30th June 2017

10 Teviot Truths

by Kate Walker, Social Media Content Executive

You might have seen over on our Twitter account today that we’ve been sharing some fun facts for your Friday, some #teviottruths about Edinburgh and Scotland…

But did any of you catch us out? Some of our facts were in fact FAKE. In today’s media world it’s so easy to get caught up in fake news, it’s practically everywhere and it can be difficult to know who to trust or what to believe. So we thought we would have a wee go at telling our own fake news and see if anyone would notice (10 points to you if you managed to catch us out)!

Tomorrow at the Edinburgh International Film Festival there’s a free event taking place, ‘DocSalon: Documentary in the Age of Fake News’. The event is an open discussion that brings together filmmakers, producers, programmers and an audience, to reflect on fake news and what it means for documentary and other media.

Tickets are available from 10am tomorrow morning (Saturday 1st July) and the event begins at 13.30 at the Traverse Theatre (10 Cambridge St, Edinburgh EH1 2ED).

But of course we couldn’t leave our fake facts out there for the world to see, we had to correct ourselves. So below we’ve got our #teviottruths and the correct facts below. Enjoy reading the correct facts and if you’re in Edinburgh tomorrow get yourself along to the fake news discussion!

1. #TEVIOTTRUTHS Edinburgh Castle was once home to a tiger

REAL FACT – Edinburgh Castle was once home to an elephant.

After returning to Edinburgh Castle from an expedition to Sri Lanka in 1838, the 78th Highland Regiment brought back an elephant with them and made it their regimental mascot. The elephant became a well-loved sight in the city and it even developed a taste for beer (no, we’re not lying about this). You can even see the elephant’s toenails on display in the Scottish National War Museum at Edinburgh Castle.

2. #TEVIOTTRUTHS The official animal of Scotland is a highland cow

REAL FACT – The official animal of Scotland is the Unicorn

American historian Elyse Waters uncovered the roots of how the unicorn became Scotland’s national animal in the late 1300s. During her research Waters discovered that the unicorn was believed to be the natural enemy of the lion – a symbol that the English royals had claimed and according to folklore, the lion and the unicorn hated each other.

During medieval times the unicorn was thought to be the ultimate animal. It’s second natural enemy was the elephant and it was believed that the unicorn would ALWAYS defeat the elephant as it was incredibly strong and powerful, despite its size. The unicorn was also associated with nobility and purity so when you combine that with the stories of its power, greatness and ferocity, you can understand why us Scots wanted to claim the animal as our own!

3. #TEVIOTTRUTHS Tom Riddle aka Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter was a real person whose grave can be found in Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, Edinburgh

Ok this fact is actually one of our true facts and it’s pretty cool! Greyfriar’s Kirkyard is home to the grave of Thomas Riddell Esquire of Befsborough in Berwick, who died at the age of 72 on 24th November 1908. There are also several other graveyard names at Greyfriar’s Kirkyard that have been tied to characters in Harry Potter. One of the nearby gravestones is of poet William McGonagall, who died on 29th September 1902.

4. #TEVIOTTRUTHS IRN-BRU actually originated in America

This one is tricky… There have actually been a number of news articles floating around online recently claiming that IRN-BRU might indeed have originated in America. According to David Leishman of the University of Grenoble, ‘Iron Brew’ was launched in 1889 by a New York based company called Maas & Waldstein. BUT this version of Iron Brew was very different to the bright orange Scottish beverage we know and love today. The drink was said to have a vanilla taste and to be dark brown in colour, so in our eyes, it’s a completely different drink. The Scottish version of IRN-BRU was first produced in 1901 in the town of Falkirk and it firmly remains the most popular soft drink in Scotland. It’s also one of the best hangover cures too, and that’s a FACT.

5. #TEVIOTTRUTHS Bagpipes were invented in Scotland

REAL FACT – Contrary to popular belief bagpipes were not actually invented in Scotland. Instead it is widely believed that they originated in Egypt and eventually made their way to Greece and Rome. They were brought to Scotland by the Celts and Roman invaders.

6. #TEVIOTTRUTHS Edinburgh’s nickname Auld Reekie came about from the foul smell from the open sewers of the city in medieval times

REAL FACT – Auld Reekie actually means Old Smoky. This nickname came about from the smoke that was emitted by the coal and wood burnt in the city buildings and homes.

7. #TEVIOTTRUTHS The Royal Mile isn’t actually a mile long, it’s only half a mile

REAL FACT – The Royal Mile is actually one mile and 107 yards long.

8. #TEVIOTTRUTHS Archaeological evidence suggests that the first toilets ever were possibly built in Orkney, Scotland in 3,000 BC

This is also true, so you can thank us for that little gem of an invention! Another little toilet related fact, the first flushing toilet was invented by Scottish watchmaker Alexander Cumming in 1775.

9. #TEVIOTTRUTHS The Mackintosh or raincoat was invented in Scotland

Again, this is a true fact and when you think about how often it rains in Scotland you’ll probably understand why. Charles Macintosh was a chemist born from Glasgow who invented the famous garment back in 1824.

10. #TEVIOTTRUTHS Aviemore has become the UFO capital of the world

REAL FACT – It is in fact the small Scottish town of Bonnybridge that has become the UFO capital of the world. They get over 300 sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects reported every year.

Kate Walker, Social Media Content Executive

10 Teviot Truths