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Scotland

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===By plane===
 
There is a wide selection of direct European flights into Scotland from most major cities on the Continent; and a growing number of direct long haul routes from further afield.  Most long haul passengers will still usually enter Scotland via a connection from London Heathrow or another major European hub airport such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt or Paris.
 
 
* '''Aberdeen International Airport''', 8 miles north west of the city, has direct flights from Alicante, Amsterdam, Bergen, Copenhagen, Dublin, Esbjerg, Faro, Groningen, Kristiansand, Malaga, Murcia, Oslo, Palma, Paphos, Paris, Stavanger and Tenerife. As there are frequent direct flights from London, you can also connect to destinations worldwide via London airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick.
 
* '''Edinburgh Airport''', 10 miles west of the city, has direct flights from Abu Dhabi, Alicante, Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Basel, Bergerac, Bergen, Berlin, Billund, Bratislava, Bremen, Brussels, Budapest, Chicago, Cologne, Copenhagen, Cork, Doha, Dortmund, Dublin, Dubrovnik, Dusseldorf, Faro, Frankfurt, Galway, Gdansk, Geneva, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Ibiza, Istanbul, Katowice, Kaunas, Knock, Krakow, Lisbon, Lyon, Madrid, Mahon, Malaga, Malta, Marseille, Milan, Munich, Murcia, New York (Newark and JFK), Nice, Oslo, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Paris, Pisa, Poznan, Prague, Pula, Rennes, Reykjavik, Rome, Shannon, Sharm el Sheikh, Stavanger, Stockholm, Tampere, Tenerife, Toronto, Toulouse, Venice, Vilnius and Zurich. You can also connect to destinations worldwide via London, with frequent direct shuttle flights from all London airports.
 
* '''Glasgow International Airport''', 8 miles west of the city, has direct flights from Alicante, Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Bourgas, Calgary, Copenhagen, Dominican Republic, Dubai, Dublin, Faro, Geneva, Gran Canaria, Heraklion, Las Vegas, Madeira, Malta, New York (Newark), Orlando, Palma de Mallorca, Paris, Philadelphia, Reykjavík, Sharm el Sheikh, Tenerife, Toronto and Vancouver. You can also connect worldwide via London.
 
* '''Glasgow Prestwick International Airport''', situated 30 miles south west of Glasgow, is a hub of budget airline [http://www.ryanair.com Ryanair] with occasional flights from Barcelona, Ibiza, Girona, Malta, Malaga and Rome. Be aware that there is an additional train journey of up to an hour from this airport into Glasgow city centre. [http://www.aerarann.ie Aer Arann] flys twice weekly from Donegal International Airport into Prestwick.
 
* '''Inverness Airport''', situated 7 miles north east of the city.
 
* '''Dundee Airport''', situated a few miles from the city centre with domestic flights to London Stansted.
 
 
There are many UK domestic flights operating to Scotland including:
 
*[http://www.bmiregional.com/en bmi regional] flights from Bristol, Manchester and Norwich
 
*[http://www.british-airways.co.uk British Airways] flights from London (Heathrow, Gatwick and City)
 
*[http://www.easternairways.com Eastern Airways] flights from Birmingham, Durham Tees Valley, Humberside, Leeds-Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham East Midlands, and Southampton.
 
*[http://www.easyjet.com Easyjet] flights from London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted, Bristol, and Belfast.
 
*[http://www.flybe.com Flybe ] flights from Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Exeter, Jersey, London City, Manchester, Newquay, Norwich and Southmapton.
 
*[http://www.virgin-atlantic.com Virgin Atlantic] flights from London Heathrow.
 
 
No airport in Scotland, except Glasgow Prestwick, is connected to the rail network, meaning travellers have to use a dedicated bus service to the city centre, or take a taxi. However, a tram line links Edinburgh Airport to Edinburgh city centre. Passengers arriving at and departing from Prestwick may use their boarding pass to claim a [http://www.gpia.co.uk/AirportInfo/HowTo/train.asp 50% discount] on single train tickets between the airport and any station in Scotland.
 
 
===By train===
 
Scotland's railway system is seamlessly integrated with England, and hence forms part of the National Rail system.  Scotland is connected to cities in England via the West Coast and East Coast main lines, both of which originate in London, and serve several major cities in England en route. Hence, arriving in Scotland from England by rail is not going to be much of an issue.  Railcard discounts from National Rail are fully applicable here as well.  For those unused to the vagaries of the UK rail network, Wikitravel has a useful guide to [[Rail travel in the UK]]. 
 
 
====Day trains====
 
There are five day train operators linking Scotland with England:
 
*[http://lner.co.uk/ '''LNER'''] operate frequent services from [[London]] Kings Cross to [[Edinburgh]] (twice-hourly), [[Aberdeen]] (three-four times daily), [[Glasgow]] (one per day) and [[Inverness]] (one per day) via [[Peterborough]], [[York]] and [[Newcastle]]. Services to [[Aberdeen]] also call at [[Dundee]] and Leuchars (for [[St Andrews]]), in addition to other stations en route. Services to [[Inverness]] also call at [[Stirling]], [[Perth]], [[Falkirk]], [[Gleneagles]] and [[Aviemore]]. Journey times from London to Edinburgh are 4.5 hours, to Glasgow 5.5 hours, to Aberdeen 7 hours, to Leuchars 5.5 hours, and to Inverness 8 hours.
 
*[http://www.virgintrains.co.uk/default.aspx '''Virgin Trains'''] operate frequent services from [[London]] Euston and [[Birmingham]] to [[Glasgow]] via [[North West England]] and the [[Lake District National Park|Lake District]]. They also operate slightly less frequent services from [[Birmingham]] to [[Edinburgh]] via [[North West England]] and the [[Lake District National Park|Lake District]]. Journey time from London to Glasgow is approximately 4 hours 40 minutes.
 
*[http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/ '''CrossCountry'''] connect [[Aberdeen]], [[Glasgow]] and [[Edinburgh]] to [[Birmingham]] via [[Leeds]], [[Sheffield]] and the [[East Midlands]]. Many services continue on to [[Reading (England)|Reading]] and the South Coast, or through [[Bristol]] to [[South Wales]] or South West England.
 
*[http://www.tpexpress.co.uk/ '''Transpennine Express'''] operate services between [[Manchester|Manchester Airport]] and [[Glasgow]]/[[Edinburgh]] via Manchester, [[Preston]] and the [[Lake District National Park|Lake District]].
 
*[http://www.scotrail.co.uk/ '''ScotRail'''] operate a number of daily services between [[Glasgow|Glasgow Central]] and [[Carlisle]] via [[Kilmarnock]] and [[Dumfries]]. Some services extend to [[Newcastle upon Tyne|Newcastle]] via [[Hexham]].
 
 
====Night/Sleeper trains====
 
The [http://www.sleeper.scot/ '''Caledonian Sleeper'''] links [[London]] Euston with [[Glasgow]], [[Edinburgh]], [[Aberdeen]] and [[Fort William]], and many other towns and villages along the way. There are two Caledonian Sleeper trains which leave every night (except Saturdays) from London Euston:
 
 
* The '''Lowland Sleeper''' departs Euston at approximately midnight (2300 on Fridays), and divides at Carstairs for either [[Glasgow]] or [[Edinburgh]].
 
