Although suicide accounts for a small percentage of deaths in Scotland (1.4% in 1999), it has been steadily increasing over the last two decades. In the US, Australia, England and Wales the greatest rises in suicide for this time period, occurred in rural areas. This study describes the pattern and magnitude of urban/rural variation in suicide in Scotland, examines methods of suicide within differing geographies and looks at trends in suicides over time. Scotland is split into four rurality types. Suicide data for all areas of Scotland (apart from Grampian which underwent changes in postcode sector boundaries in 1996) are investigated using Standardised Mortality Ratios (SMRs) and multilevel Poisson modelling, adjusting for age, sex and deprivation. SMRs for 1981-85, 1989-93 and 1995-99 are created across the four geographies, using the populations of Scotland in 1983, 1991 and 1997 as the standard populations (SMR=100). The highest rates in 1995-99 are seen in "remote rural" areas, SMR=125 (95% confidence interval 107-146). Models adjusted for age and deprivation show significantly greater risk of male suicide in remote rural areas relative to urban areas and significantly lower risk of female suicide in accessible rural areas. The method of suicide varies across ruralities for both males and females. The study considers how the relationship between suicides and rurality varies over time and how methods of suicide vary across different ruralities. The steepest rises in suicide amongst men, adjusting for age and deprivation, were seen to occur in accessible rural areas, however highest rates remain in remote rural areas.