Scottish town nicknames that you might not know

Peterhead, long known to locals as 'The Blue Toon'. Picture: Contributed

Peterhead, long known to locals as 'The Blue Toon'. Picture: Contributed

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Major Scottish cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen have well established nicknames - Auld Reekie,Dear Green Place and Granite City if you didn’t know - but what about smaller towns and cities around Scotland?

We’ve picked a few of the more obscure nicknames out there, as well as some of our own favourites.

Musselburgh - ‘The Honest Toun’

Musselburgh, a former fishing town, is the largest town in East Lothian and is a just short hop on the bus from Edinburgh. Its nickname derives from its Latin motto, Honestas, dating back to the 14th century. Musselburgh’s Honest Toun Association have honoured the nickname by anointing the town’s most honest lad and honest lass every April since 1936.

Broughty Ferry - ‘The Richest Square mile in Europe’

Upon the northern banks of the Tay lies the Dundee suburb of Broughty Ferry. The town earned its unique nickname from the Dundonian ‘jute barons’ of the 19th century who chose to build their mansions in the small fishing village. At the industry’s height in the Victorian era there were 50,000 workers in the jure mills of Dundee. Nowadays though the town is more commonly referred to as simply, ‘The Ferry’.


East Kilbride - ‘Polo Mint City’


An apt nickname for the largest town in South Lanarkshire. Polo Mint City refers to the 85-or-so roundabouts in the road system.

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Peterhead - ‘The Blue Toon’

Though no definitive reason has been established for the nickname given to Scotland’s most easterly town - and thus claims to receive up to 20 per cent more sunshine than Edinburgh - the most credible account lies with the fashion for blue knitted socks and jumpers among fishermen; the former were known as ‘moggans’, and the fishermen who wore such attire were called ‘Blue Mogganers’.

Kirkcaldy, Darvel and Auchterarder - ‘Lang Toun’

All three cities share this nickname for rather literal reasons - Kirkcaldy and Auchterarder are both blessed with long high streets, while Darvel is so named because of the layout of the town, which from a map looks more like a road than a burgh.

Perth - ‘The Fair City’

Also known as St John’s Town, Perth regained its city status last month, no longer rendering its nickname some kind of cruel misnomer. Perth was Scotland’s capital for 500 years until the 15th century.

Fraserburgh - ‘The Broch’

Founded in the 16th century as Faithlie, ‘The Broch’ became Fraserburgh in 1601. Broch is a variation of the word ‘burgh’. Traditionally known as a fishing port, Fraserburgh is home to the oldest mainland lighthouse in Scotland.

Dumfries - ‘Queen of the South’

A rather apt nickname for a city surrounded by the beautiful landscapes of Dumfries and Galloway, Dumfries residents are also nicknamed ‘Doonhamers’ - as in ‘down home’.

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Motherwell - ‘Steelopolis’

Motherweel’s rarely-used nickname stems from its tenure as the steel production capital of Scotland during Scotland’s heavy industry halcyon days.

Dufftown - ‘Whisky Capital of the World’

The Speyside town may be small, but its claim to fame comes from the many distilleries scattered about the area, which produce world-famous whiskies for export worldwide.

Comrie - ‘The Shaky Toun’

Another example of tell-it-as-it-is etymology, Comrie’s nickname is derived from the simple fact that the town sits on the Highland Fault line, and therefore receives more tremors than most other places throughout Scotland.

Kilwinning - ‘The Crossroads of Ayrshire’

Kilwinning’s geographical positioning near the heart of Ayrshire makes the town’s nickname fitting due to its historical status as a well-travelled town.

Dunbar - ‘The Sunny Dunnie’

This East Lothian town gets its nickname as a result of its status during the 19th and 20th centuries as a popular seaside holiday resort. The Trades Holidays would regularly see Edinburgh citizens flock to its shores for a break in the Scottish sunshine.

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