Scotland is a wild and untamed country, stretching from rolling farmlands in the south and east to dramatic highlands and islands in the west, where the craggy coastline is honeycombed with beautiful beaches and rises up to rugged mountains divided only by shimmering lochs and deep rivers. This ancient land has a brutal, interesting history and is studded with ancient castles and strongholds.

Although still part of the United Kingdom, Scotland is a fiercely independent and proud nation. Scotland has its own legal system and its own parliament, and is developing into an economic force in its own right - Aberdeen is the hub of the North Sea oil industry, and Edinburgh is the UK's largest financial centre after London.

Scotland is the home of golf and whiskey, a land with a multifaceted cultural heritage from the festivities of the clans, to the poetry of Robert Burns. Scotland's rich traditions can be best experienced over the summer months at the cutting-edge Edinburgh Arts Festival or at one of the many, more low-key Highland Games events.

A land of unparalleled raw natural beauty, outdoor and wilderness enthusiasts will delight in Scotland's open spaces and its excellently managed national parks.

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