Sat. Jul 20th, 2024


We asked our readers what they think are the biggest misconceptions people have about Scotland.

Scotland. Whether you live here, have dreams of living here, or even just hope to visit at some point, you’ll have heard some of the interesting views people have on the country.

Everything from what we supposedly wear (tartan) to what we supposedly eat (deep-fried Mars Bars) is readily offered up in pop culture, films, TV, and even cartoons.

Though many of these preconceived notions have a kernel of truth, most of them are normally nonsense.

With that in mind, we asked our readers what they think are the biggest misconceptions people have about Scotland, here is what you said.

Scots are mean or tight with their money

You’ve all heard the jokes, the one about the Scot who dropped a pound coin and was hit on the back of the head when they tried to pick it back up.

What about misery Scottish characters like Scrooge McDuck?

Apparently, Scots being mean is such a common stereotype that even the Hungarians, who have no common ties or history with us, have made a national jok e of it.


But it’s not true, don’t believe us? Just ask our readers.

Sandra Davidson Bencze wrote: “Scots would give you the shirt off their backs.”

While another follower added: “10000 % true. I’ve been to Scotland twice in my life and nowhere else are the people so kind.”

Scots are insular and don’t like tourists

Visitors to Scotland are always welcome

Though we may lampoon England as some kind of panto villain, and enjoy having a joke or two with other nations, it’s all in jest.

The idea that we are insular or don’t want people to visit is a strange one, from people from the rest of the UK to further abroad everyone is more than welcome to join us. The vast majority of Scots love visitors and we are a warm and friendly people.

One of our readers wrote: “I’ve seen so many FB posts that speak about Scots not wanting Americans to visit their country. If I had listened to that, I would have missed the best travelling experience of my life.

“The people there could not have been more welcoming, friendly, funny, and helpful.”

Another added that the idea we aren’t friendly is far from the truth adding: “We have always felt welcome.”

Scots eat terrible food

Deep-fried Mars Bars, Scotch eggs (not actually Scottish) and pies are not our staple diet.

In fact, other than pies, you are unlikely to encounter the other two unless you really go searching.

Instead, we have a natural larder that we love to show off, with some of the world’s greatest ingredients on our doorstep.

And yes, most people who eat haggis end up loving it.

Thomas O Duibhir posted that the biggest misconception is that the “food is horrible”, he wrote: “We had never a bad meal there, actually we had the finest meals in Scotland.”

Kat Gardner added she found out how wrong she was when she believed Scotland didn’t have great food, she said: “Wow, was I wrong! Everything I had to eat was fabulous. Very big on farm to table. Breads, seafood, soups, stews- it was all great!”

All the men have red hair and wear kilts all-day

No, we don't all wear kilts all of the time

No, we don’t all wear kilts all of the time 

Though we do have more than our fair share of red heads, we are as varied as the rest of the world when it comes to hair colour.

And no, you won’t see kilts everywhere sadly (unless you visit on the day of a Scotland rugby or football match or you meet a gaggle of pipers).

Though our reader Melissa Longacre posted that she was really disappointed that this one wasn’t true.

It’s both magical and magical

Though the scenery and people are indeed magical, we fear Outlander may have given people some strange ideas about what that magic entails.

As Rhonda Tallant McCracken points out, you can’t actually go to some stones and fall into the arms of a hunky hero.

She added: “I don’t care. Outlander has done wonders for awareness of Scotland.”

While another fan of the show added: “Outlander is the reason I plan to visit Scotland! It’s the one character in the series that NEVER gets proper credit!!”

Nessie and our national emblem also got mentioned, with one person pointing out that another big misconception is that “unicorns aren’t real”.

It’s always raining in Scotland

This one is definitely not true, I mean sometimes it snows too.

Haggis (Haggii? What is the plural of haggis?) have only three legs

Haggis - Delicious, yes. Three-legged, no

Haggis – Delicious, yes. Three-legged, no  

I mean if you come during haggis hunting season, you’ll soon find out how untrue this one is.

As Catriona Khamisha points out: “We all know it has four with two being a bit shorter on one side compared to the other (for easier running around hills).”

That it is enough to visit only once

It definitely isn’t.



By Lala