* The '''Highland Sleeper''' departs Euston at around 2000 hours, and divides at [[Edinburgh|Edinburgh Waverley]] for [[Aberdeen]], [[Inverness]] or [[Fort William]].
 
 
Note if you are intending to use the Caledonian Sleeper to an intermediate destination between the Central Belt and the Highlands (e.g Stirling, Perth, anywhere in Fife or Dundee) - the Highland train will drop you off at an unsociable time in the morning possibly before any other public transport is running.  For this reason it is often more convenient to use the Lowland train to either Glasgow or Edinburgh and use a daytime service to complete the journey. In addition, passengers who wish to travel in the seated coach to any destination on the [[West Highland Railway]] to Fort William must change coaches at Edinburgh Waverley.
 
 
For international travellers, Scottish Rail passes [http://www.scotlandrailways.com] are available, as are [http://www.BritRail.com BritRail passes]. See Wikitravel's guide to [[Rail travel in the UK]] for more info on booking and travelling by train in Scotland.
 
 
===By car===
 
The main road linking Scotland and [[England]] is the M74/A74 (M) motorway which runs from Glasgow to the English border north of [[Carlisle]]. The A1 road links Edinburgh and the North East of England; however, this road is single carriageway in some areas and not considered the best route into Scotland. Hence the place name "Scotch Corner" on the A1 where traffic heading for most Scottish destinations turn to cross the Pennine hills on the A66 to enter Scotland via the M6 and M74.
 
 
===By bus===
 
Bus and coach services are the cheapest way to get to Scotland from England, but are also the longest and the least comfortable. [http://www.nationalexpress.com National Express] is the main operator, with services from most major UK cities to Glasgow's Buchanan Bus Station and Edinburgh Bus Station. In addition, [http://www.megabus.com Megabus] operate services to Scotland from a number of towns and cities in England, and [http://www.citylink.co.uk Citylink] operate direct services from [[Blackpool]] to [[Glasgow]] during the summer season.
 
 
===By boat===
 
 
====From Europe====
 
* '''DFDS Seaways''' [http://www.dfdsseaways.co.uk] runs a ferry from [[Amsterdam]] to [[Newcastle]], from where you can drive or take the train to Scotland.
 
 
====From [[Northern Ireland]]====
 
* '''Stena Line''' [http://www.stenaline.co.uk] ferries link [[Belfast]] to Cairnryan, which is near [[Stranraer]]. An electric bus service operates between Cairnryan and Stranraer, which is timed to connect with the ferry.
 
 
* '''P&O Irish Sea''' [http://www.poirishsea.com/] ferries link [[Larne]] to Cairnryan.
 
 
* '''Kintyre Express''' [http://www.kintyreexpress.com/] ferries link [[Ballycastle]] to [[Campbeltown]]. This service only carries foot passengers and bicycles.
 
 
==Get around==
 
Scotland operates a modern and effective transport system, including high-quality road, railway and bus links, managed and regulated by the Scottish Government's department of transport, ''Transport Scotland''. Public transport is generally a mix of commercial and state-operated services. If you are travelling across the water to and between the islands, air and sea travel is also an option. 
 
 
Urban transport and travel between major and minor towns and cities is effectively provided by public transportation (primarily bus and train). However, if you plan to tour the country, a car allows you to access more remote areas with poor or no public transportation. This applies particularly if you plan to visit the Highlands, Islands, mountains or rural areas. Hire cars are easily available from international companies in towns and cities.
 
 
If you will be travelling by public transport, the government provides a comprehensive website called [http://www.travelinescotland.com/ '''Traveline Scotland''']. It includes a very useful on-line journey planner that allows you to plan a journey from any one point in the country to any other, using all forms of public transport. You can also download timetables for all public transportation services and check next bus times from any bus stop in Scotland. If you have a smartphone, it also provides an app for iPhone/iPad, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone. This app is extremely useful on the go, for example to check the time of the next bus.
 
 
===By plane===
 
{{infobox|The world's shortest flight|The shortest scheduled flight in the world is operated by Loganair between the islands of Westray and Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands. The flight lasts two minutes and is operated by a Britten-Norman Islander aircraft.}}
 
As Scotland is a small country, air travel is uneconomical on most short routes. However, it is the fastest way to reach many of the islands. Flights can be '''very turbulent''', as Scotland is notorious for rain, wind and storms and the planes used are small, e.g. Saab 340s, Twin Otters and Islanders.
 
 
Loganair [http://www.loganair.co.uk/] operates the majority of Scotland's internal flights, under a franchise to FlyBe[http://www.flybe.com/] through whose website you can book flights (until July 2008 Loganair had been a franchisee of British Airways). FlyBe offer a number of connections to UK and European airports from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverness and Glasgow. FlyBe also has a codeshare with British Airways so you can book through-tickets from more distant parts.
 
 
{{infobox|Beach landings|The airport on the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides is the only place in the world where scheduled flights use a beach as the runway. Flights are operated by Loganair to/from Glasgow and Benbecula, using a small De Havilland Twin Otter aircraft.}}Flights are available from Glasgow International Airport to [[Campbeltown]], [[Islay]], [[Barra]], [[Benbecula]], [[Stornoway]], the [[Orkney Islands]] and the [[Shetland Islands]]. Flights are also available from Edinburgh Airport to [[Stornoway]], [[Wick (Scotland)|Wick]], the [[Orkney Islands]] and the [[Shetland Islands]].
 
 
Flights can be expensive, although Loganair-operated flights to the islands are sometimes included in FlyBe sales and special offers. It should be noted that flights can be disrupted or cancelled due to weather conditions, particularly in Winter. Flights heading to and from Barra can also be disrupted or cancelled owing to the state of the tide, as the island's runway is a beach. As a guide, the flight time from Glasgow to [[Barra]] is approximately 1hr, and the flight time from [[Glasgow]] to the [[Shetland Islands]] is approximately 2hrs & 30 Mins.
 
 
Loch Lomond Seaplanes also operate from Glasgow Science Centre with flghts to [[Loch Lomond]], [[Tobermory (Scotland)|Tobermory]] and [[Oban]]. Flights however are expensive. A return flight to Oban for example costs £129. The plane can also be chartered, but to do so generally costs in excess of £1000.
 
 
===By train===
 
''Wikitravel has a guide to [[Rail travel in the United Kingdom]], including within Scotland.''
 
 
Trains are one of the faster ways to get around many parts of the country. Journey times are often the same as by road - while there may be many stops, high speed between stops compensates for this. On some routes, the train is considerably faster (e.g. Edinburgh to Dunbar/North Berwick). However, on some routes the train is considerably slower than by road because of the convoluted route the train takes. For example, the maximum permitted speed on some sections of the Far North Line from Inverness to Wick is 90mph, however because the line runs around the Dornoch Firth and calls at Scotscalder, more than an hour is added to the journey.
 
 
A number of railway companies operate trains within Scotland:
 
 
*[http://www.scotrail.co.uk '''ScotRail'''] operates the majority of the Scottish rail network, which covers most of the country.
 
