Cleland to Denmark



 Stuart McBride is a software consultant and he enjoys

 the travel involved


1) Where did you grow up and at what age did you leave Scotland?

I was born & bred in Cleland, North Lanarkshire. I attended Cleland Primary, Coltness High, and then Motherwell Tech. After an apprenticeship in the local steel and plate metal industry, I left home at the age of 19 and headed south for a career in the Royal Navy.


2) What made you leave sunny Scotia?

Even as a kid I always knew that I would leave and move abroad. It was not that I disliked Scotland and far from it but I was always just aware that there was a huge world out there to be explored.

So I guess that passion of exploring and travelling made my mind up for me.


3) What is your job/sector and how many countries have you lived in?

After a career in the Royal Navy which spanned 10 years, where I deployed to all corners of the globe and sailed on the services most advanced warships.   I also lived in Oslo, Norway for 3 years, working in a NATO HQ. I had already fallen for Scandinavia at that time. I worked with many Danes at that time and I had growing comfort with their culture, language and way of life.

After continued work in civilian life as a Project Manager in the Defence sector I have recently changed domain to the food industry. I am currently employed as a software consultant for one of the world’s largest food machinery manufacturers.

IT systems today are instrumental on effectiveness regarding throughput, yield and food traceability. I continue to work in the international field and I still enjoy the travel involved.


4) Do you crave Irn Bru when you’re homesick?

There is not a day goes by that I don’t think of Irn Bru, I have a small unopened can from 1989 which has followed me around the world and today it rests on my desk together with my desktop St. Andrews flag.

Black pudding, haggis, tattie scones and pies from our old local butchers, John Chapmans of Wishaw are more on my wish list. I brag often of Scotland and all its greatness but I have to be honest and say that when it comes to food I don’t refer much to our great homeland.

Denmark is a country where food is a major part of life, everything revolves around it and if ever a conversation with a Dane gets boring, then talk about food any Dane will gladly tell you what they ate for breakfast, lunch or dinner with great passion.


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5) What do people in your host country think of Scots and Scotland?

Many Danes are under the impression that Scots and Danes are much alike - Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Our cultural differences are actually huge:

Danes eat raw herrings as a special treat - Scots eat fish suppers.

Danes eat blood sausage with sugar or syrup on top as a treat at Christmas - Scots eat black pudding, preferably with a fried egg on a Sunday morning.

On general terms most Danes have a very good impression of Scots/Scotland and if I meet any who are in any doubt, I always put them on the right track.

Many Danes will come with the joke about the "Stingy Scot," who did this or that. I just laugh it off and turn it into a positive regarding the current world credit crunch.

One very uneducated Financial Controller in a company where I once worked asked me in a very cheeky tone, "What did Scotland ever give the world?"

I answered him by giving him the full monty of Scotlands CV, regarding the very industrious side of Scotland - John Logie Beard, Graham Bell, Alexander Flemming etc etc etc.

The poor guys’ ears were ringing and I never saw the poor chap again!! I know he learned more in my lecture than he did all his years at school.  


6) How do you feel about Scotland now that you’re gone?

I am a very proud Scot and I always will be. I believe that the country still sells its self-way to short. Looking in from a distance I feel that one of the toughest challenges and something that I find embarrassing is trying to explain the Glasgow devide, yes Rangers & Celtic.

One of Scotland’s true great traditions but the atmosphere in the rivalry I believe looking from afar seems very primitive today. Scotland could learn a great lesson from Denmark in the fact that if a Dane was on the other side of the planet representing Denmark in the world tiddlywinks championships, the whole country follows them. In Scotland we would tend to ask which school they attended or which football team they support before pledging our allegiance.

History as taught us that Robert the Bruce had his challenges in trying to unite Scotland and this has never been easy but has anyone every just tried to imagine if the combined energy (if nothing more) from both Rangers and Celtic were put together in one unit? What could that bring?


7) What do you miss most and least about the auld country?

Well of course my close family ties still in the Cleland area, thanks to cheaper travel methods and Skype that is made easier.

I miss a trip around Loch Lomond on any day of the year, it never looks the same, it’s always beautiful and there is no place on this earth quite like it.


8) What about the independence referendum coming up? How will it affect you and Scotland’s international image?

I don’t expect the independence referendum to affect me very much. The thought of having a Scottish passport seems very trendy for me.

Why not an independent Scotland, lets go for it. It’s never been a secret that the England or anyone else for that matter is not going to do any favours for Scotland.

Strong and effective leadership will be the greatest challenge - Get that right and Scotland will thrive as an international player.


9) Describe Scotland in three words!

Friendly, Beautiful, Great Banter!


10) Do you have any plans for living in Scotland again and have you got a message for Scots back home?

I never say, "Never," but I will write it, "No Never," I have changed so much in my life to be successful in Denmark and I am very satisfied, I am happily married and have two teenagers who have done most of their growing up in Denmark but consider themselves also very proud Scots. They are settled and under education etc. I do not expect to move back to Scotland but I will never tier of visiting and carrying my St. Andrews flag with my can of Girders in my back pocket.


Do you know a successful Scot who lives outside Scotland and who Scottish Times can profile? If so contact Ina Göldenitz on or call 00 44 (0) 344 7570




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published this page in Scots Abroad 2012-08-08 12:13:00 +0100