Friday, January 13, 2012

Best Quote Ever On Planning A Trip To Scotland

You've probably guessed by now that I am a total Scotophile.
A couple of weeks ago, I began reading The Travel Book and found this superb bit of advice on Scotland:

"Best Time To Visit:  May to September -- or before the Act of Union of 1707 when the English stayed south of the border."

I don't know a single Scot who would disagree with the second half of that statement.


  1. So what you're saying is that I won't be welcome if I decide to visit since I'm originally from England? But then with my mixed up accent, they'll just assume, like everyone else, I'm from New Zealand or Australia, so I should be fine. :D

    I've always wanted to visit Scotland.

  2. What the quote is saying is that the Scots have not yet forgiven the English for forcing them to give up their autonomy in 1707 after the failed Darien Scheme when the English forced the Scottish Parliament to vote itself out of existence. They also resent the years and years of forced English schooling that has tried to tell Scots that their own language is merely "bad English," in the same way the Spaniards have tried to force Catalonians and Galicians to think that their languages are "bad Spanish." When a people is told they are second class for centuries, there is a burning resentment.
    The English who are not looked at askance in Scotland are those who can accept the fact that the Scots are their own people and that the English have historically treated them with disdain. If you go to Scotland as an English person and act as though you're better than the Scots, you are not going to be popular.
    It's not that the Scots think they're better than the English; they're just sick of the English thinking that the English are better than the Scots.

  3. Hence the popularity of "Braveheart" ;)

  4. I've never seen it, and I have no clue if it's popular in Scotland or not.
    But the setting of Braveheart is from right around 1300. Still, it would be the right attitude.

  5. Technically the English were coming north of the border before 1707...usually with swords, shields and guns. :)

    There are only certain English people who think they are superior to the Scots. The trouble is they tend to be the ones in power.

  6. Martin, indeed, hence the whole Braveheart story to begin with.
    I'm am sure you and plenty of other Brits have no issues with the Scots, but it has been historically acceptable to make fun of them, etc. The whole business of imposing English on them definitely shows this.
    And I spent one summer in Cambridge attending classes for foreign students, but there were still plenty of Brits about, and I can assure you that Scotland was sneered at every time I brought up where I'd done my main studies.

    Here's a fine little sample of the Scots poking fun at discrimination. I've seen it before, but my author friend David Cunningham (a Scot) sent it to me last week: