Scots Wha Hae

May 21, 2024

There are some places on the planet that I feel are slightly overrated (I realize I am speaking for myself, a minority of one). These include Disney Anywhere, cruise ships, Caribbean islands, Disney cruise ships bound for Caribbean islands, etc. My take: if you’ve seen one sun-drenched, palm-tree-festooned, rum-punch-adjacent isle, you’ve pretty much seen them all, with or without Mickey. That electric turquoise blue water color is indeed amazing, until you realize how prevalent it is in many parts of the world. And honestly? I can sit on a beach chair and read my book in Lewes, DE, for a fraction of the cost. 

I used to feel similarly about Scotland--no palms or turquoise waters there, of course, but I did always picture a somewhat lesser Ireland (which I have always adored). I mean, do kilts truly flatter anyone’s figure? Isn’t there a good reason the bagpipe music repertoire is so limited? And haggis—whose brilliant idea was that? 

But as our plans for as UK trip took shape, my loving husband expressed a keen desire to include Scotland in our journey. He’s always wanted to play golf there, for one thing, and he’s a big history buff too. And so, we added the Plaid Place to our itinerary. 

Well, I have to admit, I’ve been selling that country WAY short! For one thing, it has a rugged beauty that is very different from the Emerald Isle, what with its heather and its Highlands. Also, Scots proudly speak with an accent that sounds nothing like Irish, and their cows (pronounced “coos”) are really adorably shaggy. 

Every day there, more of my assumptions were upended. I learned to like haggis (at least in the form of the popular restaurant appetizer Haggis Bonbons—ground lamb offal--livers and other bits--mixed with spices and oats, made into balls, rolled in breadcrumbs, sauteed, and served with a sauce). We toured Blair Athol distillery, and I realized that my lifelong aversion to Scotch whisky was in fact an aversion to cheap Scotch whisky—the single malt stuff is pretty tasty. And Stevo reported that golfing in Pitlochry exceeded his expectations.

Literarily speaking, I was eagerly anticipating our time in Wordsworth’s and Beatrix Potter’s Lake District in England, not so much our visit to Robbie Burns-ville (Edinburgh). Much to my surprise, touring the Writers Museum on the Royal Mile gave me a whole new appreciation of the beloved Burns—he wrote tons more songs and poems than “Auld Lang Syne” during his brief lifetime, and helped keep Scottish culture alive. 

I feel a touch disloyal writing this paean to Scotland, almost like I’m betraying my Irish roots. But I’m coming to understand that, just as a mother always has room for another child to love, so I can harbor a deep affection for Ireland, England, and Scotland, too.

So break out the cullen skink, laddies, the neeps and the tatties! And don’t forget a dram of Glendranoch to sip (those darned castles are FREEZING)!





    I am an author (of five books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a retired director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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