By my rough calculations, the square mileage of Scotland could fit into my adopted home state of California five times. And seven times as many people live in California than in Caledonia. But despite being a small country, Scotland holds a special place in my heart. I lived in Aberdeen for eight years when I was little and I’ll be watching Thursday’s independence vote with emotion and nostalgia.
It’s hard to capture my affection for Scotland in words. This is the country where I learned to read, learned to ride a bike, and learned that my feet were smaller than the gaps in a cattle grid.
So, instead of an essay, here are a few of my favourite (Scottish) things:
Favourite Scottish food: the Aberdeen buttery. A cross between a croissant and a bread roll, this is a tasty breakfast indulgence. I really should try my hand at making them.
Favourite ruined castle: Dunnotar. I defy you to visit this breathtaking fortress and not be inspired to create creepy stories, if only in your head.
Favourite inhabited castle: Glamis. Just look at all those turrets. Wow.
Favourite Scottish beach: St Cyrus …although I read that blown sand has now changed the beach dramatically from how I remember it. I have ridiculously happy memories of family visits here.
Favourite sequence in a film: Skyfall. This short but atmospheric scene gets me every time.
Favourite Scottish festival: Stonehaven Fireball Ceremony. Held every new year’s eve (Hogmanay), the pagan drama of this procession is unforgettable.
Have you been to Scotland? What would be on your list?