*You can also travel within Scotland by inter-city services which will have started or have their final destination in [[England]]. These are provided by '''Virgin Trains East Coast''', '''Virgin Trains''', '''TransPennine Express''' and '''CrossCountry''' and are generally more comfortable with more facilities (eg Wi-Fi, trolley service, power sockets and reservable seats). The routes operated by East Coast and CrossCountry are particularly useful for travel between Edinburgh and [[Dunbar]], in addition to stations up the east coast of Scotland towards Aberdeen and Inverness.
 
 
The main rail terminals are:
 
 
* '''Aberdeen Station'''- with trains to all Scottish cities. Lines radiate in the direction of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness and call at intermediate stations. Services are also provided to London and many parts of England.
 
* '''Edinburgh Waverley Station'''- with trains to Aberdeen, [[Fife]], Glasgow, Inverness, Perth and Stirling. There are also inter-city trains to many English destinations via the East Coast route.
 
* '''Glasgow Queen Street Station''' with trains to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, [[Cumbernauld]], [[Fort William]], [[Mallaig]], [[Oban]], Perth and Stirling. For trains to Inverness, change at Perth.
 
* '''Glasgow Central Station''' for trains to South West Scotland including [[Kilmarnock]], [[Dumfries]] and [[Stranraer]]; the Clyde Coast including [[Ardrossan]], [[Ayr (Scotland)|Ayr]], [[Greenock]], Largs and Wemyss Bay; and Lanarkshire including Hamilton and [[Lanark]]. Inter-city trains to English destinations (primarily [[Manchester]], [[Birmingham]] and [[London|London (Euston)]]) via the West Coast route.
 
* '''Inverness Station''' for trains to [[Wick (Scotland)|Wick]] and [[Kyle of Lochalsh]]. Also connections for the East Coast and London.
 
 
The train services which run via the [[West Highland Railway]] to Fort William and Mallaig from Glasgow Queen Street were voted as '''the most scenic in the world''' by Wanderlust in 2009 - they take in some wonderful views of the Scottish landscape. Fans of the Harry Potter franchise will recognise a lot of scenery from the films on this route.
 
 
A single railway line to the [[Scottish Borders|Borders]] - Edinburgh to Tweedbank (near [[Melrose (Scotland)|Melrose]]) - was re-opened on 6 September 2015. The line is known as the [http://www.bordersrailway.co.uk/ Borders Railway] but was formerly known as the Waverley Line.
 
 
Generally train fares in Scotland are comparable to the rest of the UK, and are more expensive than most European countries. If you buy a ticket right before you travel, a typical off-peak fare between Glasgow and Edinburgh might be £10 return, and between Edinburgh and Aberdeen £40 return. However, as throughout the UK rail system, '''advance purchase tickets''' offer cheaper fares (travellers may wish to read Wikitravel's guide to [[Rail travel in the United Kingdom]]). It is best to avoid peak time services between Glasgow and Edinburgh or commuter lines around Glasgow, as trains are often overcrowded at rush hour.
 
 
On some of the rural lines, services only run a couple of times a day. For example, the Far North Line (Inverness to Wick) and the Kyle of Lochalsh line (Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh) have only around 3 to 4 return journeys a day Monday to Saturday and just one on a Sunday. So take care when travelling along these lines, as if you miss your train it could be a while to wait for the next one.
 
 
In July 2012, it became '''illegal to consume alcohol on ScotRail trains''' at certain times. This means that on ScotRail trains, alcohol may not be carried or consumed before 10:00 and after 21:00. This policy does not apply on trains operated by any other company.
 
It is also '''illegal to be drunk on a train at any time''', however it is likely this would only be enforced if you were behaving in a disorderly manner or disturbing other passengers. However, passengers seen breaking these laws by train staff are liable to be met at the next station by the UK railway police - the '''British Transport Police''' - and arrested.
 
 
===By road===
 
 
In Scotland, a car enables you to reach almost any part of the country. It is also the best way to take in the spectacular scenery of mountainous, rural and Highland areas. However, although Scotland is not a big country, car travel can take significantly longer than you may expect. The mountainous terrain means that crossing from the east to the west usually involves taking circuitous routes.
 
 
With the exception of the Central Belt and the North-East, where there are motorways and dual carriageways and travel is fast and easy, road conditions in Scotland are often below Western European standards. Beware of defects such as potholes, ruts, cracks and patches in both urban and rural roads (but not motorways or dual carriageways which are maintained to a higher standard by the Scottish Government).
 
 
Many rural roads feature are narrow, have many bends and chicanes, are unlit at night, and are vulnerable to poor weather. If you have a car that handles well, these roads can be fun to drive. Added to this, scenery is often breathtaking. However, do not be fooled into driving too fast or overtaking recklessly. As in the rest of the UK, the speed limit on country roads is usually 60mph (100km/h), although the Scottish Parliament has recently acquired the power to set its own speed limits in Scotland. 60mph/100kmh is too fast for many roads, where you may easily run into a sharp blind hairpin bend without warning. Drive cautiously if a rural road is unfamiliar. You will also find frequent speed cameras and traffic patrols on main roads.
 
 
As in the rest of the UK and Ireland, traffic in Scotland drives on the '''left'''. Drivers from other countries should take special care if they are not used to driving on the left or if your car is left-hand drive. If driving a left-hand drive car, you may find it difficult to see traffic in your passenger-side door mirror and overtaking may be more difficult and hazardous.
 
 
The accident rate is higher in rural areas such as the Highlands and Aberdeenshire due to the nature of the roads as well as the severe winter weather in these areas. Locals usually drive faster than tourists due to their knowledge of the roads, don't feel obliged to speed up as well. Aggressive motorcycle riding can be a major problem on some of Scotland's rural roads, and the annual accident rate is higher than the UK average. Even if someone is coming up fast behind you, do not be goaded into increasing your speed. They will overtake (at their own risk!) if you keep to a speed at which you are comfortable. Added to this, weather can be poor, particularly in the interior of the country. In winter, you are likely to find roads closed by snow, with "snow gates" being closed (literally a huge gate that traffic police use to close off the road). In coastal areas, mist or fog can be a problem. Listen to radio travel bulletins (e.g. BBC Radio Scotland) and avoid car travel in poor winter weather.
 
 
In remote areas many roads are single track. Passing places are provided at intervals. These are marked by diamond shaped white signs labeled "Passing Place". Sometimes, these are incorrectly installed as a square sign. On older, less-used, single track roads black and white striped poles may still be used as markers. If faster traffic comes up behind you it is the rule that you should pull into a passing place and allow the other vehicle to pass. When two vehicles approach each other on a single track road, experienced drivers will both adjust their speed so as to reach the passing place at the same time and pass each other slowly, avoiding the need for either vehicle to come to a stop. You should pull in to the passing place on your left or if the passing place is on the right hand side, stop opposite it so that the oncoming car can pull into it.
 
 
Many rural roads are poorly maintained and lack crash barriers, so you should drive carefully and never assume that it is clear around the the next bend or over the next hill. Use main-beam/high-beam headlamps. You may also find cattle grids (also known as cattle guards or Texas gates). These are used if livestock is loose in the area and should be negotiated very slowly as they can have an adverse effect on your vehicle's steering. In these areas keep your speed down and watch out for livestock such as horses, sheep, cattle and deer.
 
 
Many bypasses have been built to allow faster travel, but the visitor will miss out on some of the beautiful scenery of Scotland. In some areas, road signs will indicate that the road on the next exit will rejoin the main route by showing a semi-circular exit and entrance with the destination name in the middle. This allows the driver confidence to take more scenic diversions into small towns or to find a place to stop and have lunch.
 
