Scotland - facts and figures

We look to Scotland for all our ideas
of civilisation -- Voltaire



Where is Scotland
Bounded by England in the south and on the other three sides by sea: the Atlantic Ocean on the west and north and the North Sea on the east. In land area Scotland occupies about one-third of the island of Great Britain, but has less than 10% of the population


Scotland is 31,510 sq. miles in area. It is 274 miles long from North to South and varies in breadth between 24 and 154 miles Traditionally divided into three geographic regions from north to south: the Highlands, the Lowlands, and the Southern Uplands.

Most of Scotland consists of hills and mountains covered with grasses and shrubs. Much of the upland within the UK is within the borders of Scotland, along with the highest peaks Scotland includes 787 islands, of which most belong to the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland. Only 62 of these islands are bigger than three square miles in area.

26 rivers flowing directly into the sea. And the Rivers Clyde, Forth and Tay have large estuaries (or Firths) around which grew  three major cities of Scotland (Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee respectively).

Scotland is also noted for its lochs (this name is generally used for lakes in Scotland). Much of the west coast of the country is intersected by Sea Lochs, the longest of which, Loch Fyne, penetrates more than 40 miles inland. Notable fresh-water lochs include Loch Ness


The Gulf Stream gives Scotland a temperate oceanic climate, unusual for a country so far north

The Hebrides off the west coast has a mean winter temperature of 5 degrees Celsius, while Dundee on the east coast has 3 degrees Celsius.

The Hebrides mean warmest month in summer is 14 degrees C, against Dundee's 15 ,br> Rainfall varies with the proximity to mountains. The Hebrides get around 100 centimetres a year, Dundee 65 centimetres, but the mountains of Inverness and Western Ross will get drenched with  250 centimetres

Scotland is one of four constituent nations which form the United Kingdom (the other three are England,Wales and Northern Ireland). Scotland forms the northern part of the island of Great Britain.
As with these other nations within the UK government is in two tiers -

  • National government is via the UK parliament in London,through the Secretary of State for Scotland
    and the Scottish Office based in Edinburgh.
  • a Scottish parliament has been introduced to devolve authority more to Scotland itself
  • Local Government is carried out by 29 unitary authorities and three island authorities
  • Scotland has its own legal system, and an education system which, at all levels, differs from England and Wales.
  • Scotland also has its own banking system and its own banknotes. Though legal tender in England, they can be looked upon with suspicion by the English

The official language is English, though Gaelic is spoken by around 85,000 people, mainly in the North of Scotland


4,998,567 (1991 census)
20.0 per cent under 15 years of age;
life expectancy 74 years; and,
infant mortality 7.1 per 1,000 live births.

Main Towns

The cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee and most of the population plus the majority of Scotland's industry is located within the Midland Valley. This broad valley averages 50 miles across and runs east to west across the centre of the country.
Edinburgh     725,000 capital of Scotland
Glasgow       689,000
Aberdeen     211,000
Dundee        173,000
Inverness       63,000
Main Crops
barley, oats, wheat, potatoes, turnips, and sugar beets.
tourism  makes a significant contribution to the economy, directly providing over 155,000 jobs.
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