1. See a band in the Barrowland. Ask most bands where their favourite place to play in the world is, the answer is always the same: Glasgow Barrowland. Its fantastically gaudy neon exterior is like a beacon to any self-respecting music lover, while the interior, complete with sticky sprung floor, is reassuringly dingy. The Barrowland is a sweaty, dark, cavernous canvas for the best bands in the world to go to town on like fevered Jackson Pollocks, squirting sound and colour over the pogoing masses below. 244 Gallowgate,Glasgow, www.glasgow-barrowland.com/ ; www.ticketsscotland.co.uk
2. Visit the Standing Stones at Callanish. Leave Stonehenge to the hippies, Callanish is for grown-ups. The pyramids are derivative and the Incas mere weans compared to the inspired druids who erected the 50 stone sentinels overlooking Loch Roag on the Isle of Lewis 5000 years ago. These standing stones in the shape of a cross predate Stonehenge by half a millenia, and are similarly rumoured to have an astrological purpose. Myths about "the shining one" appearing on midsummer's eve and even an adolescent Jesus visiting the site only add to the air of otherworldy intrigue. Call 01851 621 422 or log on to www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/
3. Take the West Highland line to Mallaig. A 164-mile train ride bursting with superlatives - it rolls past Britain's highest mountain (Ben Nevis), deepest loch (Morar) and longest canal (Caledonian). The train scales mountains, glides through glens, dodges waterfalls, careers across Rannoch Moor on a floating track, and sweeps over the Glenfinnan viaduct, a place made famous by Bonnie Prince Charlie, but now more associated with a new young pretender, Harry Potter. Scotrail, 08457 48 49 50, http://www.firstgroup.com/scotrail/tt/1139320602-WEST%20HIGHLANDS.pdf
Drive over the Bealach na Ba to Applecross. Its official title of A896 belittles the most spectacular road in Scotland justice, or maybe Bealach na Ba (Pass of the cattle), just doesn't fit on most AA prescribed maps. Imagine the James Bond Alpine car chase from Goldfinger, only with steeper roads and more hairpin bends, and you have one of Scotland's most precarious drives. With the summit at 2053 feet, Bealach na Ba, just north of Kyle of Lochalsh, is also one of the highest. Hire an Aston Martin especially.
6. Visit the Turner Watercolours at the National Gallery of Scotland. With all the lights and colour of the festive period gone, January can be bleak. But every year, cracks of light appear at the National Gallery. In 1900, London art impresario Henry Vaughan bequested 38 of Turner's finest watercolours to the National Gallery of Scotland with one condition: they could only be displayed in January, when the sunlight was weak and less destructive to the painting. So each January Turner's masterpieces arrive like a swirling winter solstice of colour, illuminating the Mound and chasing away the January blues. The Mound, Edinburgh, 0131 624 6200; www.nationalgalleries.org
7. Eat a real Arbroath Smokie. It's all in the name. It has to be in Arbroath and it has to be smoked. Revel in its new EU protection status (alongside Champagne and Parma Ham), by following the wood-smoked aroma drifting from the cluster of family-run smokehouses on Arbroath harbour, and indulge on the succulent haddock meat smoked over a barrel for 90 minutes. www.arbroath-smokie.co.uk
8. Enjoy a Dorothy's-eye view of Edinburgh Castle. "Go to the junction of Bread Street and Spittal Street in Edinburgh at dusk. Beside the shop on the corner is a blue door. Stand by that door and look up towards the castle. This is the view of the ramparts at their most soaring. Then consider this: A man called George Gibson, who was born a few feet from you, behind that blue door, emigrated to the US in 1930, worked as a scenic artist in the MGM movie studio between 1934 and 1969 and painted the EmeraldCity in The Wizard of Oz. Now look up at the Castle again. See the similarities?" (Mark Cousins, broadcaster)