 
Finally, '''do not drive if you have consumed alcohol'''. Drink-driving is illegal in Scotland and not tolerated by the police. It can be difficult to estimate how much is within the legal limit so the '''safe limit is zero'''. It attracts severe punishments by court judges: Sentences include jail terms (including lengthy jail terms if you cause an accident while drunk), large fines, confiscation of your car (according to recent new laws) and if you are from the UK, disqualification from driving.
 
 
See also the [[List of itineraries|Itinerary]]: [[Driving tour of Scotland]].
 
 
===By bus===
 
Buses are usually the cheapest way of getting around in Scotland, however they are also the slowest and least comfortable option.
 
 
====Major operators====
 
The two major long-distance bus operators in Scotland are '''[http://www.citylink.co.uk/ Scottish Citylink]''' and '''[http://uk.megabus.com/ Megabus]'''.
 
 
Scottish Citylink has the most extensive network, operating 19 routes linking the cities of [[Glasgow]], [[Edinburgh]], [[Aberdeen]], [[Dundee]], [[Stirling]] and [[Inverness]], as well as linking a number of rural Highland communities to the main urban areas of Scotland. In some remote parts of the Highlands, Citylink buses double as the only local bus service.<br>
 
Citylink runs a quarter-hourly bus service between Edinburgh and Glasgow which costs around £7 - you can pay the driver or book online. This service runs out of the main bus stations (Buchanan Street in Glasgow and Saint Andrew Square in Edinburgh), and the journey takes about an hour and ten minutes--some twenty minutes slower than the train but half the price of a peak-rate train ticket. Note that peak-time services can become very unpredictable due to the congested motorway network in the Central Belt - therefore think twice before using buses as an option to make tight connections with other transport modes.
 
 
Megabus is a very cheap way to travel, as ticket prices start at £1 if booked weeks in advance, and rising to over £10 for peak-rate or last-minute fares. A 50p booking charge is applied to every ticket. Megabus departs from [[Aberdeen]], [[Dundee]], [[Edinburgh]], [[Glasgow]], [[Inverness]] and [[Perth (Scotland)|Perth]], going between these Scottish cities as well as to English destinations. Note that with Megabus you can book only online (from 45 days to 30 minutes before departure).
 
 
Megabus services within Scotland are run on a joint basis with Citylink, and buses can be in the livery of either operator. Tickets for these services can be bought on both companies' websites (often at different prices for identical services) or on the coach, subject to seat availability.
 
 
Especially in the Highlands, it is not uncommon for buses to operate in the livery of a different operator. For example, the Citylink buses from Glasgow to [[Campbeltown]], [[Oban]] and [[Skye]] often operate in the livery of [http://www.westcoastmotors.co.uk West Coast Motors] or [http://www.shielbuses.co.uk/ Shiel Buses]. Road closures due to accidents and weather conditions are not uncommon on Highland routes: hence this can result in the buses having to take significant diversions which can add a large amount of time to journeys.
 
 
It is important to remember that, if buying tickets on the bus, credit cards are not accepted as payment.
 
 
====Other operators====
 
*'''[http://www.stagecoachbus.com/ Stagecoach]''' operate numerous medium-distance services in Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Fife, Aberdeenshire, Moray and the Highlands.
 
 
*'''[http://www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/scottish_borders/ First]''' operate medium-distance services in the Scottish Borders, notably the X95 from [[Edinburgh]] to [[Carlisle]].
 
 
*In the remote areas of the Highlands and on the Western Isles, the Royal Mail operates a '''Postbus''' [http://www.postbus.royalmail.com] service for linking local communities. The service pattern can be very sparse, so care is needed when relying on this for getting around since no other public transport options may be available.
 
 
===By ferry===
 
A regular and extensive ferry service operates between most large islands, and across the Clyde estuary.
 
 
* '''Caledonian MacBrayne''' [http://www.calmac.co.uk/] (usually known colloquially as ''CalMac'') is the largest ferry operator and provides services on the west coast and Clyde. Discounts are available in the form of "Island Rover" tickets which allow unlimited travel on the entire network for 8 or 15 days and "Island Hopscotch" tickets which often give discounts on various itineraries.
 
 
* '''NorthLink Ferries''' [http://www.northlinkferries.co.uk/] is the state-sponsored ferry operator running services to Orkney and Shetland, from Scrabster (near Thurso) and Aberdeen.
 
 
* '''Pentland Ferries''' [http://www.pentlandferries.co.uk/] and '''John O'Groats Ferries''' [http://www.jogferry.co.uk/] provide alternative routes to Orkney from the Scottish mainland.
 
 
* '''Orkney Ferries''' [http://www.orkneyferries.co.uk/] and '''Shetland Islands Council''' [http://www.shetland.gov.uk/ferries/] operate ferry services within Orkney and Shetland respectively.
 
 
===By bus tour operators===
 
There are many tour operators in Scotland which can take you around the country stress-free and allow you to drink as much whisky as you wish. There are options from budget larger groups in coaches to smaller group tours in luxury mini-coaches. The guides may provide an insight into Scottish history and culture you may not be able to learn on your own.
 
 
===Major operators===
 
<ul>
 
<li><strong>[http://www.rabbies.com Rabbie's small group tours]</strong>. Main office: 6 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EG, Scotland. Phone: +44(0) 131 226 3133 (lines open from 07:30 to 22:00 daily). Departures from [[Edinburgh]], [[Inverness]], and [[Glasgow]]. The company offers one day tours to the major tourist hotspots such as [[Loch Ness]] and the [[Scottish Highlands]] to 17 day tours of the Scottish islands such as the [[isle of Skye]] and [[Islay]].</li>
 
<li><strong>[https://www.haggisadventures.com/ HAGGiS Adventures]</strong>. Haggis Adventures, 60 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1TB, Scotland. Phone: +44(0) 131 557 9393 (Mon-Friday 8am-9pm, Sat 8am-5pm, Sun 8am-1pm). Budget backpacker tours of Scotland departing from [[Edinburgh]]. The company offers from one day tours of the [[Scottish Highlands]] and [[Loch Ness]] to a 10 day tour of Scotland's highlights, such as the [[Isle of Skye]], [[Orkney Islands]] and [[Outer Hebrides]].</li>
 
<li><strong>[https://www.highlandexplorertours.com// Highland Explorer Tours]</strong>.Highland Explorer Tours, 60 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1TB, Scotland. Phone: +44(0) 131 558 3738 (Mon-Friday 8am-9pm, Sat 8am-5pm, Sun 8am-1pm). The company provides a range of one day tours to the major tourist highlights in the [[Scottish Highlands]], including [[Loch Ness]], as well as a selection of 3-6 day tours of the [[Highlands]] and [[Isle of Skye]]. It also visits the Up Helly Aa Fire Fesitval in the [[Shetland Islands]] and offers a ride on The Jacobite steam train. Departures from [[Edinburgh]].</li>
 
</ul>
 
 
===Hitching===
 
Hitch-hiking is surprisingly easy in Scotland, but better to do outside the big cities. In the Highlands you might need to wait for a long time until a car comes by. General caution must be taken.
 
