The crucifixion of St Andrew
The crucifixion of St Andrew

Some questions and answers about Scotland

Scotland is a land with a proud recorded history, dating back well for thousands of years.

But with so much history, there are often plenty of questions about our great land.

Here, we answer seven queries.

The crucifixion of St Andrew

Q. What is the Cross of St Andrew?

A. St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, and his cross is the X-shaped saltire of the Scottish flag. As legend has it, St Andrew refused to be crucified on the same shaped cross as Jesus and was instead crucified on a crux decussate, or saltire.

Q. What is the ‘angel’s share’?

A. Whisky stored in barrels gradually evaporates at a rate of around 2% a year – the evaporated portion is known as the ‘angel’s share’.

Q. Who was Alexander Wood?

A. Edinburgh surgeon Alexander Wood, alongside Charles Pravaz, developed the medical hypodermic syringe with a needle fine enough to pierce the skin. Wood experimented with morphine, injected as a means of treating neuralgia. Both he and his wife became addicted to the drug, and she was the first person to die from an injected drug overdose.

Q. What is the one o’ clock gun?

A. Every day except Sundays the gun is fired from Edinburgh Castle at precisely 1.00pm. It has been since 1861 and was initially done to provide ships in the Firth of Forth with an audible time signal accompanying the time-ball dropping at the top of the Nelson Monument.

Q. What is Sillitoe Tartan?

A. The black and white check worn on police uniforms and vehicles all over the world is technically a design of tartan. Sillitoe Tartan is named after Chief Constable Percy Sillitoe of the City of Glasgow Police and the checks were first used by police in Scotland in 1932.

William Cullen

Q. Who invented the refrigerator?

A. The modern refrigerator stems from an invention of William Cullen, a Scottish professor. Cullen designed a small machine in 1755 that used a pump to create a partial vacuum over a container of diethyl ether which then boiled, absorbing heat from the surrounding air.

Q. Which loch is mysteriously linked to the number 11?

A. Loch Leven has an 11-mile circumference, 11 islands and 11 streams flowing into it. On one of its islands stands the castle that hosted Mary, Queen of Scots as a prisoner in 1567.