vrijdag 11 augustus 2017

Scots and Frisians: a comparison

May 2017 I hiked the Cape Wrath Trail (CWT) in the northeast Highlands. Before I started my hike I was having a meal in a pub in Inverness. Many costumers inquiered with the bartender where from he was, because of his heavy accent. The answer was from the Orkney islands. A place where they still speak Scots Gaelic, I thought. I finished my meal and drink when he asked where I was from. 'From the north of The Netherlands,' I said. 'Ah, Friesland. Old English is most related to Old Frisian, is it not?' he replayed. Try this in a bar in for example Groningen or Ostfriesland, I thought. 

It made me wonder if there are any simularities between Scots and Frisians. Some differences might be explained, I thought, by the fact suppressions of Scottish identity has been harsher. Without aiming to be pretentious, here solely for amusement my thoughts on this matter during the Cape Wrath Trail, a hike I can certainly recommend.

Scots and Frisians have in common:
  1. both suffer from predominant western winds and lots of rain;
  2. both have sheep;
  3. both still carry the original tribe name after 2,000 years: Scoti and Frisi;
  4. both distillate whisky (yes, Frisians too);
  5. both excessively use their national flags;
  6. both have no real independent country;
  7. for both the concept freedom is important;
  8. both are capable of self-reflection;
  9. both favourite pastime is building things (Frisians terps, Scots castles);
  10. both have the skill to recognize beauty.

Scots and Frisians have not in common:
  1. Scots still wear skirts. Frisians do not;
  2. Scots destilate good whisky, Frisians do not;
  3. Frisians destilate Beerenburg, Scots do not;
  4. Scotland has 5,3 mln inhabitants, Friesland 0,6 mln;
  5. 60,000 speak Scots Gaelic, 400,000 speak Frisian;
  6. Frisians are scattered over countries and area's, Scots are not (both diasporas not included);
  7. consensus about Scottish identity, about Frisian identity no consensus; 
  8. Frisians remember only battles they won, Scots remember those they lost;
  9. Scots have wet bog, Frisians have wet clay;
  10. broad sentiment under Scots for independence, under Frisians only marginal.
To read my hiking blog of the Cape Wrath Trail, click here.

To read more about the Frisian pendant of the Scottish Cape Wrath Trail, click Frisia Coast Trail.