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It was a Scotsman, William McGregor, who set up the first English football league and it was in Scotland that the first ever international match was played: in Partick, Glasgow where England and Scotland drew 0-0 in 1872.
Scotland is the home of golf, or in the emphatic words of Jack Nicklaus, 'Scotland is golf!' With over 550 courses to choose from (that's more than one new course to try per day) it's not difficult to understand why the sport has become somewhat of a national obsession. Perhaps of most renown are Scotland's illustrious links courses - the Old Course at St Andrews, Royal Troon, Carnoustie, Muirfield and Turnberry - which regularly play host to the British Open, and have produced some of the most memorable and awe-inspiring golfing moments. Wherever you decide to play, a round of golf in Scotland will undoubtedly become a treasured memory.
When the winter rolls around and the golf stops, a host of other sports get going as Scotland becomes a Mecca for an ever increasing number of skiers and snowboarders. Scotland's many mountain ranges – from the Cairngorms to Glenshee and Glencoe – offer some of the most exhilarating winter climbing in the world. If you need some time to get into training there's The Ice Factory near Fort William: the biggest indoor ice climbing facility in the world. Or, for something a little less challenging, remember that serious hill walkers say that you haven't really walked in Scotland until you've experienced the mountains in winter...
With over 6,000 lochs and lakes and 6,200 miles of coastline, it's small wonder that watersports enthusiasts are flocking to Scotland: canoeing, kayaking, surfing, diving and sailing are all catered for. The Tiree Wave Classic is now a key event fixture for windsurfing, with hundreds of pro-windsurfers descending on the island to take part in the week-long competition.
Away from the great outdoors you'll find that every city in Scotland has sports centres and gyms catering for every conceivable sporting activity, with great coaching and competition opportunities in a variety of sports. Scotland even has its own Tennis Academy at Gannochy Tennis Centre, based at Stirling University. Small wonder we're producing international sports stars of the calibre of Andy Murray.
There are also the more traditional sporting pursuits. People from all walks of life enjoy our unparalleled shooting and fishing. Today, over a century later, the Highlands are still the world's number one destination for these activities, while other Scottish traditions like bagpiping, Highland dancing, caber-throwing and the tug-o-war find their ultimate expression in the Highland Games, which are held at various locations across Scotland throughout the summer months.
Last updated 21 Nov 2012