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Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest. In addition to the mainland, Scotland consists of over 790 islands including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.
Edinburgh, the country's capital and second largest city, is one of Europe's largest financial centres. Edinburgh was the hub of the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century, which saw Scotland become one of the commercial, intellectual and industrial powerhouses of Europe. Scotland's largest city is Glasgow, that was once one of the world's leading industrial cities, and now lies at the centre of the Greater Glasgow conurbation which dominates the Scottish Lowlands. Scottish waters consist of a large sector of the North Atlantic and the North Sea, containing the largest oil reserves in the European Union.
The Kingdom of Scotland was an independent state until 1 May 1707 when it joined in a political union with the Kingdom of England to create a united Kingdom of Great Britain. This union was the result of the Treaty of Union agreed in 1706 and put into effect by the Acts of Union that were passed by the Parliaments of both countries despite widespread protest across Scotland. Scotland's legal system continues to be separate from those of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland and Scotland still constitutes a distinct jurisdiction in public and in private law. The continued independence of Scots law, the Scottish education system, and the Church of Scotland have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and Scottish national identity since the Union. Although Scotland is no longer a separate sovereign state, the constitutional future of Scotland continues to give rise to debate.
Edinburgh, Scotland (Edinburgh Hotels & Edinburgh Resort Reservation Service)
Glasgow, Scotland (Glasgow Hotels & Glasgow Resort Reservation Service)
Long overshadowed by Edinburgh, a mere 30 miles (48km) away, Glasgow actually has a lot to offer. It has left its reputation as a black hole of unemployment, economic depression and urban violence far behind. The 1980s and '90s saw the city reinvent itself culturally and socially. You're in no doubt that this is a Scottish city, brimming with vibrancy and energy. The city centre is built on a grid plan on the north bank of the shipbuilding river Clyde. Sights are spread over a wide area, with Sauchiehall St the place to go for shops, pubs and restaurants.
St Andrews, Scotland (St Andrews Area Hotels & St Andrews Area Resort Reservation Service)
This beautiful and unusual town melds the heady concoction of medieval ruins, a golfing mecca, windy coastal scenery and a schizophrenic university. Once the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland, today golfing is the town's religion. It's home to the Royal & Ancient Golf Club and the world's most famous golf course, the Old Course. A ruined castle sits above the bay, around the ruins of what was once the country's largest cathedral: it was pillaged during the Reformation. In the town centre, medieval closes lead off the cobbled streets, with the city gate, chapels, a medieval cross and museums within easy walking distance. Like the contemporary universities of Cambridge and Oxford, the university has no campus and its buildings are scattered in the centre of town.
Inner Hebrides, Scotland (Inner Herbrides Area Hotels & Inner Herbrides Resort Reservation Service)
The Inner Hebrides, off the western coast of Scotland, are the country's most accessible and bewitching islands.
Jura lies near the coast of Strathclyde, yet it is magnificently wild and lonely, with desolate walks, breast-shaped mountains (the Paps of Jura), a whisky distillery and a lethal offshore whirlpool its prime attractions. Islay is the most southerly of the Inner Hebridean islands, and is best known for its smoky, single-malt whisky. The Museum of Islay Life in Port Charlotte relates the island's long history, while the 8th-century Kildaton Cross is one of the finest surviving Celtic crosses. Castle ruins and over 250 species of birds add to its attractions.
Aberdeen, Scotland (Aberdeen Hotels & Aberdeen Resort Reservation Service)
An extraordinary symphony in grey, almost everything in Aberdeen is built of granite - even the roads. When drenched with sun and rain, the silvery stone has a fairy-tale shine; when suffocated by cloud it can be a wee bit depressing. A spotless place, brimming with civic pride, Aberdeen is the service port for one of the world's largest offshore oilfields. Its already large population is mixed with multinational oil workers and a vital student population - a heady mix! An evocative fish market and important maritime museum cluster around the busy harbour. In the vicinity of the city's main thoroughfare, Union St, there's historic Castlegate, late-medieval Provost Skene's House and the Aberdeen Art Gallery, which houses an important Pre-Raphaelite and modern art collection.
Aviemore Area, Scotland (Aviemore Area Hotels & Aviemore Area Resort Reservation Service)
The Highland resort town of Aviemore is the stepping-off point for the hiking and skiing paradise of the Cairngorm Mountains. Lying on the only arctic plateau in Britain, the area attracts rare animals such as pine marten, wildcat, red squirrel, osprey (particularly around the Boat of Garten) and deer. Fishing for salmon is popular in the pure mountain water of the River Spey and surrounding lochs, while the Rothiemurchus Estate and Glenmore Forest Park preserve acres of pine and spruce, with guided walks and trails and a range of water sports.
Scotland History: Scotland Early History,
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Kayaking is the use of a Kayak for moving across water. Over the years, kayaking has evolved into a popular water sport. It is distinguished from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle. A kayak is defined by the International Canoe Federation (the world sanctioning body) as a boat where the paddler faces forward, legs in front, using a double-bladed paddle. Most kayaks have closed decks, although "sit-on-top" and inflatable kayaks are growing in popularity as well. More articles about About Kayaking