Wick is a town and royal burgh in Caithness, in the far north of Scotland. The town extends along both sides of Wick Bay. Wick Locality had a population of 6,954 at the time of the 2011 census, a decrease of 3.8% from 2001. Pulteneytown, developed on the south side of the river by the British Fisheries Society during the 19th century, was merged into the burgh in 1902; the town is on the main road linking John o' Groats with southern Britain. The Far North railway line links Wick railway station with southern Scotland and with Thurso, the other burgh of Caithness. Wick Airport is on Wick's northern outskirts; the airport has two usable runways. A third is derelict; the main offices of The John O'Groat Journal and The Caithness Courier are located in Wick, as are Caithness General Hospital, the Wick Carnegie Library and local offices of the Highland Council. Wick Sheriff Court is one of 16 sheriff courts serving the sheriffdom of Grampian and Islands. Iron Age activity in the parish of Wick is evident in the hill fort at Garrywhin.
Evidence of activity around Wick from the Norse pagan period was discovered in 1837 when brooches and bracelets from the Norse were uncovered by archaeologists. The name Wick appears to be from a Norse word, vík, meaning bay, cf. the word viking. In the eighth century, Saint Fergus, an Irish missionary, lived in Wick or its immediate vicinity during his mission to the people in the area, he is the patron saint of Wick. One of the fairs in Wick, the Fergusmas, is named for this saint, it is believed that the Chapel of St. Tear in Wick Parish near Ackergill was founded in the eighth century by St Drostan, whose ministry was in Aberdeenshire. Wick belonged to Norway, as did all of Caithness, until the reign of William the Lion, at which time the Norwegian earls held of the king of Scotland; the Castle of Old Wick known as “The Old Man of Wick” is thought to have been built in about 1160 by Harald Maddadson, Earl of Caithness and Orkney. Earl Harald, half Norse, is thought to have resided there, it was long used by fishermen as an aid to navigation in the North Sea.
The Origines Parochiales Scotiae records these events for twelfth-century Wick: Between the years 1142 and 1149 Rognvald Earl of Orkney went into Katanes and was there entertained at Vik by a husbandman named Sveinn the son of Hroald, a brave man. When Sveinn Asleifson was in the Hebrides, he committed the keeping of Dungulsbae, which he had received from Earl Rognvald, to Margad Grimson, whose oppressions caused many to take refuge with Hroald in Wik; this occasioned a dispute between Hroald and Margad, the latter soon afterwards went to Wik with nineteen men and slew Hroald. Between the years 1153 and 1156, Harald Maddadson joint Earl Katanes and Orkney with Earl Rognvald, passed into Katanes and wintered at Wik. In about 1330, the parish of Wick was included among the Caithness lands owned by the family of Cheyne; the last male heir, Sir Reginald de Cheyne, died c. 1345 and was succeeded by his two daughters, who, by marriage, carried the lands into the clans Sinclair and Keith. Between 1390 and 1406, King Robert III granted the town of Wick in heritage to Neill Sutherland with a burgh of barony.
In 1438, the clans Gunn and Keith joined battle near Wick on the moor of Tannach with both sides suffering heavy losses. However, hostilities between the two clans were not ended at that time. In 1503, the Parliament of Scotland established a sheriff for Caithness, who “should sit and have a place for administration of his office within the town of Wick.”In 1538, Ackergill Tower, three miles north of Wick, was granted to William Keith, 4th Earl Marischal and Lady Margaret Keith, his wife. Nine years George, Earl of Caithness, others seized the tower house, taking hostage Alexander Keith, captain of the castle, John Scarlet, his servitor, who were imprisoned in Girnigoe, Braal Castle, other places, they were granted remission by Queen Mary. In 1583, when George Sinclair, 4th Earl of Caithness, died at Edinburgh, his heart was brought to Wick where it was encased in lead and placed in Sinclair's aisle at the church of Wick. However, it entered the story of Wick once again in 1588 when Wick suffered at the hands of Alexander Gordon, 12th Earl of Sutherland, in his campaign against the 5th Sinclair Earl of Caithness, who had killed his kinsman.
