(c) STEVE CARTER REX
Come on, be honest, how sure were you we’d come top? I’d have been pleased with a top-twenty-entry. Canada came second and curiously that’s just a bit Scottish too.
Here’s what the Rough Guide report said to its readers:
‘There’s nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you’re drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain peaks. To help spark your imagination, we asked our readers to vote for the most beautiful country in the world.’
And, the final result was: Scotland! Here’s their brief description:
‘Scotland. Who can deny that these wild beaches, deep lochs and craggy castles are some of the most wonderful and beautiful sights in the world? Stuck in the far northwest corner of Europe, Scotland is remote, but it’s not isolated. The inspiring emptiness of the wild northwest coast lies barely a couple of hours from Edinburgh and Glasgow, two of Britain’s most dense and intriguing urban centres. Ancient ties to Ireland, Scandinavia, France and the Netherlands mean that – compared with the English at least – Scots are generally enthusiastic about the European Union, which has poured money into infrastructure and cultural projects, particularly in the Highlands and Islands. By contrast, Scotland’s relationship with the “auld enemy”, England, remains as problematic as ever. The Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh has helped to focus Scottish minds on Scottish affairs, but many Scots still tend to view matters south of the border with a mixture of exaggerated disdain and well-hidden envy. Ask for a “full English breakfast” and you’ll quickly find yourself put right. Old prejudices die hard.’
England came in 7th. I’m going to be gracious and admit there are some lovely bits of England. I’ve holidayed in many of them and had a great time except when trying to change a Scottish tenner. So, I think we can safely assume beauty has been a factor in our recent boom: