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.
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.
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 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.
Opening photo from Photobucket.