Scottish People Reveal Backstories of Their Home, Culture and Identity
The Scottish people have a wealth of unique and meaningful customs, authentic artisanal traditions, and majestic historical monuments that shape Scottish culture. People Are Culture is pleased to share an ever-growing collection of stories and interviews that offer a deep dive into some of the cultural practices of Scotland.
Scotland is a wee county with Big Sky vistas, a grand history filled with inspiration and intrigue, and a rich cultural heritage encompassing Celts, castles and kilts, as well as Picts, pottery and poetry! Discover the search that never ends on the Isle of Skye.
If you are an armchair archaeologist who appreciates the mystery and ingenuity of ancient architecture and lifestyles, Scotland offers a tremendous breadth of sites to explore. The Bronze Age Clava Cairns, Neolithic Grey Cairns of Camster, and the reconstruction of a 2,500 year-old loch dwelling at the Scottish Crannog Centre are but a few of the Scottish monuments that inspire curiosity and wonder about the daily lives of their long-ago residents. The Iona Abbey, on the Isle of Iona on the country’s west coast, was the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland, founded by St. Columba in 563 A.D.; it remains a peaceful and contemplative destination for both pilgrims and tourists today.
Scotland also has a wealth of intangible cultural heritage that lives on today and is accessible to be experienced. Find delight in the wealth of wildlife in the waters of the Inner Hebrides around Mull and Iona. In the northernmost village of the Scottish Highlands, behold the choreography of border collies expertly herding sheep under the direction of their trainer. On the island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides, interact with the landscape by getting a lesson in cutting peat by a local on land that has been in his family for 11 generations. In Edinburgh, be enthralled with the power of spoken folklore at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. In Inveraray, meet the chief of the Clan Campbell and tour Inveraray Castle, his ancestral home.
Stories of Scottish People | Lay of the Land
The need to be heard and feel understood are part of our shared, universal human condition. Language and culture are closely intertwined–in many cases, people’s nationalities are identified by the tongue in which they speak. Within any given country, there can be more than one native tongue, as is the case with Scotland. The country is also a case study in why language can face extinction and how it can be revived. Read on to find out more about Scotland's three Mother tongues!
Scotland is a culture rich in folklore–stories that articulate shared history, values, beliefs, practices, offering context and texture for the group’s collective wisdom. In our article below, meet a master Scottish storyteller!
Stories of Scottish People | Highlands
While the connection between Place and Culture is universal, I personally have observed this relationship at its most dynamic in the Scottish Highlands. Here, I have witnessed how the meaning of Place informs identity; represents aspirations; serves as a sanctuary, inspiration and catalyst for memories, adventure, wonder, affirmation; and embodies a return to one’s roots. Perhaps most significantly, Place is a part of the fabric of everyday life in the Scottish Highlands, something that is sadly lacking in many parts of the world.
Do you love a good story well told? Be prepared to be spellbound in the Scottish Highlands and Hebrides, where the very names of places like MacLeod’s Tables and Fairy Glen on Skye are imbued with ancient lore; where Gaelic songs commemorate lost love, enduring friendships and mythical encounters; where Pictish standing stones, Viking settlements and ancient Irish monasteries speak of people from afar converging; where battlefields like Culloden and abandoned ruins of croft houses across Western Scotland tell of the Highland Clearances, a mass migration between 1750 - 1880 in which a significant number of Highlanders and Islanders were displaced from their traditional lands.
Whether you consider yourself to have Scottish roots or not, the country is sure to get under your skin in the best of ways. My hunch is your first visit will not be your last. In the meantime, enjoy these pieces that each offer a different glimpse of the Scottish Highlands!
At West House, Ullapool on Loch Broom in the Scottish Highlands, locals share stories of powerful instances of serendipity.
Stories of Scottish People | The Hebrides
Scottish Travel Itineraries
Stories of Scottish People | Lowlands
The Scottish Lowlands are, simply put, the region of Scotland that is not considered part of the Scottish Highlands. The demarcation is the Highland Boundary Fault, a geological break that cuts across the country horizontally from the Isle of Arran in the southwest to Stonehaven in the northeast. Within the Lowlands are two main regions. The Central Lowlands is where both of Scotland's major cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh are located, and more than 50% of the country's residents live. The Southern Uplands are a hilly, sparsely populated area that extends south-west from Edinburgh to the English border.
We give you a look at two very different and distinctive locales in the Lowlands: Glasgow, a trading port in West Central Scotland and the country's biggest city based on population (with 635k residents, vs Edinburgh's 527k) and Findhorn Ecovillage, with a population of about 500 people, based in the district of Moray in northeast Scotland. We present both places through the lens of their architecture. Glasgow is known for its early-20th-century "Glasgow Style", as developed by favorite son Charles Renne Mackintosh. Findhorn is an experimental architectural community project, designated by the U.N. as a Habitat Best Practice.