8 people you’ll meet on your Scottish holiday


Posted by Content Team on 19th November 2018

Opinion polls claim that Scotland is the friendliest country in Europe.

And who are we to argue?

We love Scotland as a holiday destination because of the warm welcomes on offer, as well as the magnificent countryside and striking beauty at every turn.

Scotland is a seriously impressive country full of interesting contrasts; its people are famous for their inventions, engineering prowess, shipbuilding and proud history and heritage dating back millennia. From the highest peak to the deepest glen, across remote islands and forest-lined lochs, to the smallest hermitage and two of the grandest cities in Europe: Scotland has a distinct identity that’s uniquely defined by its people.

We really do think it’s the people that make the place extra special too, so we wrote a list of the kind of people you may encounter on your trip to Scotland that could enrich your experience for the better.

1. The Ranger


Readers of a certain age will be able to summon up a picture of the cartoon Ranger Smith from Yogi Bear in their mind’s eye when thinking of a National Park Ranger. Whilst Scotland’s rangers do have similar job specs to those in America, you definitely won’t run into any wild bears (or cartoon ones). Rangers are members of the public who land manage huge swathes of open and unspoiled country. Rangers aren’t like the police, but they are employed to make sure that visitors are safe and are being responsible yet kind to the environment during their visit.

Guardians of nature, there’s much that visitors can learn from even the briefest conversation with a ranger. Rangers have different specialities depending on the habitats they manage. You may encounter them on the coast, in the mountains, at the lakeside or at a managed country park or historical place of interest. Some rangers work for local councils, whilst others work for charities like the National Trust; you can find them working for the Forestry Commission or for privately owned companies. Rangers are often employed by large holiday parks too.

How to spot a ranger:

Chances are a ranger has spotted you before you see them. Being a ranger is a popular job these days for men and women that have a passion for outdoor life and firm grasp of what we can all do to look after our environment, starting with their own patch. Rangers really do have the best ‘offices’ in the world! Skilled in outdoor survival, there’s a good chance you could run in to the next Bear Grylls or Jane Goodall if you go down to woods today.  Tips: It’s best to stay on the good side of any rangers you meet because they are very resourceful and can solve most problems that people could come up against in the wilds of Scotland. This could be the most important person you meet!

2. The Piper

If you love Scotland, chances are you love the sound of bagpipes. The Piper is often envisioned as a solitary figure stood atop a lonely peak or down by the shore of a fantastical loch, but whilst many pipers do favour bold open spaces to perfect their craft, if the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo is anything to measure this by, playing the bagpipes is a very social hobby.

Head to Edinburgh Castle during the month of August for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, where you will find the iconic piper in good company amongst the massed pipes and drum bands. Held as a part of the Edinburgh Festival, bands made up of personnel from British Armed Forces regiments, the Commonwealth and over 20 other countries descend on the city to perform. The series of events is a serious revenue generator for the economy as well as a truly impressive spectacle. Fans of all ages head to the Royal Mile to witness Scottish musical displays where the drum, fife and pipe all come together to perform to huge crowds. Televised in over 40 countries, with an estimated 300 million viewers worldwide, it’s a huge musical showcase and a pure, unforgettable Scottish experience.

How to spot a piper:

Chances are you will hear a piper before you see him. Whether they have chosen to go solo or join their friends in a mass pipes and drums scenario makes no difference. Attire includes ghillies, tartan socks, garters, clan badges, a cap or bonnet, and a tartan kilt complete with a sporran.  Colours and some style flourishes are unique to different regions and clan origins. For a deeper insight take a look here.

3. The Fisherman 

You are likely to cross paths with a Scottish fisherman and women if holidaying on the coast and staying in a harbour village. In some cases, these are places where the public, restauranteurs and retailers rub shoulders while buying the freshly landed catch of the day. Imagining strolling down the dock to buy some kippers for breakfast? You’re also likely to encounter a fisherman if you fancy chartering a boat to catch some of your own fish. Chartering a fishing boat is more common than you might think with most coastal and some loch-based ports offering you the chance to head out to hunt the bonny shoals of herring.  Fishing off the coast and the islands of Scotland is hard work with the brunt of the North Sea battering the nation’s shorelines; only the hardiest of people can endure in these conditions and it’s easy to admire the tenacity of those that ensure our fishmongers are always fully stocked.

4. The Ski Instructor

Aviemore is ski-central in Scotland. The town revolves around one of the best-known ski resorts in the British Isles. At the heart of the Cairngorms National Park is Cairn Gorm Mountain, which is home to some fine slopes that entertain visitors of all abilities and stamina. You can take the UK’s highest funicular railway to the visitor complex where you hire skis and apparel and meet your instructors for a lesson.

There is only one ski school on the mountain but you can also source private instructors from Aviemore.  Ski instructors love what they do and many have spent years receiving training so that they can keep you safe.  Off-duty, you will probably find the instructors on the slopes or apres-ski in the cafes and bars in the towns of Aviemore and Kingussie. You can also get lessons in snowboarding too. Find your level and book in advance to avoid disappointment.

