One of the things that I found to be odd while driving around the Scottish countryside was how the towns and villages suddenly simply stopped. I am used to the urban sprawl which surrounds my city (and its suburbs), which seems to go on forever. Conversely, in the towns/villages that we saw, there was a distinct identifiable point where the town ended and the surrounding countryside began. I made a comment about this observation to one of Lord Elgin's sons. He indicated that this phenomenon dated back to a certain royal decree from King Robert in the 1300s regarding preservation of farm land.