Let's be clear on some things. Scotland is part of the United Kingdom (for now anyway), but there are probably no two nationalities that are more different than the Scots and the English. If the English are prim, soft-spoken, and into tea, and the Irish are charming; the Scots are gritty, loud, in your face and into Haggis. Irritate a Scotsman (or woman) and you could be in for a fight. So tourists beware. Scotland's not England.
Scots tend not to discuss, but rather to argue. Tell them an American brand of blended Scotch Whiskey is better than Single Malt or that you don't see why Scotland wants to leave the United Kingdom, especially in a pub, and you could be in for a brawl. Think of it like offending an outspoken New Yorker. Here are 10 things that tourists do that the Scots don't like.
10 Why Leave The United Kingdom?
Some in Scotland want to leave the U.K. There's even been an unsuccessful referendum on the issue. You think it's a reasonable question. So, there you are in a pub on a Saturday night and you strike up a conversation with a guy who has probably had a few too many. Scottish pubs are not like English pubs or bars. Think grittier.
Why leave, you ask. What you maybe don't appreciate is that in early modern times the "barbaric" Scots and the uppity English fought tooth and nail. Plus, these days, many in Scotland doubt the wisdom of leaving the European Union. Scots love the Queen but are not so certain about the English politicians.
9 Not Having The Right Change For The Bus
You jump on a bus, say in Edinburgh, having stood in a long line to get on. There are people behind you. It's just a fact: If you don't have the right change, you are just out of luck, because you won't get any change back.
And don't' even think about pulling out the plastic. It's a toss-up as to whether they would laugh hysterically or tell you to go to heck. And if it's a busy time like the rush hour, you might just have a passenger riot on your hands. Keep a lot of change with you, always.
8 Expecting To Pay In Their Own Currency
As amazing as it sounds, you would be surprised how many tourists roll up to a foreign destination thinking they can pay in their own currency. The Scots are not crazy about the English, but their currency is the British Pound Sterling.
The biggest offenders are the Europeans who expect to be able to use the Euro throughout Europe. Americans, who some English and Scots view as "Lords of the Universe" also offend on this score. What, they say to a hotel, you won't take a Greenback? No, in a word, they won't. So give up and use the plastic.
7 Wet Dog Syndrome
Let's face it, it rains a lot in Scotland. Some months there may only be around ten rain-free days. So, a tourist without a raincoat and an umbrella is a nuisance. Why? Imagine you own a restaurant and a rain-soaked tourist family arrives, dripping water as they go.
Or maybe you are a shop owner faced with damp tourists who handle the merchandise and leaf through magazines without buying them. There's a related point: These kinds of people tend to moan loudly about the weather. Be quiet and buy rain gear.
6 But We ALL Speak English Don't We?
Well, yes and no. The further North you go in England, the more difficult it gets to understand the locals. By the time you hit Newscastle, you encounter the thick, clipped Geordie accent. Catch an episode of the English TV show Geordie Shores and you will see what we mean.
The same applies to Scotland. In the Lowlands (say Edinburgh) you tend to get a generic Scottish accent and it's not too bad. But by the time you hit Glasgow in the North, you get an accent so thick and guttural that you will find it extremely difficult to understand. You will need to be patient. Avoid shouting.
5 Complaints - I Didn't Know It Would Be This Cold
Let's face it, even in the depths of summer, Scottish temperatures tend to hover around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Just imagine what it's like in the winter. Some very familiar-looking people have obviously taken advice and dressed appropriately.
Tourists who don't dress warmly, often just complain. Sometimes they grumble about having to go and buy warmer clothes. Just look at the price of this sweater, they moan. This annoys the shopkeepers, the hoteliers and the poor Scots who sit next to them on a bus and have to listen to the moaning and groaning.
4 Isn't It Cute? They Drive On the Wrong Side Of The Road
In Scotland, they drive on the left-hand side of the road. So, when you cross a street, which way do you look first? Left? Wrong. It's right. Think about it. You can get tourists in the middle of the street dodging the traffic. Oops.
Gosh forbid they rent a car and try to negotiate the roads. Thing is if something happens the tourist accustomed to driving on the right-hand side of the road will probably react the wrong way. And the steering wheel is on the right. The guy with his hands up is the driver.
3 Clogging Things Up
You're a resident of Edinburgh rushing down the street. You look down at your phone and wham bam next thing you know you have run into a tourist in shorts taking a picture of Edinburgh Castle while complaining about the cold weather.
Or you are a student rushing to get to class and there is a line of tourists blocking the pavement (sidewalk) while taking pictures of one another. Or maybe you run smack into some guy who is so busy looking up, he doesn't even know you are there. Annoying.
2 It's Not Like At Home
It's not just Americans who do these. The German, Chinese and Russians are famous for shaming a country they are visiting because it's not like home. Isn't that the point of traveling, to experience different cultures and traditions?
Not for some people. The point of travel is being able to post interesting "foreign" pictures on social media. "Here I am in a Scottish pub." Picture posted, they take a sip of dark and bitter Guinness and make a face. It's not as good as beer back home. Can I get a Budweiser?
1 Doing Stuff To Greyfriar's Bobby
Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became a celebrity in 19th-century Edinburgh because he supposedly spent 14 years watching over the grave of his owner, his vigil only ending when Bob himself died.
There's a statue memorial to him in Greyfriars Kirk Cemetary. And tourists being tourists, they like to rub the dog's nose for luck. Okay, I'll rub his nose and you take a picture of me. Then we'll swap. Locals just shake their head at this nonsense.