5. The A82 to Glencoe, Scotland

The best place to polish your armour.

I’ve spent the last few weeks being impressed by the beauty of the scenery in the video game I’ve been playing. Roads winding through snow-capped mountains, lush forests, partially frozen lakes, and big, blue skies all play their part in a visual masterpiece that has seen me spend just as much time admiring the scenery as it has playing the actual game.

If you want to know what I’m talking about, buy the Skyrim: Special Edition, or, alternatively, take a trip to the Scottish Highlands on a cold November day. Driving along the A82 towards Glencoe felt just like being in a fantastical computer game (albeit with the bonus of being in a warm, comfortable Ford Focus instead of on horseback wearing steel armour). The scenery is breath-taking, and it’s immediately obvious why this is considered one of the best driving roads in the world.


Believe it or not, there’s a road in there somewhere

The village of Glencoe itself seems out of place, and a little anti-climatic. The cars, houses and (few) roads don’t feel like they fit with the mountains and lakes that surround it, but look past those – and it is a small village after all – and you can enjoy one of the best locations for a picnic you’re ever likely to go to. My travelling companion and I braved the -5C temperatures to tuck into our lunches while gawping at Ben Nevis – Britain’s highest point – a feat that provided much entertainment for the locals and fellow tourists that drove past, and one that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.


It’s worth spending a few minutes wiping the ice off the picnic benches

Despite the beauty of our chilly dining spot, Glencoe won’t be remembered as the highlight of the day. This was about the journey more than the destination, a journey so picturesque that we didn’t mind turning right around and doing the 126 mile, journey all the way back to base. This time, I turned the music onto the soundtrack to the aforementioned video game, enhancing the otherworldly feeling being given to is by the orange glow bouncing off the Snow-capped landscape from the setting sun.


If you enjoy a scenic drive, want to feel like you’re on another world in another time, or simply want to get away from the humdrum of everyday life, I urge you, book a hotel in Edinburgh, rent a car, put Glencoe in the sat nav, and drive. I promise you, you won’t regret it.


4. Edinburgh, Scotland

Why giraffes are better than people.

I will admit, I was starting to get tired of all the planning.

All the books I’m reading, the lists I’m creating and editing, the online research I’m conducting, it’s a big project, and it was in danger of taking some of the shine off the appeal of doing it in the first place.

Fighting my way through hoards of excitable fourteen year-olds gawping at Harry Potter merchandise whilst shopping for gifts for my friend on a Saturday lunchtime did more to remind me why I hate people and little to reassure me that this was all worthwhile.

But, like any meaningful relationship, feelings will fluctuate. I appreciate my adventures won’t always going to be plain sailing (I don’t even like boats), and after spending a day seeing and capturing the weird and wonderful that Edinburgh has to offer, my Fogg-like desire is firmly back on track.

Edinburgh is a charming (if rather chilly) little city, its bustling streets and busy trams punctuated by quaint back alleys and a unique (and very Scottish) atmosphere. The castle is by far its most famous feature, but at £25 each for entry, one I left the die hard Japanese tourists in front to explore while I admired from afar. There are plenty of places to admire it from, too, with its hilltop central location ensuring a picture postcard view of it is never far away – a view that improves further when it’s lit up at night.

For me though, Edinburgh’s charm is in its finer details. Like the alleyway to the Writer’s Museum that’s littered with famous literary quotes etched into the cobbles, or the elegantly touching tribute to the fallen heroes and heroines of yesteryear in one of its main parks, or the Christmas market, that combines Scottish culture and cuisine with internationally themed stalls, fairground attractions and a Christmas tree maze. All of this added up to a unique experience, and even though I’ve been here before, I was still made to feel like everything was new and exciting.

And that’s what my travels next year will be all about, going somewhere and immersing myself in what the local culture provides, whether that’s watching grizzly bears catching salmon in Alaska, or exploring a ghost town in Australia, I want to see the variety of amazing sights this planet has to offer.

For now, those sights are a fairly limited collection (including a lady with a thousand piercings) but as my knowledge and experience of the world grows, I’m confident my love for it will too – although I’m still working on the people that inhabit it.


The National Museum of Scotland provided a lesson in Scottish history, including the opportunity to get up close and personal with three Formula One cars, and the first ever speaking clock.


Not everyone I met was as cheeky as this guy.


Edinburghians (or whatever you call them) have a sense of humour, which I’m guessing helps them survive the winter.


Good luck finding your way out of this maze.