More than haggis, nips and tatties .. the Scottish Ultra Scene

hokahighlandPlanning your next year’s vacation, and looking to go a little further afield?  If you haven’t yet been to Scotland, you need to add it to your bucket list – warm, hospitable people, a great running community and some badass ultras .. all of this combines to make it a great destination for your next Ultra.  Check out three great ultras here.

Scotland has 282 mountains over 3000 ft (or ‘munros’ as they are called in Scotland), the highest of which is Ben Nevis at  4408 ft (1344 metres), so you can imagine that hiking or running here is no walk in the park.  It’s popular in Scotland to go ‘munro bagging’ – and the record for bagging all 282 is 9 hours and 6 minutes, by Munroist Stephen Pyke in 2010.

The wild scenery is spectacular and the weather never fails to surprise – expect all seasons in one day and always take rain gear!

What makes Scotland unique:

Tartan and kilts: traditionally worn for weddings, at the Highland Games (by competitors and spectators) and ceilidhs .. and occasionally by the odd ultra runner.  Highland Games are held in different parts of Scotland during the summer – see if you can time your visit to include one.

bagpiperBagpipes and traditional music: you’ll hear bagpipes on the streets, in the pubs and at ceilidhs.

Loch Ness Monster: visitors and local alike come to Loch Ness to catch sight of Nessie, Scotland’s own ogopogo!  There are over 1000 eye witness accounts of the monster, leaving scientists baffled.

St Andrew: Scotland’s patron saint, celebrated throughout Scotland on November 30th. Thought to have been a fisherman and one of Jesus’ first Apostles, St Andrew was crucified on a diagonal cross by the Romans in Greece, at his request as he felt  he wasn’t worthy to die on the same shape of cross as Jesus. The blue diagonal became the flag of Scotland.

highlandgamesHaggis: Scotland’s national dish and an object of culinary fascination around the world!

Whisky: Scotland’s national drink, and not surprisingly, it’s biggest export.  The Scots are purists when it comes to drinking whisky. To assimilate the culture, when drinking whisky in Scotland, it’s acceptable to drink it neat, with a drop or two of water or an ice cube.  Mixing with anything else might be frowned upon.

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