While Sinclair and his men concealed themselves in Girnigoe Castle nearby, Sutherland proceeded to burn the town of Wick, “an achievement of no great difficulty, as the place at that time consisted of a few mean straggling houses thatched with straw.” All structures in the town except the church were burned. During the chaos of the fire, a Highlander intent on plundering the church broke open the lead case which contained the heart of the late Earl of Caithness, disappointed that no treasure was in the casque, flung the heart into the wind. In 1589, James VI made the town into a royal burgh in favour of the fifth Earl of Caithness. Wick did not escape the turbulence of the Reformation period when, in 1613, the Anglican archdeacon Richard Merchiston of Bower, a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, was brought into Caithness by Bishop Patrick Forbes. Merchiston, a zealous iconoclast, angered the Catholic townspeople when he broke up the stone sculpture of St. Fergus, the town's patron saint.
At first yielding to the city authorities who tried to prevent violence, a band of men followed the parson as he returned home in the evening, took him by force, drowned him in the Wick River. When questioned about the murder, they alleged that it had been the work of the saint himse
Thurso is a town and former burgh on the north coast of the Highland council area of Scotland. Situated in the historical area of Caithness, it is the northernmost town on the British mainland, it lies at the junction of the north-south A9 road and the west-east A836 road, connected to Bridge of Forss in the west and Castletown in the east. The 34-mile River Thurso flows into Thurso Bay and the Pentland Firth; the river estuary serves as a small harbour. At the 2011 Census, Thurso had a population of 7,933; the larger Thurso civil parish including the town and the surrounding countryside had a population of 9,112. Thurso functioned as an important Norse port, traded with ports throughout northern Europe until the 19th century. A thriving fishing centre, Thurso had a reputation for its linen-cloth and tanning activities; as of 2015 the Dounreay Nuclear power plant, although decommissioned at the end of the 20th century, employs a significant number of the local population. The Category-A listed ruined Old St Peter's Church is one of the oldest churches in Scotland, dating to at least 1125.
The current church, St Andrew's and St Peter's, was built in 1832 to a design by William Burn in the Gothic style. The town contains the main campus of North Highland College and Thurso High School, the northernmost secondary school on the British mainland, established in 1958. Thurso Castle, built in 1872, is in ruins. Thurso is home to the football team, Thurso FC, established in 1998, which play in the North Caledonian League, the rugby teams Caithness Crushers and Caithness RFC. Thurso railway station, opened in 1874, was the most northern station on the Sutherland and Caithness Railway; the nearby port of Scrabster provides ferry services to the Orkney Islands. Thurso was known by the Celtic name of tarvodubron meaning "bull water" or "bull river". Norse influence altered its name to Thjorsá Thorsá, based on the deity of Thor and translating as the place on Thor’s River; the local Scots name, derives from the Norse, as does the modern Scottish Gaelic Inbhir Theòrsa. Inbhir means a river mouth, is found as "Inver" in many anglicised names.
It is possible that there was a pre-Norse Gaelic name as well, as "tarvodunum" is cognate with the modern Gaelic terms, "tarbh", "dobhran" and "dun". Thurso's history stretches back to at least the era of Norse Orcadian rule in Caithness, which ended conclusively in 1266. Neolithic horned cairns found on nearby Shebster Hill, which were used for burials and rituals, date back about 5000 years; the town was an important Norse port, has a history of trade with ports throughout northern Europe until the 19th century. In 1330 Scotland's standard unit of weight was brought in line with that of Thurso at the decree of King David II of Scotland, a measure of the town's economic importance. Old St Peter's Kirk is said to date from circa 1220 and the time of Caithness Bishop Gilbert Murray, who died in 1245. In 1649, the Irish, led by Donald Macalister Mullach, attacked Thurso and were chased off by the residents, headed by Sir James Sinclair. One of the locals, a servant of Sinclair was said to have killed Mullach by "cutting a button from his master's coat and firing it from a musket".
In 1811, the parish had 592 houses with a population of 3462. Following the passage into law of the 1845 Poor Law Act, a combination poorhouse was constructed; the building, which had a capacity to house 149 inmates, was on a five acres site to the west of Thurso Road and provided poor relief for Thurso and the parishes of Bower, Dunnet, Olrig and Watten. Many of the poorhouses in Scotland were under used, by 1924 the building had been unoccupied for several years so was sold. Much of the town is a planned 19th-century development. In 1906, a new Royal National Lifeboat Institution boathouse and slipway was inaugurated near Scrabster Harbour. A fire on 10 December 1956 destroyed the building and its 47ft Watson-class lifeboat and a new building and boat was built, launched the following year. A new lifeboat, named "The Three Sisters" was inaugurated in 1971 by The Queen Mother. A major expansion occurred in the mid-20th century when the Dounreay nuclear power plant was established at Dounreay in 1955, 9 miles to the west of the town.
