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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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Photography, Black and White, mountain climbing, mountaineering, scotland, User Feature, Instagram, edinburgh, Ruairidh McGlynn, landscape,

Mountaineering the Scottish Highlands with @ruairidhmcglynn

To view more photos and videos from Ruairidh’s mountaineering explorations of the Highlands, follow @ruairidhmcglynn on Instagram.

"In early 2013, my brother asked me if I’d like to climb a Munro in Scotland called Schiehallion (which is famous for its distinct conical shape). I took my brother up on his offer,” says Edinburgh Instagrammer Ruairidh McGlynn (@ruairidhmcglynn), of his first mountaineering experiences in the Scottish Highlands. “At 6:00AM on a typically dreich (dull and miserable) day in January, we embarked upon the journey from Edinburgh. The summit was shrouded in cloud so there was disappointment from the seasoned veterans over the lack of view. But to me that didn’t matter because it was about this great journey and story that I’d just captured. From that moment on, I was hooked.”

Ruairidh posted an image from that trip to Instagram. Now, having invested in proper equipment and conquering 40 of the 282 of Scotland’s Munros (mountains of more than 3,000 feet or 914.4 meters), he pushes himself to capture each journey to share it with others. “Instagram is the perfect tool that allows me to convey to others the beauty of the mountains,” he explains, “the journeys that I go on and the things that you can achieve when you put your mind to it. I hope to inspire people to appreciate the outdoors and to embark upon similar adventures (responsibly and safely).”

As for photo tips to share, Ruairidh adds, “Where possible, I always like to include people to give a sense of scale and adventure balanced with dramatic weather and light, which more often than not is never far away in Scotland.”

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photography, animals, landscape, scotland, highland cow, murn cameron, farm, User Feature, Instagram,

Face to Face with Scotland’s Shaggy Highland Cows

For more photos and videos of Scotland’s shaggy cattle, follow @murn_eilidh_kate and browse the #highlandcow and #highlandcoo hashtags.

Long-horned and remarkably shaggy cattle graze throughout the rolling hills of the Scottish countryside, capturing the hearts of visiting and local Instagrammers alike. Officially called the Highland cow, the breed is also known by its name in the Scots language, kyloe, and by the affectionate name of Highland “coo” for its pronunciation in the Scottish accent.

The cows are more than just a shaggy coat with horns for 17-year-old Scotland Instagrammer Murn Cameron (@murn_eilidh_kate), who works with her family on the Dunach Estate farm near Oban. “The cattle are really inquisitive and curious about humans, and they want to interact with us,” she explains. “They all have different personalities a bit like humans. The calves are very cheeky—and adorable.”

Murn takes her phone with her into the fields, capturing the cattle in all their different colors. “I have a soft spot for the red ones myself,” she says. “People joke and say it is because of the similar hair color as I am ginger, and I must say they may have a point!”

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Location Feature, dunnottar castle, scotland, landscape,

Exploring the Clifftop Ruins of Scotland’s Dunnottar Castle

For more photos and videos from the ruins, explore the Dunnottar Castle location page.

On Scotland’s northeast coast, the ruins of Dunnottar Castle keep silent watch over the North Sea. Thought to have been built around the sixth century as Dùn Fhoithear, the fortress occupies 1.4 hectares (3.5 acres) on a clifftop 50 meters (160 feet) above the rocky coast below. A national landmark since 1970, the castle draws local and visiting Instagrammers alike to its scenic views and rich history.

From the 13th through the 18th century, Dunnottar was the home of the Keith family, Earls Marischal of Scotland—custodians of the Honours of Scotland (the crown jewels, sword and scepter). When Charles II was crowned King in the Scottish Parliament during the height of the English Civil Wars, the crown jewels used during the coronation could not be returned to Edinburgh as Oliver Cromwell’s English forces advanced in the region. For safekeeping, they were carried to Dunnottar in sacks of wool, where they remained during Cromwell’s eight-month blockade of the castle. Though Cromwell was ultimately victorious in defeating the last remaining Scottish stronghold, the jewels were smuggled out and hidden under an old church in Kinneff where they remained until Charles II regained the throne in 1660.

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current event, up helly aa, scotland,

Scotland Celebrates Up Helly Aa 2014

For more photos and videos from the celebrations in Scotland, browse the #uphellyaa hashtag.

In Scotland, on the last Tuesday of each January, towns throughout Shetland mark the end of the Yule Season with the Up Helly Aa fire festival. In preparation for the festival, each town’s men organize into squads, with the chief squad led by the Jarl, an elected leader for the entire festival.

On the evening of the festival, the men dress in Viking costume and parade through the town carrying lit torches. In larger towns such as Lerwick, the processions can number nearly 1,000 celebrants. As night falls, the men follow the Jarl to the coastline where they throw their torches into a replica Viking longship and sing while it burns.

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ArtThursday, location feature, The Kelpies, Scotland, Andy Scott,

"The Kelpies," Andy Scott’s Massive Horse Sculpture

Explore Andy Scott’s work through the #AndyScott hashtag and see more photos and videos of The Kelpies by visiting The Helix location page.

Just days ago, construction wrapped up on The Kelpies, the latest work by Scottish sculptor Andy Scott.

The massive steel sculpture of two iconic Clydesdale horses is a central element of The Helix, a multi-use park being built just east of the Scottish town of Falkirk.

The piece, which took 7 years to complete, stands over 100 feet (30.5 meters) tall and is built from more than 600 tons of steel.

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Up Helly Aa, Shetland, Scotland, Current Events,

Up Helly Aa: Scotland’s Fire Festival

Want to explore more photos from Up Helly Aa? Search the #UpHellyAa hashtag or visit the Lerwick location page.

Each year in Scotland, thousands of men bearing torches parade through the streets on the last Tuesday of January to mark the end of the Yule Season. Though only officially begun in 1881, the Up Helly Aa day fire festivals have their roots in ancient Anglo Saxon rites. Revelers pay homage to this history by dressing in full costume and electing a Jarl to head the festivities. The Jarl and his committee lead the torch-bearers through the town to a replica of a Viking longship, which they set ablaze with the torches. After the burning, townspeople retire to local public halls for a night of dancing and performances. The Wednesday after is taken as a day of recovery before “Hop Night” when the festivities continue until morning.