Edinburgh Dolceloca

DolceLoca

Although Scotland is as big (if not bigger counting the Highlands and Islands) than England, it is far less populated. If you prefer a bit of hermit-type living, the beautiful remote islands are sure to appeal. It’s quite a different country overall. For a start, Scotland has a much fairer voting system, so the politics tends to be very different and more cordial. It’s obviously colder! And it rains a lot (just like the Inuits have 50 words for snow, Scottish people have 50 words for rain).

David Scheirer

Scotland also contains all of the UK’s highest mountains (England’s highest mountain is Scafell Pike in the Lake District) but this is dwarfed by the mountains here. Travel out to the coast, and the icy cold waters are home to far more whales than in England. You’re almost guaranteed to see one!

Scotland is home to around 40% of all the UK’s seal population and thankfully the law has recently changed to stop shooting them to ‘protect farmed salmon’. beaches. Scotland is also home to most of our puffin populations.

The SOS Puffin Project is run by Scottish Seabird Trust, helping to save a colony near Berwick (just over the border). Numbers crashed from 10,000 pairs to less than a thousand, due to a giant invasive plant which spread to nearby islands, mostly due to mild winters caused by climate change. This prevented puffins from nesting and rearing their young. Volunteers have made regular trips over the years to cut down the tree mallow, to help restore numbers.

no longer the home of deep-fried Mars Bars

Sgaia vegan meats

It’s not true anymore that Scotland is home to the ‘deep-fried Mars Bar’.  Scotland is home to Sgaia Meats (a gourmet wheat-meat company run by two Italian foodies) and the Glasgow and Edinburgh are home to some of the hippest and most stylish vegan eateries. The country has its own vegan cookbook and there are many community-supported-agriculture-type outfits helping the difficult-to-grow climate produce local food for local people.

And if you fancy a bit of bagpipe-playing, Newcastle company Freerangers (which usually makes vegan shoes and bags) has now turned its hand to making vegan sporrans!

sustainable sodas from Scotland

Rapscallion sodas

Rapscallion Soda is a unique team that make lovely sodas like dry lime, burnt lemon and ginga ninja. There’s even one based on the local dish of cranachan (raspberries and ‘cream’).

Nearly all soft drinks are made with cheap commercial shortcut ingredients, but this company uses raw quality fruit and are naturally low in calories, due to the natural sweetness of the fruit. They are also sweetened naturally with a little raw cane sugar. Each year, they offer seasonal sodas (these change by availability due to the weather – it’s Scotland!) The seasonal flavours include rhubarb, blueberry, strawberry and cranachan (raspberries).

a trip between England and Scotland

between Britain

Between Britain is an interesting book by Scottish writer Alastair Moffat, who has lived on the border of England and Scotland all his life. Here he looks at the union and conflict of both nations, from battles and castles to treaties. Beginning just north of the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed (which has been grabbed by England and Scotland back-and-forth for centuries), his tour travels backyard and ends at the mouth of the River Sark.

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