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Caithness & Sutherland Geography Facts

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Scottish Facts

Scotland is bigger than many people think being nearly two thirds the size of England in land area. Scotland also has a very long coastline and few places are far from the sea. With many inlets and craggy features- geos etc it not hard to see why Scots have been heavily involved with fishing and ship building in the past. The lists of many geographical features are long so here are just a few main ones with the odd Caithness one maybe thrown in for comparison.

Scotland includes 787 islands, of which most belong to groups known as the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland but only 62 are over 3 square miles

Scotland has a great many lochs (lakes). Along the coast are many Sea Lochs, the longest of which, Loch Fyne, penetrates over 40 miles inland. Fresh-water lochs include Loch Ness . Loch Eriboll in Sutherland on the north coast has one of the most spectacular for views.

Scotland is a country of over 5 million people and an area of over 30,000 square miles. There are 790 islands in Scotland. If you travelled north to its furthest point, you would end up at the lighthouse on Muckle Flugga, on the island of Unst, Shetland. If you turned west, the furthest you could travel would be to St Kilda, looking out on the Atlantic Ocean. Eastwards you would come to Buchan Ness.

Mainland Scotland measures 78,789 km2; 30,420ml2. The maximum length on the mainland is between the Mull of Galloway in the south to Cape Wrath in the north, measuring 440km, 274 miles. The widest part of the mainland stretches from Applecross in the west to Buchan Ness in the east, measuring 248km, 154 miles. The narrowest part of Scotland is between the Firths of Forth and Clyde, measuring only 41km, 25 miles.

The northernmost point in mainland Scotland is Dunnet Head, not John O'Groats.

Scotland's Rivers
26 rivers flow to the sea. In Caithness The main ones are the rivers Wick and Thurso.

  • Tay (188 Km or 117 miles long)
  • Spey (177 Km or 110 miles)
  • Clyde (170 Km or 106 miles)
  • Tweed (154 Km or 96 miles)
  • Dee (154 Km or 96 miles)
  • Don (132 Km or 82 miles)
  • Forth (106 Km or 66 miles)
     tidal for 85 Km or 53 miles)

Scotland's Mountains
284 peaks over 3000 feet

  • Ben Nevis (1343m or 4406 feet high)
  • Ben Macdhui (1309m or 4296 feet)
  • Braeriach (1296m or 4252 feet)
  • Cairntoul (1293m or 4241 feet)
  • Cairngorm (1245m or 4084 feet)
  • Ben Lawers (1214m or 3984 feet)

Scotland's Lochs

  • Loch Lomond (27 sq. miles in area)
    Mean depth is 37m (121 feet) and maximum depth is 190m (623 feet).
      Largest fresh water loch.
  • Loch Ness (21.8 sq. miles)
    Mean depth is 132m (433 feet) and maximum depth is 230m (754 feet).
  • Loch Awe (14.8 sq. miles)
    Mean depth is 32m (105 feet) and maximum depth is 93m (307 feet).

Top 5 Largest Freshwater Lochs
1. Lomond    71.1km2 ; 27.5 miles2
2. Ness    56.4km2 ; 28.1 miles2
3. Awe/Etive    38.5km2 ; 14.9 miles2
4. Maree    28.6km2 ; 10.3 miles2
5. Morar    26.7km2 ; 10.3 miles

Main Exports
Office Equipment. Communications Equipment, Whisky, Chemicals

Main Export Markets Outwith The UK
USA, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy

What's In Scotland
100 Distilleries, 600 Golf Courses, 70 National Nature Reserves, Over 200,000 wild red deer in addition to roe and sika. 

Flora and Fauna
Scotland has a wide variety of plants and animals, but do you know the tallest tree? Or what animals have become extinct?
The oldest tree in Europe is around 3500 years old, and is a churchyard yew at Fortingall.
The tallest tree in Britain is a Douglas Fir at the Hermitage in Perthshire, it measures a huge 213 ft tall.
Extinct species
Aurock (urus: 6 feet wild ox) Extinct in Scotland in prehistoric times
Beaver Extinct by 11th c or 12th c
Caledonian Bear (used in Roman arenas) Survived to 10th c
Elk (moose) Disappeared in 9th c
Giant Fallow Deer (3.7 m/12 ft high) Disappeared in pre-historic times
Great Auk Exterminated on St Kilda, 1840
Lynx Disappeared in prehistoric times
Reindeer  Disappeared in 9th c (re-introduced in 1950s)
White-tailed Sea Eagle Disappeared in 19th c
Wild Pig Existed until early 18th c
Wolf Last one killed in Morayshire, 1743

The longest single word placename in Scotland is Coignafeainternich in Inverness-shire.

The oldest working post office in Scotland is in Sanquhar near Dumfries?

The oldest structure in Scotland is a hearth from Mesolithic period (c 6013BC), on the island of Jura, Argyll.

At no point does Hadrian's Wall touch Scotland.

