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The Scottish Gindustry

The Scottish Gindustry

The morning I set off to trace Scotland’s new gin trail feels like the wettest day in the history of wetness and days, a morning so vengeful that no material, artificial or natural, can really keep a person dry. When I get to the Gin Bothy I’m as grateful for..
Sevillian Days

Sevillian Days

I’m watching a freeloader outside a restaurant on a hot day in Seville. A hot day? It could be almost any day in this town. In summer, the temperatures sail past 40C – past 50C at their worst. What to do on days like that? The freeloader knows. Stay in..
Flying, Fishing

Flying, Fishing

It’s easy to relax at the end of the world. Waist-deep in diamond-clear water, waders hugging my legs, I can feel the sun on the back of my neck, the swooshing of my fly rod the only noise to permeate the silence on Navarino Island at the very bottom of..
Art and Soul

Art and Soul

I like to think I know the world. In a pub quiz, my specialist subject would be geography. I pride myself on identifying flags. Capital cities? No problem. Do you know that the currency of Guatemala is the quetzal, named after an elusive, exotic bird? I do. But for all..
When The Fat Duck Flew Home

When The Fat Duck Flew Home

A couple of hours into my experience at The Fat Duck, I’m brought what looks like bread and butter. “What’s this now?” I ask, a little too eagerly, the wine pairing tickling my edges. “Fish and chips? A reformed mulligatawny soup?” “No, sir,” the waitress says with a patient smile,..
Pure Electricity

Pure Electricity

They are underpowered. They have poor range. They are slow to charge. So who cares if refuelling is cheap and the world is being saved from the endless grind of fossil fuels? Purely electric vehicles aren’t anything more than glorified milk floats. They aren’t convenient, they aren’t cool, and they’ll..
Patagonian Walkabout

Patagonian Walkabout

Trevor Sumner’s puma was far away. High on a cliff, just inside the Torres Del Paine National Park in southern Chile, a four-legged figure moved to the edge of an ancient fissure and Trevor, perhaps 400m downhill, had spotted it through a tiny pair of binoculars. All week long, he..
Beneath the Frozen Waves

Beneath the Frozen Waves

There are certain mistakes a person should only make once: missing a flight, listening to election pollsters, ordering Hawaiian pizza. To that list I can now add: snorkelling in Antarctica without a fully sealed dry-suit. From the moment I tumbled off the zodiac into near-frozen waters off Gourdin Island I..
The Maharajas’ Express

The Maharajas’ Express

People do a lot of waiting in India. Waiting for work, waiting for a blessing, waiting for things to get better. Often they are waiting for a train. Here are some people waiting on a platform: an elderly man with a waterfall beard cascading from his wizened face onto orange..
The Cowboy Capital

The Cowboy Capital

I don’t like horses. Never have. This ill feeling started about 25 years ago, when the local racetrack commandeered our school’s football pitch to store horseboxes. We were banished to the playground to make way. I grew up in Ayr, home of Scotland’s largest horse-racing track, and throughout my years at..