Scotland is the second largest country in the United Kingdom and is situated in the north. Consisting of the Highlands, Central Lowlands and Southern Uplands, it also owns many hundreds of individual and beautifully unique islands, some of which are uninhabited.
The capital city is Edinburgh and the largest city is Glasgow. The other major cities are Inverness, Aberdeen, Perth, Dundee and Stirling.
The population is around 5.5 million people and the country spans circa 175 square miles.
Scotland has a limited self government within the UK as well as UK parliamentary representation. Some powers are devolved to the Scottish government and parliament here, which is led by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The economy was once heavily dominated by heavy manufacturing such as ship building, steel works and mining but like many other places, Scotland has had to move with the times and has seen a huge rise in the service sector. Edinburgh is certainly the financial capital of the country and is often mentioned in global lists of financial top cities, with many major companies choosing here as home to their head offices. Scotland has also reinforced its position as an attractive alternative from London, for major investments.
Scotland's Labour Market statistics recently found that it had one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, where 74.3% were in employment.
With several world class universities in Scotland and around 50% of all Scots undertaking some form of further education, there is massive potential for continued growth in areas such as oil and gas extraction, engineering, renewable energy, technology, creative industries, digital technology, agri food, logistics, production and manufacturing. Of course one can not leave out the huge revenues that are generated by hospitality and tourism. Pre covid, in 2019, an astonishing 11.5 billion pounds was spent by visitors.
The climate may be cool , wet and unpredictable but the people are friendly, giving, polite, honest, down to earth, hard working and resilient. They are fiercely proud of their Scottish heritage and traditions, one of these is the food. You simply must try their haggis (vegetarian options available) with neeps and tatties, seafoods, shortbread, tablets (like a fudge), porridge (with salt!) and of course not forgetting a wee dram of one of their famous whisky to wash it down.
Each Scottish town and city holds its own character and each offers different attractions. Some favourites include Edinburgh Castle, Loch Ness, Ben Nevis, The Royal Mile,Edinburgh Zoo,Balmoral, the Fairy Pools, Quiraing and Greyfriars.
Scotland's history has been influenced by so many, including the Vikings, Roman soldiers, kings, queens and bloody battles. Countless castles are still standing and their architecture reflects their fascinating past. Dramatic mountains, forests, glens and lochs remain unspoilt and have an air of mystery that has stood the test of time.
In April of this year, average house prices were £161,000 and prices have begun to drop slightly although fluctuations will occur as we begin to recover from Covid 19. However, it is still very possible that you can buy a magnificent, centuries old castle for less than the price of a London home. How's that for a bargain?