Famed for its stunning scenery, endless mountains and incredible views, this is a magical and mystical part of the world that is also largely untouched by human civilisation.
National Animals of the World
National animals represent the spirit of a country. For instance, America’s national animal is the eagle – the symbol of freedom, England’s national animal is the lion – the symbol of strength, while Italy’s national animal is the wolf – a representation of solidarity.
Meanwhile, Scotland’s national animal is… the unicorn.
The National Animal of Scotland
While the unicorn may sound like a strange choice for a national animal, it has in fact been around for thousands of years, and holds a very special place in Scottish history.
While the unicorn has always been a mythical creature, there was a time in history when the general population believed in their existence. This belief was reinforced by the appearance of narwhal and rhinoceros horns that were found in odd places, and back then, this was enough to convince people that unicorns actually existed.
Unicorns have been a part of literature, art and history for more than 3000 years. They are characterised by their strength, purity, pride and power – words that are often used to describe Scottish people.
Since the 15th century, unicorns have been used by many monarchs of Scotland on their coat of arms, as this mythical beast is favoured for its representation of power. If you look carefully at the Royal Coat of Arms for the United Kingdom, there is even a unicorn on there, since Scotland is part of the British Empire.
In the 17th century, many people believed in the healing properties of the unicorn’s horn (known as the alicorn). Many apothecaries used grounded walrus or ivory horn, pretending it was unicorn horn, and claimed that it could cure a wide range of illnesses, including the plague.
To this day, unicorns remain incredibly popular, especially amongst young children! There is even a National Unicorn Day on the 9th April, celebrating anything and everything to do with unicorns.
There are a number of statues of unicorns throughout Edinburgh, including:
- The Thistle Chapel, St Giles Cathedral
- Mercat Cross, Edinburgh Old Town
- Above the fireplace in the royal palace at Edinburgh Castle
- Holyrood Palace Gates and the entrance to the Queen’s Gallery
- Mason’s Pillars, The Meadows
- Mural on the corner of Leith Walk and Albert Street
Visit Argyll’s Secret Coast
If you’re looking to escape from reality and visit a secluded part of the world, consider Argyll, home of Knockdow House. From beautiful landscapes and outstanding scenery to endless rolling hills, Argyll is definitely worth a visit.
And who knows, you may even be lucky enough to spot a real unicorn on your trip…!