 
==Talk==
 
English is the administrative language of Scotland, and is spoken fluently by nearly the entire population. [[Scottish Gaelic phrasebook|Scottish Gaelic]] is the traditional language of the Highlands and Western Isles, and is spoken by roughly 33% of its people. Scots is the traditional and community language of the Lowlands, and is varyingly intelligible with English depending on the variety and thickness - however, almost all Scots are fluent in English, too, and will be happy to switch once they understand you are foreign.
 
 
[[Scottish Gaelic phrasebook|Scottish Gaelic (''Gàidhlig'')]] is spoken by only around 87,000 people, mainly in the [[Scottish Highlands|Highlands]] (''a' Ghàidhealtachd'') and the [[Outer Hebrides|Western Isles]] (''Na h-Eileanan Siar''). You will more than likely hear locals speaking in Gaelic in the Western Isles and on the ferries to and from them. Signs on board some CalMac ferries to the Western Isles are in Gaelic first and English second. In addition, announcements on some ferries may be at least partially in Gaelic. Everyone, however, speaks English.
 
 
Scots ('Wir ain leid', literally 'Our own language'), although being an officially recognised minority language, is understood by around 80% of the population, throughout the whole country, and is widely spoken in a mixture with Scottish English. The language evolved from Old English, and was the national language of Scotland for most of Scotland's life before the 1707 union with England. Scots is more or less intelligible to English in written form.
 
 
The Scots generally have rather poor foreign language ability, although those in tourism-related industries generally have better language skills. French, German and Spanish are the most commonly known foreign languages.
 
 
Here are some useful Scots words derived from Gaelic, Pictish or Old Norse:
 
 
* A ''(pronounced "Ah")'' = I
 
* Aber = river mouth (''[[Aberdeen]]'')
 
* Aye = yes
 
* Bairn/Wean = Child
 
* Ben = mountain (''[[Ben Nevis]]'')
 
* Burn = stream (''[[Bannockburn]]'')
 
* Dun (or Dum) - fort (''[[Dundee]]'' or Dumbarton)
 
* Firth = estuary (''[[Edinburgh|Firth of Forth]]'')
 
* Glen = valley (''[[Glencoe]]'')
 
* Strath = vale (''[[Strathspey]]'')
 
* Kyle = narrow strait of water, sound (''[[Kyle of Lochalsh]]'')
 
* Loch ''(NOT pronounced "lock" - saying it like this will get you laughed at; [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRiWBRS3OC8&t=51 this is how you say the word])'' = lake (''[[Loch Ness]]''), also fjord (''[[Fort_William|Loch Linnhe]]'') - thus not all lochs are lakes
 
* Lochan = small lake, pond
 
* No = Not
 
* Wee = Small
 
 
Here are some Gaelic phrases often found in the Highlands and the Western Isles:
 
 
* Cèilidh = informal celebration, party (pr. KAY-lee)
 
* Fàilte gu ... = Welcome to ...
 
* Deas = South
 
* Tuath = North
 
* Aiseag = Ferry
 
* Tràigh = Beach
 
* Port Adhair = Airport
 
 
==See==
 
 
===Historic sites===
 
Most historic sites are maintained either by the '''National Trust of Scotland''' or by '''Historic Scotland'''. Both offer memberships (with free priority access and other discounts) for a year or a lifetime and have reciprocal arrangements with their English and Welsh equivalents. Depending on how much you get around and how long you are staying, they may well be worth buying. Membership also contributes to the sites' preservation and new acquisitions.
 
 
* '''Historic Scotland''' [http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/] - sites and prices, yearly membership starts at £34 adult, £65 family (properties include Edinburgh and Stirling Castles). Historic Scotland also offers a 3-day Explorer Pass
 
* The '''National Trust of Scotland''' [http://www.nts.org.uk/] - sites and prices, yearly membership starts at £33 adult, £54 family (properties include Craigievar and Crathes Castles, numerous wilderness areas)
 
 
===Spectator sport===
 
* '''[[Football_in_Europe#Scotland|Football]]''' is easily the most popular spectator sport in Scotland. That said, most teams rarely play to full houses, therefore if you are in Scotland between mid-August and mid-May you should be able to obtain tickets for a match.
 
* '''Rugby Union''' is popular, nowhere more so than in the Borders region. The town of [[Melrose (Scotland)|Melrose]] is the home of the famous '''Melrose Sevens''' tournament.
 
* The indigenous game of '''shinty''' is played mostly in the Highlands during the summer months and can be a lot of fun to watch.
 
 
==Do==
 
* '''Drive''' - take a [[Driving tour of Scotland]].
 
 
* '''Motorcycling''' - Scotland has some of the best motorcycle touring roads in the world, although you'll need good weather to get the most out of them. With good surfaces, little traffic outside of the main conurbations and welcoming cafes touring is a real pleasure. It is also possible to hire a motorcycle [http://www.rentamotorcycle.co.uk/]
 
 
* '''Cycling''' - Even though there are only a few cycle trails compared to England, Scotland makes a great cycling country as there are many roads with little traffic. See [[Cycling in Scotland]].
 
 
*'''Rail Travel''' - Scotland is home to the most scenic railway line in the world - the [[West Highland Railway|West Highland Line]], and travelling the area by train is very much recommended. Fares can be high, but the scenery can be priceless. [http://www.ScotRail.co.uk/]
 
 
* '''Hillwalking''' - Scotland is famous for hillwalking. You can try to climb all 284 Munros of Scotland [http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/info/Info/TheMunros] (which are mountains higher than 3000 feet / 914.4 m) and become a Munroist, or you could hike the popular [[West Highland Way]], which stretches for 153km (95 miles), or follow in the footsteps of Rob Roy Macgregor, a Scottish folk hero, on a 124km walk (77 miles). Scotland’s official National Tourist Board publishes a free Scotland Walks guide, available from their Walking site [http://walking.visitscotland.com/]. There is also an independent site giving lots of details on over 420 routes - Walk Highlands of Scotland [http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/]
 
 
* '''Whisky Tour''' - Many of Scotland's distilleries welcome visitors and many have guided tours. Map of Scotch Whisky distilleries open to the public: [http://www.scotlandwhisky.com/distilleries/].
 
 
* '''Golf''' - Scotland is the birthplace of the game of golf and home to the oldest course in the world, St. Andrews. Scotland’s National Tourist Board publishes a free guide to golfing in Scotland [http://golf.visitscotland.com/]
 
 
* '''Edinburgh Festival''' occurs during late July to Mid September. The Festival is an umbrella term for several festivals, including the International Jazz and Blues Festival, the Fringe Festival, and the Literary Festival. VisitScotland, the official Scottish Tourist Board, maintain a calendar of events and festivals taking place throughout Scotland [http://liveit.visitscotland.com/]
 
 
* '''Highland Games''' - Traditional sports' and cultural events are arranged in several places. Tossing the caber, for example, is performed by strong men hurling logs end over end. There are bagpiping and Highland dancing competitions, sheep-dog herding (the dogs herd the sheep), Scottish food and other products for sale.  A list of events may be found at: [http://www.albagames.co.uk/]
 
 
* '''Campervan Adventures''' - Hire a campervan and hit the open road for a memorable adventure, holiday or escape. Enjoy the wilderness of the outdoors and wild camping in complete comfort.
 