9. Eat a Fisher and Donaldson custard slice. As much a St Andrews tradition as golf, dead saints and posh students. Baking since 1919, Fisher and Donaldson are the closest Fife, or Scotland, has to an original French style patisserie, only with the earthy injection of Scotch pies and oatmeal skirlies. But the creme de la creme of the creme is their custard slice - gooey perfection. 13 Church Street, St Andrews, 01334 472201
10. Play the world's oldest golf course. Pneumatic tires, radar and penicillin all have their uses, but the one Scottish invention that inspires true slavish devotion around the world is golf. And what better place to worship the sport that fashion forgot than the oldest playing course in the world, Musselburgh Old Links, where Mary Queen of Scots reputedly played a round in 1567. Balcarres Road, Musselburgh, Balcarres Road, 0131 665 5438, www.musselburgholdlinks.co.uk
11. Spit on the Heart of Midlothian. Not the football team, but the heart-shaped mosaic set into the cobbles of Edinburgh's Royal Mile. It marks the site of the old Tollbooth where criminals were occasionally executed, a place Edinburgh's criminal fraternity would regularly spit upon. Proving there's a vagabond inside each one of us, the tradition persists. Sadly most tourists are ignorant of this and happily wade through the pool of bronchial discharge. Eeuww. High Street, Edinburgh, near St Giles Cathedral
14. Surf in Thurso. Industrial thick wetsuits at the ready as you prepare to ride the best right-hand breaking wave on the planet. Thurso East's shelven reef and deep bay combine to create an imposing wave that reduces veterans of Bondi and Hawaii to gibbering wrecks of surf-dude excitement. Gnarly! Thurso Surf School, 01847 841300, www.thursosurf.com
15. Go to a traditional music festival on an island. "Whether it's the 12-hour sail to Shetland, or the 35-minute crossing to Bute, there's something about putting a stretch of clear blue water between you and the rest of the world that makes the festival experience extra special. A few days' top-class music and craic is also a great incentive to sample the diverse allure of Scotland's myriad island communities. The Shetland Folk Festival is the first of the main festivals, end of April, 01595 694 757." (Sue Wilson, Sunday Herald roots critic)
17. Follow in the footsteps of St Columba. Heaven, as Belinda Carlisle melodically put it, is a place on earth; the ex-Go-Go had evidently visited the Abbey on Iona. The earliest Christian site in Scotland, the Abbey was founded in AD563 by St Columba. When the setting sun colours the white sand, Iona Abbey is still divine. Iona Abbey, Iona; public ferry from Fionnphort, Mull, 01681 700512, www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
Walk the West Highland Way. The West Highland Way is picture postcard Scotland set along old sheep-herding, Jacobite-quelling roads. The 95- mile journey stretches from Milngavie near Glasgow's industrial firmament through a landscape shaped by song, romance and roguish gallantry as much as glacial erosion and the volatile weather. Loch Lomond, Rob Roy's cave, Rannoch Moor and Glencoe are passed, traversed and soaked into the sinew of all who tred the way. The journey ends at the base of Britain's highest peak, Ben Nevis, in Fort William. www.west-highland-way.co.uk Crossed through this one as basically driven most of the route - will never achieve walking it!!!
19. Go curling on a frozen pond. Okay, while the possibility of finding a solidly frozen pond to curl on is increasingly rare thanks to global warming, hopefully some future cold snap, ice age or winter trip into the Highlands will allow you to follow in the fevered brushstrokes of Rhona Martin and her Olympic winning girls. It is after all that rarest of beasts: a sport we invented and are world beaters at.
