Quote of the Day - There are two seasons in Scotland: June and winter. - Billy Connolly
MIPTC's Travel Report From Scotland - The Highlands Edition
This series on my trip to Scotland and Wales starts on April 2, 2006, so if your'e starting here, scroll down and read the first post, and then this one
Stirling Castle sits just across a peat bog from the monument, and it is like Scotland's many castles, built up over time to protect its inhabitants from roving armies and bands of warriors. Walls around cities likely started because of attacks by Norseman and continued with the Romans, who made a notable contribution to history given their time in Scotland. Soldiers from Rome stayed encamped near Perth, Scotland over a long, hard cold winter a couple of centuries ago after a battle with King Metalamis. The King entertained some of the upper echelon leaders during their encampment. As you could likely guess, armies back then did not travel well in winter.
One consequence of that "entertainment" was a child born out of wedlock to Centurion Pontius. The child went back to Rome with his father but because of his status was not entitled to become a citizen of Rome. He was instead granted the freedom given to slaves and therefore wore a cap known as a "Pilateus." You likely know him best as Pontius Pilate.
Scots have produced many other notables throughout history including Adam Smith, and many significant inventions. To list a few, you should include Penicillin, Insulin, Interferon, the telephone, the telegraph, the electric light bulb, tarmac (a type of road named for John MacAdam), the fax machine, the copier, logarithms and the decimal point, and perhaps most famous of all, golf, which was first played around 1400 on 18 holes near the sea. The Old Course, as many know, is located in St. Andrews, also the home of the famous University of St. Andrews.
Somewhere in the Highlands, Scots also invented the kilt, which gave us the expression, "the whole nine yards," the length of a tartan cloth needed to make a proper kilt. Yes, I do wear a kilt given my heritage, and no, I'm not going to tell you what is worn (or not) underneath.
Inventions are not the country's only contribution. Scotland also has many well-known authors, including Beatrix Potter (The Tales of Peter Rabbit), Robert Louis Stevenson (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), Robert Burns, and J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter). Rowling, a single parent, who started as a teacher barely able to make ends meet, is now the richest woman in the United Kingdom, richer even than the Queen – something that every Scot is quick to point out in a discussion referencing the Edinburgh author.
More tomorrow. Stay tuned.