 
* '''The Royal National Mod''' - A celebration of Gaelic culture that is held yearly at various locations throughout Scotland. There are also regional Mods. Events and competitions include those for singing, poetry recitation (original and traditional), story telling (all in Gaelic, of course), bagpiping and dancing. Learn more at [http://www.acgmod.org/]
 
 
==Buy==
 
Scotland offers a range of products, souvenirs and memorabilia unavailable authentically anywhere else in the world. A few examples:
 
 
* 'Scotch' Whiskies
 
* Scottish '''Tartans''' (colourful check-woven woollen fabric) and tartan products (such as kilts). If you have a Scottish family name like MacDonald, Campbell, MacLeod, or MacKenzie (or many others), it may be worth trying to find your own family's tartan.
 
 
Visitors from outside northern Europe may find Scotland a relatively expensive country.
 
 
===Currency===
 
As in the rest of the United Kingdom, Scotland uses British currency which is the Pound Sterling (abbreviated "£").
 
 
Scotland's three national banks issue their own sterling banknotes (Bank of Scotland, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank) which circulate alongside Bank of England notes in Scotland. Many shops do not accept £50 notes, due to the perceived fear of counterfeits.
 
 
Scottish banknotes are valid as legal currency in England and Wales and there is no reason for them to be refused, however some businesses may not accept Scottish banknotes often due to the sales staff's ignorance, or concern that they unable to verify whether the note is genuine or that later customers will not want to receive Scottish money as change. If you experience problems, then simply exchange them for Bank of England notes at any bank at no charge. You should never experience such problems in areas near the border (for example, the Lake District).
 
 
Scottish banknotes are very difficult to exchange outside the UK, where foreign banks are generally unfamiliar with the notes, so they should be either spent or exchanged for Bank of England notes before leaving the UK.
 
 
Euros are accepted at some High Street stores, but this should not be relied upon and the exchange rates are usually poor, so you're advised to change your money into sterling.
 
 
Scotland is relatively expensive when compared to some other European countries. As a basic rule, the further north you venture, the more expensive it likely gets, mostly because of the difficulty and expense of supply.
 
 
===Souvenirs===
 
The classic tourist souvenir is a '''kilt''' and everything else involving '''tartan'''. A real kilt costs about £300-400 and is made of heavy wool (so it will not reveal what you might or might not be wearing underneath even in strong winds), but most souvenir stores offer only bogus thin ones. If you really want a genuine kilt or full traditional outfit (kilt, sporran, jacket, shirt, and shoes) the best place to look is a clothing hire shop. These specialise in hiring suits and kilts for weddings and often sell ex-hire stock at reduced prices - otherwise the kilt will have to be made to order - this usually takes several weeks. A bogus kilt set of kilt, sporran, socks and garters of dubious quality for the purposes of a souvenir, can be bought for around £60-100.
 
 
The traditional highland kilt is a section of cloth about 6 feet wide and 14 feet long. This is wrapped about the body then then brought up over the shoulder and pinned in place, a little like a toga. The modern short kilt was introduced during the industrial revolution to give more freedom of movement.
 
 
'''Whisky''' is also a common buy. There are two basic types - blended whiskies which are made from, as the name suggests - several single malts blended together. Beware of souvenir shops selling small bottles of blended whisky for inflated prices - you can more often than not find the same bottle in a supermarket (or in airport duty-free) much cheaper!
 
 
Single malt whiskies are more expensive, and worth paying the price premium. Single malts are very diverse depending on the region or town where the whisky was distilled and the type of barley used.  The smaller, independent distilleries pride themselves on the quality of their product and their whisky is often only available in a small number of shops, or even directly.  Mainstream brand single malts are still sold in supermarkets and duty-free shops.
 
 
===Cost of living===
 
Most visitors are disappointed by the high cost of living in Scotland. Although prices in Scotland are not as bad as in the south of England, compared to the USA or most other parts of Europe, basic living expenses are still high. Most goods have an additional 20% Value Added Tax (VAT) applied although this is always included in the marked price for general consumer purchases. Petrol (gasoline) has a massive 70% excise tax and 20% VAT on top of that. Costs are highest in Glasgow and Edinburgh and in very remote places such as Stornoway - petrol prices often hit £1.50 per litre in some areas.
 
 
==Eat==
 
[[Image:Haggis.jpg|thumb|right|Haggis]]
 
While Scotland has suffered from the stereotype for dreary food, things have changed now with numerous quality Indian, French, Italian and Modern Scottish options on offer. In fact, in parts of the country such as Edinburgh, it has become quite difficult to get a really bad meal.
 
 
* '''Cullen Skink''' - A hearty and delicious fish soup made from smoked haddock, potatoes, cream, and shellfish.
 
 
* '''Seafood'''-Scotland produces some of the best seafood in the world. Its langoustines, oysters, scallops, crabs, salmon and lobsters are prized by the finest chefs all over the world...and hence are mostly exported. Try half-a-dozen fresh oysters followed by langoustines in garlic butter mopped up with a chunk of organic bread at the Three Chimneys in Skye. Heaven on a plate. If you're lucky enough to be near the coast you can buy freshly caught seafood at very good prices just go to the docks and wait, its worth it. Scotland also has some of the best "Fish n Chips" in the world. The fresh cod fried and battered to perfection with a side of golden fries n vinegar is a staple of some of the great seafood Scotland has to offer. '''Smoked Kippers''' are a breakfast favourite.
 
 
* '''Sizzling Sirloin of Scotch Beef'''- The five best beef breeds in the world are Scottish, the best-known being Aberdeen Angus. The others are Highland, Longhorn, Shorthorn and Galloway. There is a vast difference between how beef cattle are raised for the lower-cost end of the market and the top end of the market. Slap a sirloin of Aberdeen Angus on a hot grill and find out why.
 
 
* '''Game'''- Scotland has game aplenty, from pheasants to venison. An inexpensive Highland autumn favourite is pheasant layered with a few strips of bacon and baked with seasonal vegetables.
 
 
* '''Haggis''' - Scotland's national dish does sound quite disgusting to foreigners because of its ingredients, but doesn't really taste as bad as one might think. Haggis is made up of chopped heart, liver and lungs of a sheep and then cooked in a sheep's stomach bag. Nowadays, you can buy and cook Haggis in plastic bags. It is served with turnips and mashed potatoes (often referred to as Scots words "neeps and tatties").
 
 
* '''Porridge''' is an oat meal the Scottish eat at breakfast, usually with salt as topping, although it is not the everyday breakfast anymore.
 
 
* '''The square sausage''' another common breakfast favourite -- it is a flavoured thin square of beef (steak sausage) or pork (lorne sausage), fried or grilled, often served in a roll.
 
 
* '''Scotch Pie''' is a much-loved local delicacy. Originally containing mutton, but now usually made with an undefinable meat. Good ones really are good - slightly spiced and not greasy. Try one from a branch of the ubiquitous Greggs bakery shops.
 
 
* '''Scotch Egg''' is another perennial favorite. This is essentially a hard-boiled egg bread-crumbed with sausage meat.
 
 
* '''Scotch tablet''' is another local delicacy. It is very similar to fudge - but is slightly brittle due to its being beaten for a time while it sets! Great for any cold hikes you may be planning.
 
