Summer 2018


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Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain.  It shares a border with England to the south, and is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the south-west. In addition to the mainland, the country has more than 790 islands including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Scotland has about 5.4 million people. In the 2011 Census, 62% of Scotland's population stated their national identity as 'Scottish only', 18% as 'Scottish and British', 8% as 'British only', and 4% chose 'other identity only'.

Scotland is divided into 32 subdivisions, known as local authorities, or "councils". Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. Limited self-governing power, covering matters such as education, social services and roads and transportation, is devolved from the Scottish Government to each subdivision.

We spent most of four time in the “Hebrides.”  The Hebrides compose a widespread and diverse archipelago off the west coast of mainland Scotland. There are two main groups: the Inner and Outer Hebrides. These islands have a long history of occupation dating back to the Mesolithic, and the culture of the residents has been affected by the successive influences of Celtic, Norse, and English-speaking peoples. This diversity is reflected in the names given to the islands, which are derived from the languages that have been spoken there in historic and perhaps prehistoric times.

The Hebrides are the source of much of Scottish Gaelic literature and Gaelic music. Today the economy of the islands is dependent on crofting (farming), fishing, tourism, the oil industry, and renewable energy. The Hebrides have lower biodiversity than mainland Scotland, but there is a significant presence of seals and seabirds.