Scotland Geography


Interesting details

The geography of Scotland is very varied. In general, it is divided into the flat lowlands in the south and the mountainous highlands in the north and west of the country. The gentle curves of the Highlands bear witness to the last inland freezing of Europe.

Scotland’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, is also the highest mountain in the United Kingdom at 1,344 m. The numerous long and deep estuaries that characterize the geography of Scotland are called Firths and Lochs. The north and west coasts are dotted with numerous islands, including the Hebrides and the Orkney and Shetland Islands. The biggest cities are Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. As mentioned above, Scotland covers an area of ​​78,772 km². Thereof:

  • Forest
    Around 11% of the country is forested. 61.5% of it is coniferous forest, 28% is deciduous forest, the rest is cripple and bush wood. A total of 67% of the UK’s forests are severely damaged, which is the highest percentage of forest damage anywhere in Europe.
  • Meadow and pasture land
    Around 51% of the total area of ​​Great Britain is used as meadow, pasture or arable land.
  • Fields and fields
    A good third of the arable land in the country is used for arable farming. Mainly grain, fruit, vegetables and rapeseed are grown.
  • Marsh
    wetlands there are few in the UK.
  • Mountains
    About 19% of the country is covered by mountainous terrain.

National border, length of coast

Scotland has a kind of “land border” over a length of approx. 100 km only with England. It should be pointed out here again that Scotland, together with England and Wales, is part of Great Britain. Together with Northern Ireland there is the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, which is often abbreviated to UK (United Kingdom).

Scotland has a marine coastline of around 3,540 km.


The term “British Isles” refers to the entire archipelago of Great Britain, from Scilly in the south to the Shetland Isles in northern Scotland and from the western Blasket Isles to eastern East Anglia. The entire area includes over 6,000 islands.
The large Scottish islands or archipelagos include Orkney, Shetland, Isles of Skye and the Hebrides. The Hebrides are divided into the Inner and Outer Hebrides:

Orkney Islands
The Orkney Islands consists of 17 inhabited and 50 uninhabited islands, which are about 10 km from the mainland between the North Sea and the Atlantic. The main island is Mainland with the capital Kirkwall, which has about 7,000 residents. Here are the highest cliffs in Scotland, the 347 m high sandstone cliffs of Hoy. The green mountains on the back are crossed by a glacier valley. The “Heart of Neolithic Orkney” with the Stones of Stennes, the Ring of Brodgar, the Standing Stones and the Maeshowe Chmbered Cairn have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. The Orkney archipelago has a total area of ​​992 km², of which 492 km² is on the main island of Mainland. The islands belonging to the archipelago are spread over an area of ​​almost 50 km in east-west and 85 km in north-south direction. It is said of its residents

Shetland Islands
The Shetland Islands consist of a total of 100 islands, which are located about 350 km from Aberdeen. The approximately 23,000 Shetlanders live on 18 of the islands, the center of which is the old port city of Lerwick on the main island of Mainland. A particularly large number of animals can be seen on the small Shetland island of Mousa, which makes up the northernmost part of Great Britain. About two thirds of the 1,426 km² area is on the main island Mainland. The Shetland Islands are the northernmost part of Scotland and thus Great Britain too. The Shetlands are particularly known for the very frugal Shetland ponies and the Shetland sweaters.

The Hebrides archipelago lies off Scotland’s west coast and consists of 500 islands that are 50 to 100 km from the mainland. As mentioned, they are divided into the Inner and Outer Hebrides. Only about 80 of the Hebridean Islands are inhabited. The mysterious Standing Stones of Callanish are on Lewis Island, the largest of the Outer Hybrids with an area of ​​1,769 km². On South Harris you can drive on a single-lane panoramic road through rock archipelago, inlets and small farms. The Hebrides stretch for more than 200 km in length from about 59 ° N 6 ° W to 56 ° N 8 ° W and form a wall for Scotland’s west coast in front of the Atlantic. The approximately 500 islands have a total area of ​​7,285 km². Worth mentioning is the 875 km² island of Mull, which belongs to the Inner Hebrides.

Isles of Skye
The Isles of Skye with an area of ​​around 1,656 km² is the largest of the Inner Hebrides and is connected to the mainland by a bridge. The mountain range of the Cuillins is very popular there, of which the Sgurr Dearg is the highest at 986 m.

Tidal range

On the Scottish east coast, the mean tidal range is around 3.50 m.
In the port of Ullapool on the west coast in northern Scotland, the tidal range has almost the same value.
For detailed explanations of ebb and flow, see Tides, Ebb and Flow.

Longitude and latitude

Scotland – without the islands – extends (rounded) over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from 54 ° 35` to 58 ° `40` north latitude
Δλ = from 1 ° 50 ‘to 6 ° 15` west longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Legal time

In Scotland there is a one-hour time difference to Central European Time (CET).

Δt (CET) = – 1 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

Highest point of the sun in Edinburgh

Edinburgh lies at a north latitude of around φ = 56 °.
As long as the sun is at the tropic, i.e. at δ = 23.5 °, it is summer in Edinburgh, this is June 21st. Then, for the highest position of the sun at noon, according to Eq. 1 (see position of the sun):

56 ° = (90 ° – h) + 23.5 °


H = 57.5 °

At 57.5 °, the sun in Edinburgh has the highest level of the entire year above the horizon (more precisely: above the horizon).

Highest point of the sun in Edinburgh