Other characteristics that attract droves of visitors include golf (the game was created in Scotland and it has some of the world's best and most famous courses), whisky (many distilleries can be visited), family history (millions worldwide are descended from those who emigrated from Scotland when times were tough in the 18th and 19th centuries), hiking, wildlife and winter sports.Around Loch Ness in the north of the Highlands, you can also hunt for the Monster... While the sun may not always shine, the warm welcome and wonderful diversity of places, landscapes and experiences mean that Scotland has much to offer any traveller.There are over 700 islands, most in groups to the west (the Inner Hebrides and Outer Hebrides) and north (Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands).
Scotland is the most administratively independent of the four home nations of the UK, and retained its own legal, religious and educational institutions at the Union in 1707 which created the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
Prior to 1707, it was an independent nation but had provided a monarch for England as well since 1603.
Or, take to one of the country's longest zip wires?
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Since 1999, it has had limited self-government with a First Minister and devolved parliament which governs nearly all internal affairs.