The arrival of workers related to the power station caused a three-fold increase in the population of Thurso. This led to around 1,700 new houses being built in Thurso and nearby Castletown, a mixture of local authority housing blended with private houses and flats built by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. Decommissioned at the end of the 20th century, it is estimated the site will not be cleared of all the waste until the 2070s, so will continue to provide employment. Thurso is the name of the viscountcy held by the Sinclair family in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Thurso hosted the National Mòd in 2010, the first time this festival of Gaelic language and culture had been held so far north. Thurso has history as a burgh of barony dating from 1633 when it was established by Charles I. In 1975, under the Local Government Act 1973, the local government burgh was merged into the Caithness district of the two-tier Highland region. In 1996, under the Local Government etc. (Scot
Edderton is a village near Tain, lying on the shores of the Dornoch Firth, Easter Ross and is in the Highland council area of Scotland. It has 388 inhabitants, it is the location of the Balblair Distillery, of the Class III Pictish stone, the Edderton Cross Slab, which lies in the old churchyard of the village. A quarter of a mile outside the town lies another stone, the Clach Biorach or "Edderton symbol stone", a Class I Pictish stone. Edderton.com
Tain is a royal burgh and parish in the County of Ross, in the Highlands of Scotland. The name derives from the nearby River Tain, the name of which comes from an Indo-European root meaning'flow'; the Gaelic name, Baile Dubhthaich, means'Duthac's town', after a local saint known as Duthus. Tain railway station is on the Far North Line; the station is unmanned. The station was opened by the Highland Railway on 1 January 1864. From 1 January 1923, the station was owned by the London Scottish Railway. In 1948 the British railways were nationalised as British Railways; when the railways were privatised the station became part of ScotRail. Notable buildings in the town include St Duthus Collegiate Church; the town has a local history museum, Tain Through Time, the Glenmorangie distillery. Tain has two primary schools. There is has a secondary school, Tain Royal Academy, with 590 pupils as of January 2017. Tain was granted its first royal charter in 1066, making it Scotland's oldest royal burgh, commemorated in 1966 with the opening of the Rose Garden by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
The 1066 charter, granted by King Malcolm III, confirmed Tain as a sanctuary, where people could claim the protection of the church, an immunity, in which resident merchants and traders were exempt from certain taxes. These led to the development of the town. Little is known of earlier history, he was an early Christian figure 8th or 9th century, whose shrine had become so important by 1066 that it resulted in the royal charter. The ruined chapel near the mouth of the river was said to have been built on the site of his birth. Duthac became an official saint in 1419 and by the late Middle Ages his shrine was an important places of pilgrimage in Scotland. King James IV came at least once a year throughout his reign to achieve both spiritual and political aims. A leading landowning family of the area, the Clan Munro, provided political and religious figures to the town, including the dissenter Rev John Munro of Tain; the early Duthac Chapel was the centre of a sanctuary. Fugitives were by tradition given sanctuary in several square miles marked by boundary stones.
During the First War of Scottish Independence, Robert the Bruce sent his wife and daughter to the sanctuary for safety. The sanctuary was violated and they were captured by forces loyal to William II, Earl of Ross who handed them over to Edward I of England The women were taken to England and kept prisoner for several years. With conflict looming in the 1930s, an aerodrome large enough for bombers was built next to the town on low alluvial land known as the Fendom bordering the Dornoch Firth, it was home to British and Polish airmen during World War II. It was abandoned as a flying location after the war and converted to a bombing range for the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy; when British naval aviation moved from large fleet aircraft carriers, the role was taken over by the RAF. In 1939 RAF Station Lossiemouth opened and was used until 1946 when the airfield was transferred to the Admiralty and becoming Royal Naval Air Station Lossiemouth returning to the RAF in 1972 as a RAF airfield and the Tain range reverted to the RAF.
