Every year on 25 January, Scotland celebrates the life of its national poet, Robert Burns. In honour of Burns Day, we reveal some of the things we love most about our northern neighbours
Deep fried Mars bars
Scotland’s national dish is so wrong, it’s right... On paper, Mars bars most definitely shouldn't be deep-fried but, once you’ve had a bite of a bar that’s been slathered in batter, you’ll understand what the fuss is all about. However contrary to urban myth, Scots don’t just eat deep fried Mars bars - they’re also partial to porridge, shortbread (surely the best biscuit ever?) and haggis: a savoury dish containing sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, that’s then mixed with onions and oatmeal. It sounds vile but if you manage to forget what haggis is made of, it's actually surprisingly tasty!
It’s long been said that "a man in a kilt is a man and a half" and here at JAT we’re inclined to agree. Scotland’s national dress isn’t cheap - standard traditional kilts are made from wool and retail for around £350 - but add a certain stature to its wearer. Speaking of which, what does one wear under a kilt? True Scots favour "going commando”...
Forget what you think you know: the pattern of interlocking stripes isn’t plaid. Rather it’s tartan. Traditionally different tartans were associated with different clans so, if like me, your clan name is 'Keith', you would typically choose to sport the Keith tartan. However if you don't have any Scottish relatives, you can still wear tartan: simply opt for a universal tartan such as Highland Granite, Heritage of Scotland or Flower of Scotland.
Blame it on Mad Men’s Don Draper and Roger Sterling (both of whom are frequently seen on screen sipping the brown stuff) but whisky is the tipple of choice for 2015. However the Scots have always been mad about single malt. There are around 98 active malt distilleries in Scotland, with whisky accounting for more than 85 per cent of Scottish food and drink exports. Slàinte!
The wild haired one from Dunblane is undoubtedly one of Scotland’s biggest heroes having beaten Novak Djokovic in straight sets back in June 2013, to become the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years. He also won something that few ever expected would happen during his dour teenage days: our hearts.
Why do you love Scotland? Let us know by posting a comment below!