One only needs to travel to Britain to understand why it is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Britain is a nation where history comes to life with castles and museums that will dazzle anyone. The people are friendly and the countryside is incredible. I have been to Scotland, in the north of Great Britain, two times, once in 2003 when I traveled to Edinburgh and several of the northern islands, and again 10 years later visiting Glasgow, Greenock, Inverness, Lock Ness, Invergordon and a return to Edinburgh.

Present-day Britain was originally inhabited by Celtic tribes in the 6th Century BC. Written records of Scottish history comes to light with the arrival of the Romans to the island of Britannia. Because the Romans were unable to conquer the Picts (what they called the Scots) they built a wall (Hadrian's Wall) to keep the Picts from marauding across the boarder into Roman territory. In the 400's a group of people from Northern Ireland called the Scoti invaded western Scotland while the Angles invaded Southeastern Scotland, then in the 8th Century the Vikings came in and many of Scotlands current cities, overthrowing most of her kings. As a result of the Vikings, the Picts and the Scoti united to form the Kingdom of Scotland in the 9th century. In the 12th Century, Anglo-Norman barons, including the Bruce family, laid claim to much of mainland Scotland. In exchange for land, these barons helped King David I to secure his claim to the throne and feudalised much of Scotland. By the 13th century, Alexander II and his son Alexander III were determined to bring all of the former Norwegian territories in the west of Scotland into their own territories. The Norwegian king, Hakon, sent a massive fleet to Scotland to hold on to his territories. In September 1263, the two forces clashed at the Battle of Largs in Ayrshire. Three years later, with the conclusion of the Treaty of Perth, Magnus Hakonarson, King of Norway, gave up Scotland's western seaboard to Alexander III. Scotland – whose throne passed through the control of the houses of Balliol and Bruce in the following years – had yet to win its freedom. The bloody wars of Scottish independence followed as the Scots tried to throw off the yoke of English influence. Scottish landowner Sir William Wallace became one of the main battle leaders, defeating an English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. Wallace served as Guardian of Scotland until his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk. In 1305, he was captured in Robroyston, near Glasgow, and handed over to King Edward I of England, who had him hanged, drawn and quartered for high treason. In 1314, Robert Bruce inflicted a significant defeat on the English at the Battle of Bannockburn. However, the conflicts continued for centuries. In 1603, after the death of Elizabeth I of England, James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English throne as James I. In 1707, the Acts of Union formally united Scotland with England and Wales as Great Britain. During the Scottish Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution, Scotland became one of the commercial, intellectual and industrial powerhouses of Europe. The country’s industrial decline following the Second World War was particularly acute but in recent decades Scotland has enjoyed a cultural and economic renaissance, fuelled in part by a resurgent financial services sector, the proceeds of North Sea oil and gas and, latterly, a devolved Parliament.

The Ring of Brodgar, Orkney Islands, Scotland 2003

Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland 2003

Glasgow & Greenock 2013

Inverness & Invergordon 2013

Lock Ness 2013

Edinburgh 2013