two talented writers. But why do these essays always remind me of some pub? Heather, you had me right back in the Broadford Hotel on Skye drinking a pint of McEwans listening to three old men speaking the Gaelic. Okay, I’m getting on the ferry to Kyle and taking a long drive up to the Applecross Peninsula. Thanks again, Ladies.

  5. I am LOVING this international week – so much fun, and ever so informative. I truly enjoy discovering new lands and new people from those wonderful places.

  6. Great post! I didn’t know that there was a separate Scots language. And I’m truly saddened to hear men don’t wear kilts. 😉

  7. Wonderful post. I loved the language examples. At local writer’s conferences here in Colorado, we’ll see the random guy in a kilt. Always requires a second look.

  8. Thanks everyone for your comments – I’m having trouble keeping up! Glad everyone is enjoying the posts. I’m in serious trouble … my credit card is telling me I need to contact a travel agent.

  9. Stacy, I love that you’ve got a random kilt wearing guy at the local conference. Just to let you know, a real Scotsman goes cammando under his kilt.

  10. Great post: informative and well written. Of course I might be a bit biased as a displaced Scot in the US of A. Walk some silent glens for me :o)

  11. Again, another inspiring post. Thank you Heather for sharing the beauty of your country, the language, and the customs and traditions. Absolutely beatufiful!

  12. You make me homesick for Scotland, and I’ve only been there once, for a few days about ten years ago! Fantastic place.

  13. Fabulous post, Heather! Isn’t it amazing how easy it is to write about land? We Celts certainly carry poetry and love of land in our souls.

  14. Between the Ireland and Scotland posts, I’m feeling a greater urge to go to my ancestors’ homelands, Ireland and Wales. My soul is sighing.

  15. Another great read. By far, this is the best series of articles articulated from a blog that I have had the privilege to read. You stated you would give me another story just like the one by Naimh right between the eyes and you did just like you said you would. Can’t wait for the next one.

  16. Thank you to Karen for inviting me to share my vision of Scotland with all of you. And thank you for your comments. I’m off to Texas to visit my family for Thanksgiving tomorrow, but will be checking in to read the other international posts. I can’t wait!

  17. Brian – both Niamh and Heather … what can I say? They nailed it. A little break for the American Thanksgiving holiday (and so you can catch your breath), but coming up – Prem on India, Susannah on Australia, and Tom on China.

  18. Heather, this is great 🙂 I never knew the whole language differences….such an informative post on so many levels. I am such a sucker for the accent!
    I have a real hankering to get to Scotland (less so now that I know the whole kilt thing is something of a myth! LOL) And just like Niamh did, you wrote of it so beautifully that I felt like I was there. Lovely 🙂

  19. Pingback: An American Thanksgiving | Karen S. Elliott's Blog

  20. Heather, thanks for transporting us to Scotland. Your post is so full and rich with imagery that I could visualize the scenes as if they were there right in front of my eyes. Look forward to following your blog. What do they say in Scotland for “Bye and take care”?

    • Hi Prem, thank you for your kind words. 🙂 I’m sorry I didn’t get to answer you sooner. I’ve been traveling home to see my family in the States for Thanksgiving and just now noticed your question. You would usually say “See you later” and “Aw the best” for take care.

  21. It gives me the spirit of wanting to visit Scotland and visit the famous places there wearing a mens kilts and take a picture of me. Thanks for sharing!

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