Large parts of the original aerodrome were returned to civilian use after World War II and some are still accessible. Tain Golf Club offers. Overlooking the Dornoch Firth, the course was first designed by Old Tom Morris in 1890. Tain is represented in the Scottish Football Association affiliated North Caledonian Football League by senior football club St Duthus Football Club during the regular football season. Tain is represented by recreational football club Tain Thistle Football Club in the Ross-shire Welfare League during the summer. Home matches are played at the Links Playing Fields. Sport facilities are available at the Tain Royal Academy Community Complex; these facilities include an indoor 20-metre swimming pool, fitness suite, indoor hall, gymnasium and an outdoor all weather surface for field activities. Other sports clubs in Tain include St Duthus Bowling Club, Tain Tennis Club, Tain Rifle & Pistol Club, The Scottish Kempo Academy and Nicholson Kempo Jujitsu; the Gizzen Briggs are sandbars at the entrance to the Dornoch Firth, with the right wind, they can be heard at low tide.
The so-called "million dollar view" to the north-west of Tain, accessible via the A836 westward and B9176 Struie moor road, gives a panoramic view of Dornoch Firth and Sutherland. Five important castles are in the vicinity - Carbisdale Castle, built for the Dowager Duchess of Sutherland and now a youth hostel. Glenmorangie distillery and visitor centre is located just off the A9 on the outskirts of Tain. Highland Fine Cheeses, run by Ruaridh Stone, have a factory at Tain. Tain has a library, community centre, two four-star hotels, several cafes, takeaway restaurants and a town hall. Just outside Hill of Fearn near Tain lies the site of the medieval Fearn Abbey. Tain was a parliamentary burgh, combined with Dingwall, Dornoch and Wick in the Northern Burghs constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliame
Orkney known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast of the isle of Great Britain. Orkney is 10 miles north of the coast of Caithness and comprises 70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited; the largest island, Mainland, is referred to as "the Mainland", has an area of 523 square kilometres, making it the sixth-largest Scottish island and the tenth-largest island in the British Isles. The largest settlement and administrative centre is Kirkwall. Orkney is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland, a constituency of the Scottish Parliament, a lieutenancy area, a historic county; the local council is Orkney Islands Council, one of only three Councils in Scotland with a majority of elected members who are independents. A form of the name dates to the pre-Roman era and the islands have been inhabited for at least 8,500 years occupied by Mesolithic and Neolithic tribes and by the Picts. Orkney was colonized and annexed by Norway in 875 and settled by the Norse.
The Scottish Parliament annexed the earldom to the Scottish Crown in 1472, following the failed payment of a dowry for James III's bride Margaret of Denmark. In addition to the Mainland, most of the islands are in two groups, the North and South Isles, all of which have an underlying geological base of Old Red Sandstone; the climate is mild and the soils are fertile, most of the land being farmed. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy; the significant wind and marine energy resources are of growing importance, the island generates more than its total yearly electricity demand using renewables. The local people are known as Orcadians and have a distinctive dialect of the Scots language and a rich inheritance of folklore. Orkney contains some of the oldest and best-preserved Neolithic sites in Europe, the "Heart of Neolithic Orkney" is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and there is an abundance of marine and avian wildlife. Pytheas of Massilia visited Britain – sometime between 322 and 285 BC – and described it as triangular in shape, with a northern tip called Orcas.
This may have referred to Dunnet Head. Writing in the 1st century AD, the Roman geographer Pomponius Mela called the islands Orcades, as did Tacitus in 98 AD, claiming that his father-in-law Agricola had "discovered and subjugated the Orcades hitherto unknown" Etymologists interpret the element orc- as a Pictish tribal name meaning "young pig" or "young boar". Speakers of Old Irish referred to the islands as Insi Orc "island of the pigs"; the archipelago is known as Ynysoedd Erch in modern Welsh and Arcaibh in modern Scottish Gaelic, the -aibh representing a fossilized prepositional case ending. Some earlier sources alternately hypothesize that Orkney comes from whale; the Anglo-Saxon monk Bede refers to the islands as Orcades insulae in his seminal work Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Norwegian settlers arriving from the late ninth century reinterpreted orc as the Old Norse orkn "seal" and added eyjar "islands" to the end so the name became Orkneyjar "Seal Islands"; the plural suffix -jar was removed in English leaving the modern name "Orkney".