 
* The '''Deep Fried Mars Bar''', previously an urban myth to highlight the poor Scottish diet, now ''does'' exist in Scotland as a result of the myth's spread. An NHS survey reported that roughly 22% of fast food joints and fish and chips shops in Scotland sell the item, at roughly 60 pence a go, mainly to school children and young adults. You will have to ask them to put one in the fryer, though. A chippy in [[Stonehaven]] claims to be the birthplace of this, er, "delicacy." Another equally improbable artery-clogging treat is '''deep-fried pizza''', known by locals as a "Pizza crunch". The ultimate 'heart-attack-on-a-plate' has to be the '''fribab''', the '''deep-fried kebab''' which can be done for ya in some of the crazier parts of Glasgow.
 
 
Vegetarian food isn't as hard to find as you would think, with virtually all restaurants and cafés offering more than one vegetarian option. Vegan food is harder to find, but not impossible. Edinburgh especially has a good number of exceptional vegetarian and vegan restaurants.
 
 
==Drink==
 
Scotland (especially the Highlands) is famous for the hundreds of brands of Scotch whisky it produces. It seems to the visitor that every village makes its own particular brand, so much so that somebody compared a tour of the highlands as being similar to "driving through a drinks cabinet"!  There are around 100 whisky distilleries in Scotland and nearly half of them welcome visitors. Opening days and times can be up to seven days a week in Summer and sometimes they close in the Winter.
 
 
Bars are the places you meet people and where you have a good time. More than in other countries, bars are very lively and it is easy to get to know people when you're travelling alone. The Scottish are very welcoming, so it's not unusual that they will buy you a beer even though you just met them.
 
 
The legal drinking age is 18 years old, and many pubs and clubs will ask for ID of anyone who looks younger than mid-twenties, penalties for those caught buying drink for those under 18 can include a large fine. The penalties for drinking and driving are severe. Drinking laws are complicated slightly by the fact that a single glass of wine may be served to a 16-year old, provided it is with a meal.
 
 
* '''Beer''' - beer, especially the ales, is measured in pints. One pint equals just over half a litre (568ml). Scottish micro-breweries are doing quite well, possibly thanks to the "Campaign for Real Ale" in recent years.
 
 
* '''Irn Bru''' [http://www.irn-bru.co.uk/] - A highly popular, fizzy, bright orange-coloured soft drink, produced by Scottish soft-drinks company A.G. Barr. It's so popular, it even outsells Coca-Cola, which no other native soft drink can claim. It's loaded with caffeine and, like Coca Cola, is acidic enough to clean coins. Given its local popularity, many urban legends have surfaced, such as: it's a "hangover cure"; only two people in the world know the "secret recipe" and, therefore, must take separate flights when travelling. Thanks to an advertising campaign it's apparently "Made From Girders". '''Red Kola''' and '''Sugarelly''' (liquorice water) is similarly consumed.
 
 
* '''Whisky''' - Scotland's most famous export (note the lack of an 'e' that makes Scotch whisky unique). The word derives from the Gaelic "uisge beatha," which means "water of life." A good way to instantly endear yourself to the locals is when ordering Scotch in a pub, always ask for a "whisky" or simply "a half" - and the bartender will know exactly what you mean. (Earn extra points if you name a specific blend). Most [https://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/food-drink/whisky/distilleries/ distilleries] have visitor centers which offer behind-the-scenes tours during which you can experience the sights, sounds and unmistakable aromas of a traditional Scottish distillery and gain a new-found appreciation for the craftsmanship, energy and patience that goes into every drop of this fragrant amber-hued spirit. And taste some samples too!.
 
 
== Sleep ==
 
 
===Self Catering===
 
Self catering holidays, in cottages wooden lodges or city flats, in Scotland have become very popular over recent years. Many cottages are now furnished to a very high standard.
 
 
===Budget===
 
Scotland has plenty of '''[[Hostels|hostels]]''', both the '''Scottish Youth Hostel Association''' (SYHA) [http://www.syha.org.uk/] and a large and developing network of '''Independent Hostels'''. Some of the buildings are very impressive. The SYHA traditionally involved guests performing chores and a ban on alcohol. The new breed of independent hostels have eschewed these concepts, causing the SYHA to loosen up its attitudes too.
 
 
'''Camping''' is another inexpensive way of touring Scotland, though the unpredictable weather makes it less appealing than in some other countries. In remote areas camp sites can be a significant distance apart so buy an up to date guide and plan your route. Booking is not usually necessary except in peak season. Generally, the rule is the more remote the camp site, the better the scenery and the lower the cost. Some camp sites may provide only basic amenities. Camping rough is possible in remote areas, but observe local signs, and never camp next to a stream that could rapidly become swollen by overnight rain. Midges (tiny biting insects) can be a particular nuisance during August and September: the insects are harmless but incredibly irritating.
 
 
'''Bed and Breakfast''' accommodation is widely available, even in remote areas and some very good deals can be found. Many people consider these to be more friendly and welcoming than a hotel. Local tourist information centres will help you find a room for the same night, and you may expect to pay in the region of £25 per person per night for room and full Scottish breakfast. The '''Scottish Guest House and Bed & Breakfast Association''' (GHABBA) [http://www.guesthousebandbscotland.com/] have a range of Bed and Breakfasts and Guest Houses across Scotland.
 
 
If visiting the major cities, try staying in [[Falkirk]] or [[Polmont]]. Both are far cheaper than the hotels in [[Glasgow]] and [[Edinburgh]], and only 1/2 hour away from both on regular train services.
 
 
The '''Travelodge''' and '''Premier Inn''' motel chains are widespread in Scotland. In cities these are likely to prove cheaper than a hotel.
 
 
==Learn==
 
In the bigger cities you can learn highland dancing. If you're interested in learning how to play the Scottish bagpipe, you should know that it takes about one year to play on an actual bagpipe for the first time. It is really more difficult than it looks and needs daily practice!
 
 
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye, offers one-week classes in Gaelic for all levels during the summer months, even for absolute beginners! To learn more, visit http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/en/cursaichean/cursaichean-goirid [http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/en/cursaichean/cursaichean-goirid]
 
 
If you are interested in learning more about Scotland you can visit www.scotland.org [http://www.scotland.org/].
 
 
==Work==
 
The regulations governing who can work in Scotland is the same as for the rest of the UK.
 
 
A general shortage of skilled labour in the health sector means the British health service actively recruits abroad, making it easier for those with specialist health care skills to work in the UK. The Scottish Government is also keen to attract immigrants to Scotland to plug a perceived declining population.
 
 
==Stay safe==
 
 
===Natural hazards===
 
Scotland's weather is highly changeable, but rarely extreme. In the mountainous regions of the north and west of the country the weather can change swiftly and frequently even in Summer. What started as a bright morning can end as a very wet, very windy and very cold afternoon. Packing extra warm and rainproof clothing is advisable, whatever the time of year.
 
