Just got back from two weeks Up North, mostly in the Highlands. As Timothy Cavendish says in Cloud Atlas, ‘There is a whole country up here.’ Husband and I have not been as enamoured of a country since Italy.

I’m supposed to be busy doing other stuff at the moment, so instead of presenting a day-by-day account, here’s one of them trendy listicles structured around an arbitrary number. Like (500 Miles), just take ’25’ to mean infinity and beyond…

25 REASONS WHY I LOVE SCOTLAND

1. Catching the same flight as Tilda Swinton from London Gatwick to Inverness. Yes, easyJet is good enough for The Swinton.

No pap pic, but my cue to say, 'From hence to Inverness'.

No pap pic, but my cue to say, ‘From hence to Inverness’.

2. Locals and their hobbies.

Fly fishing in the River Ness in Inverness (yes as in Loch Ness (no we didn't go to Loch Ness)).

Fly fishing in the River Ness in Inverness (yes as in Loch Ness (no we didn’t go to Loch Ness)).

3. The view from our B&B in Kylesku, the fishing village in Sutherland where we were based during our weeklong hiking trip with Wilderness Scotland.

Why, of course there's a rainbow every evening.

Why, of course there’s a rainbow every evening.

4. Stag party.

Red deer are now the largest native animals in Britain, now that all the bears are gone.

Red deer are the largest native animals in Britain, now that all the bears are gone.

5. A full Scottish breakfast (with haggis).

The haggis is the brown pudding on the left under the egg. Not presented in a sheep's stomach, unfortunately.

The haggis is the brown pudding on the left under the egg. Not presented in a sheep’s stomach, unfortunately.

6. Spotting cities of puffins and skuas on the shores of Handa Island, a nature reserve that is privately owned but managed by Scottish Wildlife Trust.

This sea cliff is the Kowloon Walled City for skuas.

This sea cliff is the Kowloon Walled City for skuas. Smells like it too.

7. Seeing sea anemone.

This is what they look like in the water. When above water level, they look like blobs, overripe cherries.

This is what they look like in the water. When above water level, they look like blobs, overripe cherries.

8. Cape Wrath, the north-westernmost point of the island of Britain, accessible only by a ferry run by a notoriously mercurial boatman, followed by a bus ride on some of the worst-maintained public roads in the kingdom. The area is a live firing range for the military.

Good to know.

Good to know.

9. It also has a 19th-century lighthouse.

Designed by Robert Stevenson, grandfather of Robert Louis.

Designed by Robert Stevenson, grandfather of Robert Louis.

10. ‘There can be only one.’

I have yet to watch 'Highlander' but I'm sure it's excellent.

I have yet to watch ‘Highlander’ but I’m sure it’s excellent.

11. Bagging our first Munro (a Scottish peak over 3,000ft).

View from the top of Conival (3,238ft).

View from the top of Conival (3,238ft).

12. Gigs at the pub.

This is at Hootananny in Inverness. From now on, I will mentally replace the mention of any musical instrument in a work of literature with 'bagpipes'.

This is at Hootananny in Inverness. From now on, I will mentally replace the mention of any musical instrument in a work of literature with ‘bagpipes’.

13. Long bridges over sea lochs.

This one is the Skye Bridge over Loch Alsh that links the Isle of Skye to the Kyle of Lochalsh.

This one is the Skye Bridge over Loch Alsh that links the Isle of Skye to the Kyle of Lochalsh.

14. Highland traffic jams.

Baa weather.

Baa weather.

15. Going to the Talisker whisky distillery and learning that Scotland is as far north as parts of Alaska.

I must admit that I've yet to acquire a taste for whisky...

I must admit I’ve yet to acquire a taste for whisky…

16. On a three-day kayaking trip with Sea to Skye, I learnt that some jellyfish are not dangerous and can in fact be used in ‘jellyfish fights’.

Who would've thunk that jellyfish actually feel like jelly?

Who would’ve thunk that jellyfish actually feel like jelly?

17. Also spotted the enormous corpse of a Lion’s Mane jellyfish.

Now, this one would hurt.

Now, this one would hurt.

18. Sheep grazing in a river valley.

We stayed at a B&B that was so remote that it took an hour to walk to the nearest restaurant for dinner. Nice scenery though.

We stayed at a B&B that was so remote it took an hour to walk to the nearest restaurant for dinner. Nice scenery though.

19. Kayaking amongst the seals off Plockton.

Unfortunately you can't see the seals in this picture, but enjoy the panorama anyway.

Unfortunately you can’t see the seals in this picture, but enjoy the panorama anyway.

20. The water is so still and reflective in the sea lochs (we were lucky) that it is like kayaking into the sky.

You see.

You see.

21. The exorbitant fine for public drinking in Kyle of Lochalsh.

Though maybe this is only funny if you're from Singapore.

Though maybe this is only funny if you’re from Singapore.

22. Down in Edinburgh, it’s like stepping into my childhood idealisation of Europe, all beautiful old buildings and fog.

Beautiful old buildings.

Beautiful old buildings.

And fog.

And fog.

23. A view from Arthur’s Seat.

A couple having a 'One Day' day?

A couple having a ‘One Day’ day?

24. I have my own Cloud Atlas (movie) moment at the Scott Monument.

Rather pleased with the result given that we didn't use a reference and it was a total fluke that I chose to pose at this spot.

Rather pleased with the result given that we didn’t use a reference and it was a total fluke that I chose to pose at this spot!

25. Whatever happens on September 18, 2014, I know Scotland will remain a great country. We can’t wait to return.

They love me, Ye Ye Ye.

They love me, Ye Ye Ye.

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