According to the Historia Norwegiæ, Orkney was named. The Norse knew Mainland, Orkney as Megenland "Mainland" or as Hrossey "Horse Island"; the island is sometimes referred to as Pomona, a name that stems from a sixteenth-century mistranslation by George Buchanan, used locally. A charred hazelnut shell, recovered in 2007 during excavations in Tankerness on the Mainland has been dated to 6820–6660 BC indicating the presence of Mesolithic nomadic tribes; the earliest known permanent settlement is at Knap of Howar, a Neolithic farmstead on the island of Papa Westray, which dates from 3500 BC. The village of Skara Brae, Europe's best-preserved Neolithic settlement, is believed to have been inhabited from around 3100 BC. Other remains from that era include the Standing Stones of Stenness, the Maeshowe passage grave, the Ring of Brodgar and other standing stones. Many of the Neolithic settlements were abandoned around 2500 BC due to changes in the climate. During the Bronze Age fewer large stone structures were built although the great ceremonial circles continued in use as metalworking was introduced to Britain from Europe over a lengthy period.
There are few Orcadian sites dating from this era although there is the impressive Plumcake Mound near the Ring of Brodgar and various islands sites such as Tofts Ness on Sanday and the remains of two houses on Holm of Faray. Excavations at Quanterness on the Mainland have revealed an Atlantic roundhouse built about 700 BC and similar finds have been made at Bu on the Mainland and Pierowall Quarry on Westray; the most impressive Iron Age structures of Orkney are the ruins of round towers called "brochs" and their associated settlements such as the Broch of Burroughston and Broch of Gurness. The nature and origin of these buildings is a subject of ongoing debate. Other structures from this period include underground storehouses, aisled roundhouses, the latter in association with earlier broch sites. During the Roman invasion of Britain the "King of Orkney" was one of 11 British leaders, said to have submitted to the Emperor Claudius in AD 43 at Colchester. After the Agricolan fleet had come and gone anchoring at Shapinsay, direct Roman influence seems to have been limited to trade rather than conquest.
By the late Iron Age, Orkney was part of the Pictish kingdom, although the archaeological remains from this period are less
Scotland is a country, part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides; the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, thus forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain; the union created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland enacted a political union to create a United Kingdom.
The majority of Ireland subsequently seceded from the UK in 1922. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland; the legal system within Scotland has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. The continued existence of legal, educational and other institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 union with England; the Scottish Parliament, a unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, was established in 1999 and has authority over those areas of domestic policy which have been devolved by the United Kingdom Parliament. The head of the Scottish Government, the executive of the devolved legislature, is the First Minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the UK House of Commons by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs.
Scotland is a member of the British–Irish Council, sends five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland is divided into councils. Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. "Scotland" comes from the Latin name for the Gaels. From the ninth century, the meaning of Scotia shifted to designate Gaelic Scotland and by the eleventh century the name was being used to refer to the core territory of the Kingdom of Alba in what is now east-central Scotland; the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass most of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages, as the Kingdom of Alba expanded and came to encompass various peoples of diverse origins. Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land mass of modern Scotland, destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period, it is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation.
At the time, Scotland was covered in forests, had more bog-land, the main form of transport was by water. These settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, the first villages around 6,000 years ago; the well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic habitation and ritual sites are common and well preserved in the Northern Isles and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone. Evidence of sophisticated pre-Christian belief systems is demonstrated by sites such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Maes Howe on Orkney, which were built in the third millennium BCE; the first written reference to Scotland was in 320 BC by Greek sailor Pytheas, who called the northern tip of Britain "Orcas", the source of the name of the Orkney islands. During the first millennium BCE, the society changed to a chiefdom model, as consolidation of settlement led to the concentration of wealth and underground stores of surplus food.