How to spot a ski instructor:

Propping up the bar apres-ski in the pubs and bars, they are well-co-ordinated in their movements, even if they are simply reaching for their next drink.  Their helpful air is underlined with the knowledge that being a skiing godhead, they have spent more time mastering their skiing prowess than anyone else you’ll probably ever meet. They’ve fallen over, broken more bones, and had more accidents to become the best than is even conceivable, so their cool reserve and vague air of elitism has been well earnt.  If you’re lucky, one of them could take you under their wing and you too could also soar like Eddie the Eagle.

5. Actors and Comedians

Considering the size of its population, Scotland probably has more famous, successful actors per head on an international scale than any other country in the world. With this in mind, there’s a fair to medium chance that you may happen upon at least one famous thesp during your visit. Here’s a check-list of the better known actors and comedians: Ewan McGregor, Sean Connery, Karen Gillan, Kelly Macdonald, Gerard Butler, Alan Cumming, David Tennant, Peter Capaldi, Gregor Fisher, Robert Carlyle, Billy Connolly, Shirley Henderson, and Robbie Coltrane, the list goes on! Some live in Hollywood or London nowadays but you never know who you may meet on the high road (or the low road).

How to spot an actor:

Well, if you love films head to the Edinburgh Film Festival in the summer or the Glasgow Film Festival in the winter. Both events often showcase English and Scottish movies so you are bound to see some Q+A’s with some thespians that wish to share their hardwork and insights into the filmmaking craft with the paying public. The former usually takes place at the Cameo Cinema and the latter is mainly based at the Glasgow Film Theatre.

For comedy, virtually everybody on Earth has heard of Billy Connolly, aka the Big Yin, but also look out for Frankie Boyle, Kevin Bridges, and Limmy on the bill.  You may also find Scottish actors at the theatre, treading the boards, or if you’re fortunate you can catch them orating Shakespeare’s finest from the fire escape during their cigarette break. After shows, some stars head to the stage door to sign a few autographs too! Christmas is a good time of year to see the odd actor in pantomine. You never know who’s getting decked out as Widow Twanky this year!

6. The Football Fanatic

Nobody in Europe is more devoted to live football than the Scottish. When it comes to attendance, your average footie nutter is three times more committed to attending the beautiful game than their English counterpart. An astonishing 0.21 per cent of the population follow their teams in person. Come match day there is often a stream of players heading through the citys by train or in their cars with the team scarves flapping from the window. Top teams in the Scottish Premiership are currently: Aberdeen, Celtic, Dundee, Hamilton Academical, Heart of Midlothian, Hibernian, Kilmarnock, Livingston, Motherwell, Rangers, St Johnstone, and St Mirren.

You guaranteed to get caught up in the infectious bonhomie shared by Scottish football fans. Why not catch a game whilst you’re in the country? A live game beats shouting at the TV in your living room any day of the week, you ken?

7. The Foodie

Where better than to push your gastronomic limits than in Scotland. With more local delicacies than you can poke a spoon at, you’re bound to have tasted something new before returning home; you can even get haggis flavoured crisps! With fine dining options and gastro pubs on tap in every glen it could be all too easy to plump for ham, egg and chips but what would the foodie choose?

When dining out with a Scottish gastronome you may get introduced to the Cullen Skink, which is a fish soup that originated in Cullen on the east coast. Now a fixture on menus across the country, you’re host ought to be able to tell you if the chef know’s what he/she is doing. For dessert ask about cranachan: consisting of fresh cream, raspberries, oats and honey with a dash of whisky added.  Be brave and try crowdie, mince and tatties, cock-a-leekie soup, square sausage, clootie, haggis, stovies, clapshot and the scariest of them all, the deep fried Mars Bar – yet no foodie would encourage you to try the last in this list unless they were an evil foodie.

8. The Artist


Scotland has a beauty that has inspired home-grown and visiting artists for hundreds of years. Today, the cities draw in traditional landscape painters, modern avant-garde practitioners, and lovers of the abstract. Photographers, video artists, filmmakers and other visionaries make the galleries of Glasgow and Edinburgh their home. You may find artists gaining inspiration at the Scottish National Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art, or the Kevingrove and Hunterian. The buildings that the art is housed in are eye catching enough. There are artists’ enclaves in the city where you will catch them in the afternoon whiling away the day with their friends in the cafes and pubs.

How to spot an artist: 

Artists give themselves away by dressing differently from everybody else except other artists. This may change from month to month so the best way to track them down is to frequent where you’d expect them to hang out. Try bars close to an art college that sells craft brewery ales, East European lagers or white beers. Other spots to look out for are independent bookshops, record shops, small galleries, retro clothing and furniture outlets, and comic book shops. A more traditional artist may be found lugging their easel and paints up a hillside to a beauty spot, lying in bed all morning, or snapping landscape shots from the loch shores. Take your own paints and cameras to join in the inclusive and irresistible creative vibe.

Travelling to Scotland

There’s more to Scotland than your stereotypes and caricatures. Use every excuse in the book to meet the friendliest people in Europe and get yourself there so that you can enjoy the mountains, glens, lochs, kyles and forests first-hand. For an unforgettable experience, stay at one of our holiday cottages.

We have accommodation for families and groups of all sizes including farmhouses, barn conversions, suburban home-from-homes, city apartments, bothy-style hermitages and so much more.

Visit our collection of holiday cottages in Scotland today and let it inspire your next thrilling holiday in Scotland.

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.