ST ANDREWS. IT LIVES IN EACH OF US.
In a world that seldom stops to reflect on the past, St Andrews is like a mirror that allows us to look back more than 800 years as well as look at the world we live in today.
There are castles and cathedrals, both inhabited and in ruins. There are centuries-old beaches that have seen children playing and have withstood the fury of the sea and would be conquerors. There are old burial grounds that keep the secrets of the past. There are fishing villages that have existed nearly forever. And golf courses that have hosted generations of players. St Andrews is home to Scotland’s oldest university yet its student body of 8,000 adds vibrancy and energy to the St Andrews of today.
It is impossible not to be moved by St Andrews. It’s a seaside resort. It’s the birthplace of golf. It’s the link between the North Sea and the Highlands. St Andrews is breathtaking. It’s overwhelming. It’s beautiful and gritty. It’s comfortable and formal. It feels fictional. Yet, its history say otherwise.
The human record of time and events is everywhere. You can see it in the eyes and on the faces of those who live and work here. It lingers within the walls of centuries-old buildings as well as new construction that’s a mere 150 years old. The aura that is St Andrews dates back to the 12th century. And it grows with every passing generation.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ST ANDREWS.
The first people arrived at St Andrews some 8,000 years ago. After these hunter-gatherers settled, the region was influenced by the Celtics, the Romans, and later, the Christians. As legend has it, in the year 732 AD the relics of the apostle St Andrews were brought to the region – accounting for not only the name, but establishing its identity as a major religious centre.
Centuries later, St Andrews became home to Scotland’s first university. Founded in 1413, it is the third oldest university in the United Kingdom and has become an essential part of the culture and history of St Andrews. From the University came traditions that live on today, such as the Kate Kennedy Procession, The Gaudie and Raisin Weekend.
Though the reason for a visit may have changed over the years, St Andrews remains a site of pilgrimage, whether for scholars, world travellers or golfers.
ST ANDREWS. WHERE THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BEING A STRANGER
Although it might be committing heresy to state, there is more to Scotland, and particularly St Andrews, than golf. Yes, this relatively small country has over 550 golf courses, and St Andrews with a population of 14,000, has 11 courses alone. Yet St Andrews does not revolve around golf, as much as golf revolves around St Andrews.
This town is bustling with the unexpected. For example, there are far more sunny days than most imagine. St Andrews has the good fortune and distinction of being the sunniest and driest location in all of the United Kingdom. The average precipitation is the same as Rome and less than New York and Miami.
There are miles of beaches. There are perhaps more historic sites and museums than there are golf courses (although there are many golf courses that are historic sites). And as cool as a breeze off the North Sea can be, there are no warmer hosts in the world than the Scottish. They love showing off their country. Sharing their single malts and pints. They’re proud of their history and heritage. Proud of their work ethic. And their ability to celebrate on a whim.
There is so much to enjoy on a visit to Scotland and St Andrews. It’s why visitors become lifelong friends.
More from St Andrews
There is no single spot in Scotland equally full of historical interest … no place in this country over which the genius of antiquity lingers so impressively.
Lord Cockburn, 1844