The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD. After the Roman victory, Roman forts were set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line, but by three years after the battle, the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands; the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire. The Roman influence on the southern part of the country was considerable, they introduced Christianity to Scotland. Beginning in the sixth century, the area, now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, a patchwork of small lordships in central Scotland; these societies were based on the family unit and had sharp divisions in wealth, although the vast majority were poor and worked full-time in subsistence agriculture. The Picts kept slaves through the ninth century. Gaelic influence over Pictland and Northumbria was facilitated by the large number of Gaelic-speaking clerics working as missionaries. Operating in the sixth ce
Scottish National Party
The Scottish National Party is a Scottish nationalist and social-democratic political party in Scotland. The SNP campaigns for Scottish independence, it is the second-largest political party by membership in the United Kingdom, behind the Labour Party and ahead of the Conservative Party. The current Scottish National Party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has served as First Minister of Scotland since November 2014. Founded in 1934 with the amalgamation of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party, the party has had continuous parliamentary representation in Westminster since Winnie Ewing won the 1967 Hamilton by-election. With the establishment of the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999, the SNP became the second-largest party, serving two terms as the opposition; the SNP gained power at the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, forming a minority government, before going on to win the 2011 Parliament election, after which it formed Holyrood's first majority government. It was reduced back to a minority government at the 2016 election.
The SNP is the largest political party in Scotland in terms of both seats in the Westminster and Holyrood parliaments, membership, reaching 125,482 members as of August 2018, 35 MPs and over 400 local councillors. The SNP currently has 2 MEPs in the European Parliament, who sit in The Greens/European Free Alliance group; the SNP is a member of the European Free Alliance. The party does not have any members of the House of Lords, as it has always maintained a position of objecting to an unelected upper house; the SNP was formed in 1934 through the merger of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party, with Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham as its first president. Professor Douglas Young, the leader of the Scottish National Party from 1942 to 1945 campaigned for the Scottish people to refuse conscription and his activities were popularly vilified as undermining the British war effort against the Axis powers. Young was imprisoned for refusing to be conscripted; the SNP first won a parliamentary seat at the Motherwell by-election in 1945, but Robert McIntyre MP lost the seat at the general election three months later.
They next won a seat in 1967, when Winnie Ewing was the surprise winner of a by-election in the safe Labour seat of Hamilton. This brought the SNP to national prominence, leading to the establishment of the Kilbrandon Commission; the SNP hit a high point in the October 1974 general election, polling a third of all votes in Scotland and returning 11 MPs to Westminster. This success was not surpassed until the 2015 general election. However, the party experienced a large drop in its support at the 1979 General election, followed by a further drop at the 1983 election. In the 2007 Scottish Parliamentary general election, the SNP emerged as the largest party with 47 seats, narrowly ousting the Scottish Labour Party with 46 seats and Alex Salmond became Scottish First Minister; the Scottish Green Party supported Salmond's election as First Minister, his subsequent appointments of ministers, in return for early tabling of the climate change bill and the SNP nominating a Green MSP to chair a parliamentary committee.
In May 2011, the SNP won an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament with 69 seats. This was a significant feat as the additional member system used for Scottish Parliament elections was designed to prevent one party from winning an outright majority. Based on their 2011 majority, the SNP government held a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014; the "No" vote prevailed in a close-fought campaign, prompting the resignation of First Minister Alex Salmond. Forty-five percent of Scottish voters cast their ballots for independence, with the "Yes" side receiving less support than late polling predicted; the SNP rebounded from the loss in the independence referendum at the UK general election in May 2015, led by Salmond's successor as first minister, Nicola Sturgeon. The party went from holding six seats in the House of Commons to 56 at the expense of the Labour Party. All but three of the fifty-nine constituencies in the country elected an SNP candidate. BBC News described the historic result as a "Scots landslide".
At the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, the SNP lost a net total of 6 seats, losing its overall majority in the Scottish Parliament, but returning for a third consecutive term as a minority government. The party gained an additional 1.1% of the constituency vote from the 2011 election, losing 2.3% of the regional list vote. On the constituency vote, the SNP gained 11 seats from Labour, but lost the Edinburgh Southern constituency to the party; the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats each gained two constituency seats from the SNP on 2011. At the United Kingdom general election, 2017 the SNP underperformed compared to polling expectations, losing 21 seats to bring their number of Westminster MPs down to 35; this was attributed by many, including former Deputy First Minister John Swinney, to their stance on holding a second Scottish independence referendum and saw a swing to the Unionist parties, with seats being picked up by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats and a reduction in their majorities in the other seats.
Stephen Gethins, MP for North East Fife, came o