Reading: Scotland (B1)
Scotland is the UK’s most northern country and has around 790 islands off its coasts 130 of which have people living on them. Scotland is well known for its stunning landscapes, beautiful beaches and lochs, which are fresh water lakes. There are over 600 square miles of lochs in Scotland including the most famous one, Loch Ness.
It has a population of just over five million people which is about 8.5 per cent of the whole UK population. Over 2 million of these live in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and almost half of Scotland’s population live in the Central Belt, where both the
largest city (Glasgow) and the capital city (Edinburgh) are located.
Scotland also hosts one of the biggest arts festivals in the world. This is commonly known as the Edinburgh Festival but is actually made up of a number of different festivals which happen at different times of the year, though many do take place in August and September. Many people have heard of the Fringe Festival, but there are also the International Festival, the Film Festival, the Children’s Festival and the Edinburgh Mela which is an intercultural festival.
Musically it has recently produced bands Travis and Franz Ferdinand and other famous Scots include KT Tunstall, Ewan McGregor, Sean Connery and Andy Murray.
In July 1999 the Scottish Parliament was opened, the first for over 300 years as Scotland had been governed from London. Scottish Parliamentary responsibilities include health, education and local government.
Stereotypical images of Scotland often focus on things like tartan, kilts, heather and haggis as well as the scenery. These are all still a part of the country but contemporary Scotland is building a name for itself in other areas, such as its thriving computer games industry.