Isle of Skye, Soctland (Photo: Moyan Brenn via Flickr)

Containing the best remaining pockets of true wilderness in the British Isles, Scotland can be relentlessly untamed or it can be exceedingly civilized. From sipping some of the finest single malt whiskies along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to spending a night on the floor of a bothy hut on a remote moor, miles from electricity and civilization, Scotland always delights. Vast lochs, resplendent natural colour, graceful wildlife, remote castles, vertiginous mountains; the landscape of Scotland is diverse and beautiful. One would expect such a landscape to produce a rugged and unfriendly people, but the Scots are anything but. There is a distinct sense of warmth and great pride in Scotland. In recent decades great effort has been made to preserve Scottish culture. The Highland Games are a great example of this, and mark Scottish defiance against the attempts of the ruling English to suppress Scottish culture. The cities are home to some fantastic architecture; imprints of the great Charles Rennie Mackintosh can be found across Glasgow. Throughout the countryside the turrets of castles peak through copses and reflect off rippling lochs. July and August are popular months to visit, but rain is common, and the midges are enough to put anybody off visiting the countryside. Spring and autumn are the ideal times to fully experience Scotland’s rich history, culture and character.