The highest restaurant in Britain is the Ptarmigan on Cairngorm.

The highest village in Scotland is Wanlockhead in Dumfries and Galloway (420m/1380ft above sea level).

The largest ship ever built in Scotland was the Queen Elizabeth, launched in 1938. The smaller QE II was launched by Queen Elizabeth in 1967.

A Scottish mile is 1,984 yards compared to the norm of 1,760 yards.

The world's oldest rock is the "Archaen Gneiss" from Lewis at almost 3000 million years old.

The highest cliffs in Britain are the Conachair cliffs on St Kilda, Western Isles (425 m/1,397 ft).
Note - Caithness.org web master Bill Fernie was at the top in 1969

The shortest scheduled flight in the world is one and a half miles from Westray to Papa Westray in the Orkneys. The trip takes 1 minute and 14 seconds.

The oldest high school in Scotland is the Royal High School in Edinburgh established in 1128.

The youngest undergraduate in Scotland was William Thomson, Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), who entered Glasgow University at the age of ten.

The most northerly point on the Scottish mainland is at Dunnet Head, Caithness

Scottish Inventions - Where Do You Start?
Penicillin, Golf, Cloning, Telephone, Television, Fax Machine ( A Caithness man Alexander Bain and further back than you might think)   The list is long - check Google for hundreds more.

See Also
2001 Census

Scottish Film Industry
Scottish News
BBC Scotland
Radio Scotland Online
BBC Scotland News On The Air
BBC Scotland Sportsound
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
BBC Scotland Web Cams


Scottish Household Survey

Scottish Population 2001 Census    - - World Population Clock

Scottish History
Dark Ages
Early Church
Wars Of Independence
Renaissance & Reformation
Historical Oddities

Caithness History

Scottish People Statistics
Households, families and their finances Health, community care and social work services for children & adults
Population and population change (births deaths & migration)
Schools, further & higher education, adult training
Housing, housebuilding, homelessness

Scottish Economy Statistics
Macro-economics (GDP, balance of payments, central & local government expenditure, taxes, input-output tables) Micro-economics (performance of individual industrial sectors, regional assistance). The labour market, employment, unemployment, New Deal.

Scottish State Statistics
Crime, the courts and prisons, firearms, liquor licensing, Defence, International Development

Scottish Land Statistics
The natural environment (air, water, soil, natural resources), land planning, sustainable development
Transport, travel, road accidents, tourism Farming, forestry, fishing, food production

Answers to Lots of Scottish Questions

Gazetteer For Scotland for Thousands of Facts

Scottish Government

Scottish Executive Links

Scottish Environment Statistics  1998
List of Tables, Maps and Charts
List of Tables, Maps and Charts
List of Tables, Maps and Charts
List of Tables, Maps and Charts
List of Tables, Maps and Charts
List of Tables, Maps and Charts
List of Tables, Maps and Charts

Clinical Resource And Audit Group (CRAG)
CRAG - the Clinical Resource and Audit Group - is the lead body within the Scottish Executive Health Department promoting clinical effectiveness in Scotland. The main committee of CRAG together with its subcommittees provides advice to the Health Department, acts as a national forum to support and facilitate the implementation of the clinical effectiveness agenda and funds a number of clinical effectiveness programmes and projects. Links To over 300 Web sites with emphasis on Scottish Health

Scottish Health Statistics 2000

Drug Related Deaths In Scotland 1998

SEERAD - Farming Facts 2001
SERAD Farming Facts 2002

More Farming Web Sites

Scottish Household Survey 2001/2002

The fourth Annual and Technical Reports of the Scottish Household Survey are released today by the Scottish Executive. The Annual Report outlines the main findings from interviews carried out in 2001 and 2002, providing detailed information about people living in Scotland today. The Technical Report provides technical details of the survey methodology and contains a summary copy of the survey questionnaire.

The multi-purpose survey is a Scottish Executive National Statistics publication, commissioned to provide accurate, representative and up-to-date information on the characteristics, composition and behaviour of Scottish Households in a number of key policy areas, particularly relating to transport, social justice and housing.

The results are based on interviews carried out with over 30,000 households throughout Scotland in 2001 and 2002.

Some of the key findings from the Annual Report include:

Who we are:

  • Two-thirds of households (66 per cent) contain only one or two people.

  • Single person households (single adults and single pensioners) account for just over 30 per cent of the total, while households containing five or more people make up only 6 per cent of all households.

  • Just over a quarter (27 per cent) of households contain children (aged under 16 years).

  • Among the adult population in private households, women make up 56 per cent of the population.

  • 55 per cent of adults are married and 7 per cent are cohabiting with a partner. Twenty per cent of adults are single, 10 per cent widowed and 8 per cent divorced or separated.

Where we live:

  • Owner-occupation - either owned outright or buying with a mortgage - now accounts for almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of households' tenure, while 29 per cent of households rent from a social landlord and 6 per cent rent from a private landlord.

