You’re Only A Scotland Expert If You’ve Done These 17 Things


Are you a self-confessed banter creator? Do you know your Munros from your Corbetts? Like your Mars Bars battered? Salt and sauce? Being a Scotland expert comes with embracing the everyday ebb and flow of Scottish life. Here are some things you must master before you can call yourself a true guru!

Sing ‘500 Miles’ at some sort of social event with all your pals

Or even karaoke. Word perfect. “When I wake up, well I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man who wakes up next to you…BUT I WOULD WALK 500 MILES, AND I WOULD WALK 500 MORE…!” Other cultures may sing it but none as sweet as the Scots. And yes, this belter of a tune does indeed play after every major occasion.

Know your whisky 🥃

None of this mixer malarkey. A splash of water if need be. Otherwise, they’ll know you’re bluffing.

Islay Whisky | Islay Whisky

Moan about the Edinburgh trams

Especially to a taxi driver (they always have the best chat)! Riddled with unnecessary hassle, any good Scot knows the Edinburgh tram system is much ado about nothing. Sure, it’s all smooth sailing now that they’re installed but was it really worth all that faffing around?

Edinburgh Trams… | Edinburgh Trams…

Love unicorns 🦄

Not because they’re trending but because they are the Scottish national animal and age-old Scottish heraldic symbol. Move aside unicorn cakes, multi-coloured makeup and counter-cultural unicorn communities — Scotland had this unicorn thing down centuries ago. Before hashtags were a thing.

Indulge in a deep-fried Mars Bar

And enjoy it. Every single bite. People may give the Scots excessive flack for battering a popular chocolate bar and calling it food and yet, the whole thing is genius. And delicious. Besides, it all started from a dare between two Scots. Add a deep-fried pizza to the mix and you’re more Scottish than Braveheart.

Battered Mars Bar | Battered Mars Bar

Quote the opening of Trainspotting

‘Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance….Choose your future. Choose life. But why would I want to do a thing like that?’

Run from a ScotRail train conductor

Just to avoid paying for your train ticket — a mandatory rite of passage for all Scots both young and old. It takes practice though.

Agree that haggis tastes way better than it sounds

Haggis shmaggis! People rant on about it being sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs) but it really is rather tasty. There’s even a veggie option, so no excuses.

Ubiquitous Chip Haggis

Utter the words ‘I think you’ll find pal, that’s legal tender’

With sheer pride and a sense of vindication. No joking matter, there are still those who remain horrified at the thought of being handed Scottish money. Adding fuel to the fire, there are also those who remain under the impression that it cannot be accepted. Moments like that are when this wee gem of a phrase comes in to play.

You know your Gay Gordons from your Orcadian Strip the Willow

And let’s not forget the Eigthsome Reel or the Flying Scotsman. Or if you really want to show off, the Scottish Man of War. If you don’t know how to Pas De Basque with flair then forget being a ‘Scotland expert’ and jog on.

Ceilidh Dancing

Engage in a wee bit of wild camping 🏕

Atop Suilven, on the bonnie banks of Loch Maree or tucked away deep in the Scottish wilderness under a blanket of pristine stars, wild camping is one of the many perks of staying in Scotland. And yes, you can pretty much camp anywhere. None of that campsite nonsense.

Suilven Wild Camp | © John McSporran/Flickr

And wild swimming

You can’t beat a cheeky dip. Preferably in the otherworldly crystal waters gracing the famous Fairy Pools of Skye. Then again, there’s always the Loony Dook or any loch your heart desires.

Stoats Loony Dook

Bag a Munro or two

A Munro is a Scottish mountain over 3000ft above sea level, coined by Sir Hugh Munro. As the highest of all Scots mountains, bagging them is kind of a big deal. A Corbett is a Scottish mountain between 2500ft and 3000ft, while a Graham is one between 2000ft and 2500ft. Don’t even think about considering yourself a ‘Scotland adventure expert’ unless you’ve at least bagged one. At least. There are 282 Munros by the way!

You’re prepared for the part of Auld Lang Syne when things get rowdy 💥

You know the part. When everyone links arms and runs in and out of the circle at incredible speeds. Always a bit of a blur but good solid fun. ‘I’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet’. Ah, it brings a tear every time.

You’ve gifted a lump of coal

On Hogmanay, of course — as a loving gesture and token of your undivided devotion. Oh, and there’s also the symbolic factor (to bring them warmth for the coming year) that stems way back in first-footing history. But you already know that!

Come August, you know how to navigate your way around the Fringe

With total ease. Sure the bazillion people may get in your way but you know the ropes. Get the Fringe Guide in advance, scan ahead of time for the shows worth seeing, pre-book (or shows will sell out), and congregate in places famed for free shows. As easy as 123.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

You know that Irn-Bru gets you through

A staple in the Scottish diet, Irn-Bru is the stuff of dreams and a dab hand at curing any hangovers. Billy Connolly can vouch for this one! Did you know it was first produced in 1901 and to this day, only a select few people know the secret recipe?

Screenshot From Irn Bru TV Advert