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Scotland is a land of mountains, wild moorlands, narrow valleys and plains. The Highlands of Scotland are among the oldest mountains in the world. The highest of them is Ben Nevis. The lakes of Scotland are called "lochs". The beautiful Loch Lomond with its thirty islands is the largest.

One third of the people in Scotland live in or near its capital Edinburgh, and its great industrial center Glasgow. Scotland is a country with deep national traditions. Scotland is a part of England but Scotland is not England. Scottish laws are different from those of the English.

Scotland has its own administration of government, which is centered in Edinburgh. It has its own national heroes. These heroes fought in endless battles against England. Scotland has its own national drink, national musical instruments, national dances, songs, poetry, traditions, food and sports, even education and etiquette.

There is Old Scotland and New Scotland. New Scotland is a land of steel and ships, coal and power, of factories and great ports, of modern literature and music. Old Scotland is a land of ballads, legendary heroes defending its independence, legendary knights, outlaws, beautiful queens, brave and cruel kings. And the shadow of Old Scotland has its place in New Scotland.

There is a national dress of Scotland, the kilt. It is the best walking dress yet invented by humankind. There is up to 5 meters of material in it. The kilt is airy, and leaves the legs free for climbing. It tolerates the rain for hours before it gets soaked, and likewise, it is warm on a cold day, and cool on a warm day.

Moreover, if a highlander is caught in the chilly mountains at night, his kilt acts like a blanket, as he unfastens it and wraps it around himself. The kilt's 5 meters of warm wool will help him to sleep comfortably enough at night outdoors.

The kilt is only worn by men and it is a relic of the time when the clan system existed in the Scottish Highlands. A clan was much like a very large family and everyone had the same family name like MacDonald or MacGeorge ("Mac" means the "son of"). Each clan had its own particular territory and was governed by a chieftain.

The clans had their own unique tartan, which both men and women wore. Nowadays, people can buy modern-day tartans, designed in local shops. They are different from the ancient tartans of yesteryear . The old handmade fabrics made from local sheep's wool have long disappeared and the secret of making them is lost. But today, the machine-made tartans are very popular. The thistle is the national emblem of Scotland.

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