There's little to recommend Edinburgh's gay scene - its sorry smattering of gay bars are excruciatingly dated - but the Scottish capital more than compensates with its atmospheric tumble of cobbled streets and shadowy alleyways.
And there's beauty beyond the city limits too, with Scotland's unblemished Highlands and lochs luring Scots and visitors alike. Highlands, as you've no doubt deduced, are what we commonly referred to as mountains; lochs are the crystalline lakes between them. Eager to experience them myself I joined local company
Rabbie's West Highland Lochs and Castles day tour.
Although I'm usually hesitant to join tours it proved worthwhile on this occasion. As trite as it sounds to say, the Scottish countryside is quite simply breathtaking. We passed billowing swathes of gorse-clad hillocks and amber mountains still fringed with snow; silver lochs that glinted beneath shrouds of mist and skeletal castles left to ruin. A spectacular route all round, we agreed (with the exception of the characterless and pricey pub we had to lunch at). There were unenthusiastic reviews too for one sight in particular. Returning to the bus after having visited Kilchurn Castle on the banks of Loch Awe, a guy who was part of our group excused himself and proceeded to defecate in the reeds. A beautiful setting for him perhaps but we found it somewhat unsightly.