 
===Driving===
 
Like the rest of the UK, cars drive on the left. In urban areas, many intersections are controlled by roundabouts as opposed to traffic lights. In rural areas roads can be narrow, very twisty and road markings are rare. Some single track roads have "Passing Places" which allow vehicles to pass each other. Passing places are generally marked with a diamond-shaped white sign with the words "passing place" on it. Signs remind drivers of vehicles to pull over into a passing place (or opposite it, if it is on the opposite side of the road) to let approaching vehicles pass, and most drivers oblige. Use your common sense on these roads and it is a courtesy to politely acknowledge the other driver if they have stopped or pulled over to let you pass. Also use Passing Places to allow following vehicles to overtake - locals who are familiar with these roads greatly appreciate this. In addition many motorists will have to sometimes share the road with stray sheep and occasionally cattle, so extra vigilence is required. These roads pass through some of Scotland's most spectacular areas and while the scenery may be awe-inspiring, extra attention and concentration is required when using them.
 
 
Drunk driving is not tolerated by the authorities in Scotland and if you find yourself involved in any form of road incident that requires police attention, you will be breathalysed. If caught and convicted, a driving ban and/or imprisonment will normally follow.
 
 
===Crime and safety===
 
In any emergency call 999 (or 112) and from a land-line if you can and ask for Ambulance, Fire, Police, Mountain Rescue or Coast Guard when connected.
 
 
To contact the Police on '''Non-emergencies''' you should dial '''101'''.
 
 
Scotland is generally a very safe country to visit. Like England and Wales, violent crime is a problem in some inner city areas, however, much of it occurs amongst hooligan-type, normally unarmed gangs, thus violent crime against tourists is rare. Petty crimes such as thefts and pickpocketing are lower than many other European countries, but vigilance at all times is required, especially in crowded areas. Crime rates vary greatly from urban to rural areas. You should approach clubs and bars at night with caution, especially around closing time when drink fuelled violence occurs, the best thing to do is use common sense and avoid any fighting. The same advice extends to using public transport - especially buses - after dark.
 
 
After around 9pm it is unlikely to see Conductors or Ticket Examiners (they are two separate things, although share near-identical public-facing roles) going about trains which are travelling to or from Edinburgh or Glasgow (for example - Ayr to Glasgow, Glasgow  to Edinburgh or Kirkcaldy to Edinburgh) - if they cannot be found in the passenger areas of the train, they are likely to be found at the very rear of the train in the rear Driving cab. If you feel insecure, or have a problem on the train - sit close to the back of the train or knock on the door, if you have a problem. Some trains however, are operated entirely by the Driver. While the majority of these trains have Ticket Examiners, they can and do run without them. Again, late at night, they are more likely to be found in their "safe area" in the rear cab of the train. A simple knock should gain their attention if there is a problem. If there is no staff onboard and you are unhappy, try to sit where most passengers are. The British Transport Police's number is 0800 40 50 40, in an emergency call 999. If there is an incident which requires urgent attention operate the emergency alarm - '''this WILL stop the train''' -  so it is usually best to operate the alarm at a station stop if your safety is not threatened by the movement of the train.
 
 
==Stay healthy==
 
When hillwalking, you should always take along a compass, detailed maps, waterproof clothing, a torch (flashlight), and a good pair of boots. A charged mobile phone can be a lifesaver as some mountain areas have cell coverage, but networks like T-Mobile and Orange don't cover the Highlands very well - however, ANY phone is capable of making a 999 or 112 call if there is a signal available on any network, so an Orange phone with no Orange signal is most definitely better than no phone. The weather on the hills can change suddenly, with visibility falling to just a few metres. If hillwalking alone tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. More advice is available from the [http://www.mountaineering-scotland.org.uk/leaflets/walksafe.html Mountaineering Council of Scotland]
 
 
Beware of midges! These small biting flying insects (similar in looks to small swarming mosquitoes) are '''very''' prevalent in damp areas, particularly Western Scotland, from around May to September. The bites can itch but they don't carry disease. Midges don't tend to fly in direct sunshine or if it's windy, the worst times are dawn and dusk and near still water or damp areas. Males are often bitten more than females. It is advisable to take some strong insect repellent spray or if outdoors for a while, consider a face net.
 
 
Tap water in Scotland is safe to drink, if sometimes heavily chlorinated. In some remote or Northern areas it is best to let the tap run for a few seconds before using the water as it may have a slight brown tint. This is due to traces of soil or peat in the supply and nothing dangerous. Generally the further North you go in Scotland the better the water will taste!
 
 
==Respect==
 
<!--Before editing this section please view the discussion at [[Talk:Scotland#Respect_for_the_scottish..]]-->
 
It is important not to mistake or assume that Scotland is a part of England as this could cause annoyance or insult. It is considered respectful to refer to Scottish people as Scots or Scottish. Some Scots may feel offended by the words "Jock" or being referred to as "Scotch" as opposed to Scottish. The vast majority of Scottish people who are percieved to be anti-English are against the politics of the UK parliament as a whole, NOT against individual people from England. If you treat Scots with respect you will recieve it back. Scotland is a proud nation and many still feel it important to differentiate it as having a separate sense of nationality.
 
 
Jokes and stereotypes about Scottish people being cheap or greedy will get negative responses so don't say it.
 
 
The issue of independence is certainly much debated in Scotland. Although independence was rejected in a referendum in September 2014 by 55% of voters, feelings still run high. Whilst it is nowhere near as sensitive or divisive as in other parts of the world where such movements exist (such as Northern Ireland), it is best not to argue an extreme position on either side. A lot of people who voted Yes in 2014 still remain strongly committed to the cause, so it would be very unwise to openly deride Scotland's ability to survive as an independent country. Also, questioning someone's true Scottishness for voting No would also be seen as ignorant and offensive. Both positions are strongly discouraged.
 
 
Rivalry between various football clubs is a rather more sensitive issue. It's a bad idea to wear the colours and shirts of football clubs as this may cause offence and/or intimation, or even lead to violence if worn in the wrong place.  This is a problem mainly confined to Glasgow's 'Old Firm' (Celtic and Rangers) derby where there are still sectarian tensions. Celtic wear green and white, and Rangers wear blue and white, however orange is also often worn by them, and the clubs are often associated with the religious conflict in Northern Ireland. As such, association with Irish and British flags may cause similar offence, and like wearing football colours will be seen generally as attention seeking. It is also best to not express political views for the same reason.
 
  
 
==Contact==
 
==Contact==

Revision as of 18:04, 15 February 2019

Contact

See the UK contact entry for national information on telephone, internet and postal services. See Contact entries under individual cities for local information.

If you're travelling to Scotland from abroad, it is a good idea to get a UK Pay As You Go SIM which you can insert into your unlocked handset- you can pick one up from most local stores for about £0.99. This will be very useful if you're staying for more than 1-2 weeks and especially if you need mobile internet. Expect your signal to drop very frequently if travelling by train or car. The main mobile networks are EE, Vodafone, Three and O2. However there are a host of MVNOs that use the infrastructure of these networks, these often offer plans tailored towards expat communities and tourist who wish to call abroad, the main players are LycaMobile, Lebara and giffgaff. Most of these sim cards can be picked up in local shops however giffgaff do not have shops and only post out sims to the UK.

Attractions

Scotland has a wealth of historic attractions ranging from prehistoric (stone circles, standing stones, burial cairns, barrows), Roman or Romano-British (camps, villas, fortlets, defensive walls, forts), medieval (castles, abbeys, churches, houses, roads) and modern. Since large numbers of people throughout the world have Scottish ancestors, family history is a significant part of the culture and heritage; every region has one or more family history societies and local history societies that help tourists seeking to discover their Scottish ancestry.

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