  • Just over a third (36 per cent) of all households live in flats.

  • Annual turnover is high in the private rented sector where 47 per cent of adults had been in their current property for less than one year.

  • Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of households have at least one more bedroom than they require, with only 3 per cent having fewer bedrooms than required.

  • 92 per cent of adults say their local area is either a 'very good' or 'fairly good' place to live, but there is considerable variation between tenures. 63 per cent of households in owner-occupied accommodation and 53 per cent of those buying their home with the help of a mortgage rated their neighbourhood as very good. In the rented sectors only around a third of social rented tenants say their area is 'very good' - 36 per cent of those renting from a local authority or Scottish Homes and 33 per cent of those renting from a housing association or co-operative.

  • 20 per cent of adults think it is unsafe to travel by bus in the evening, 24 per cent think it is unsafe to walk alone in their neighbourhood after dark and 20 per cent think it is unsafe to travel by train in the evening.

  • Just over a quarter of adults (26 per cent) saying that they feel involved in their communities either a great deal or a fair amount.

What we do:

  • Fifty-two per cent of all adults are in some type of paid employment - either employed full or part time or self employed. Twenty-six per cent are retired, 3 per cent are unemployed, 8 per cent are looking after the home or family, 5 per cent are in full-time education, and 6 per cent are unable to work on the grounds of health or disability.

  • Fifty-nine per cent of all working adults work more than 36 hours per week.

  • Just under two-thirds of female adults (64 per cent) of working age are in paid employment (full-time, part-time or self-employed).

  • A high proportion of adults (63 per cent) travel to work/education in a car or van, either as a driver or passenger. In addition, 15 per cent walk and 15 per cent travel by bus, while only 2 per cent cycle and 3 per cent travel by rail.

  • Overall, 29 per cent of adults of working age are undertaking some kind of training or education.

  • Overall, 19 per cent of adults have no qualifications and this is broadly similar among both men and women.

How we live:

  • Around two-thirds of households (65 per cent) in Scotland have access to at least one motor vehicle for private use.

  • Households in large urban areas are least likely to have access to a motor vehicle for private use. In contrast, households in rural areas are most likely to have access to two or more motor vehicles for private use.

  • The majority of households (94 per cent) across Scotland have a telephone, and 42 per cent have a computer/PC. This compares with 33 per cent of households that had a computer/PC in 1999/2000.

  • Across Scotland as a whole, 54 per cent of households have savings or investments and 87 per cent of households have a bank or building society account.

  • Forty-six per cent of households perceive themselves to be managing 'very' or 'quite' well financially. Eleven per cent of Scottish households perceive themselves not to be managing well financially.

  • The majority (55 per cent) of all the adult population described their health as 'good' and around a third (31 per cent) described it as 'fairly good'. However, 14 per cent of all adults described their health as 'not good'.

  • Over a quarter (28 per cent) of adults smoke cigarettes.

  • Just under a third of all households (31 per cent) contain at least one person with a long-standing limiting illness, health problem or disability.

  • Just over one in 10 (12 per cent) of all households contain someone who needs regular help or care because they are sick, disabled or elderly.

Our Communities:

  • Just over a quarter of adults (26 per cent) say that they gave up time in the previous 12 months to help as a volunteer for a charity, club, campaign or organisation.

  • Rates of volunteering are highest in remote rural areas (37 per cent) and lowest in large urban areas (23 per cent).

  • The majority of adults who volunteer do so for a few hours each month, with 62 per cent volunteering for five hours or less a month.

  • 81 per cent of adults either tend to agree or strongly agree that voting in local elections is important.

  • Forty-three per cent of adults either tend to agree or strongly agree with the statement 'my council provides high-quality services', while around a third (33 per cent) disagree.

  • Over half (56 per cent) of the adult population have not recycled any glass, paper, metal or plastic in the past month.

  • The most common religious affiliation is with the Church of Scotland, with almost half (47 per cent) of all adults being of that faith

  • Overall, 28 per cent of all adults have no religious affiliation although this varies by age, with younger adults being more likely to have no religious affiliation.

The Scottish Household Survey (SHS) is a continuous, multi-purpose survey which started in February 1999 and is being carried out on behalf of the Scottish Executive by NFO System Three and MORI Scotland. The survey is based on a random sample of private households in Scotland.

The results presented in this report are based on face-to-face interviews which took place between January 2001 and December 2002 (inclusive) and collected information from 30,639 households.

Hard copies of Scotland's People: Results from the 2001/2002 Scottish Household Survey (Volume 7: Annual Report) and Scotland's People: Results from the 2001/2002 Scottish Household Survey (Volume 8: Technical Report) are available from The Stationery Office Bookshop, 71 Lothian Road, Edinburgh EH3 9AZ (tel: 0870 606 55 66) priced 20 Annual Report) and 15 (Technical Report)