20. Ride the Falkirk Wheel. Rearing out of the central belt countryside, the Falkirk Wheel, linking the Forth & Clyde Canal to the Union Canal, is part engineering marvel, part HR Geiger-esque futuristic sculpture. You will never know how much you cared about the development of nautical lifts until you see the wheel move large boats with a grace that belies its nuts and bolts. Boats leave from the visitor centre, are scooped up by the wheel and placed, 15 minutes later, in the Union canal 35 metres above. www.falkirk-wheel.com/
21. Go to a ceilidh at the Riverside Club. For the past 60 years this folk landmark has hosted ceilidhs every Friday and Saturday night, with Scottish dancing lessons every Monday night. There are few finer places to swing a stranger in the land. 33 Fox Street, Glasgow, 0141 248 3144
22. Buy Ian Rankin a pint. In his books, Inspector Rebus drinks in Edinburgh's Oxford Bar, an excellent establishment the author has also been known to frequent. 8 Young Street, Edinburgh, 0131 539 7119
23. Make the shortest scheduled flight in the world. Two minutes. Less time than it takes to boil an egg. This is how long it takes to fly from Westray to Papa Westray, two of Orkney's smaller islands. The view is great and you get a certificate for your trouble. But it's probably not the best time to join the mile high club. www.loganair.co.uk
24. Go to King Tut's and listen to a band before they make the big time. "Radiohead, Pulp and Suede all paid their dues at cosy King Tut's Wah Wah Hut before packing out stadiums; a poorly-attended gig here is a rock'n'roll rite of passage. Most famously Oasis bullied their way on to a Tut's bill in May 1993 and promptly got signed by Alan McGee. But how can you be sure you're catching the next big thing? The forthcoming T Break showcases - featuring the most exciting unsigned Scottish talent - would be a good place to start. Call venue for details." (Graeme Virtue, Review editor) 272a St Vincent Street, Glasgow, 0141 221 5279, www.kingtuts.co.uk
25. Windsurf on Tiree. With the title of the windiest place in Britain and blessed with an uninterrupted swell from the Atlantic, Tiree is windsurfing's Mecca. If you are good enough, you can join the hordes that swamp this Hebridean isle every October for the Tiree Wave Classic. And when you are not on your board, soak up some sun. Another benefit of the wind is the lack of cloud cover. Therefore, Tiree is also Britain's sunniest spot too. www.tireewaveclassic.com
Visit the Necropolis before you have no option.Glasgow's famous cemetery is beautiful with grand gravestones and weeping statues. Home to 50,000 bodies, it was established next to the Cathedral in 1832 and is based on Paris's famous Pere-Lachaise, where Jim Morrison of The Doors is buried. The Necropolis has no dead rock stars, but boasts a resident family of roe deer, and the most Gothic ambience in Scotland.
29. Visit Maeshowe during the winter solstice. During the shortest day of the year (December 22), this neolithic corner of Orkney is magical. If you are lucky enough to be one of the few squeezed into Maeshowe, a chambered tomb dated at 2750BC, you can witness the final passing rays of the winter solstice sun streaming down the passage and illuminating the central chamber. www.maeshowe.co.uk
30. Go 'doon the watter' on the Waverley. The nature of holidays have changed a lot since the days when Glaswegians would leave the city for two weeks in the seaside towns of the west coast, but with global travel now fraught with fear of terrorism, it might be time to swap Laos for Largs. Iconic paddle steamer the Waverley has been restored to her Forties glory and makes regular voyages to Rothesay, Campbelltown, Tighnabruaich. Waverley bookings, 0845 130 4647, www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk
Marvel at the Northern Lights. "I want to see the Northern Lights. Last autumn, book-launching duties sent me south to the bright lights of London when I really wanted to go north to Orkney, where the night sky was ablaze with a gigantic light show. Now I'll need to wait another 11 years. The aurora borealis - electric particles hurled from the Sun to Earth on solar winds, then drawn to the magnetic North - is a phenomenon that only happens in 11-year cycles. The next cycle begins around 2013; I'll be heading for the heights of Hoy, although the phenomenon can be seen in many parts of northern Scotland." (Julie Bertagna, children's author)
32. See Killer Whales. For all budding environmentalists inspired by Free Willy, there are plenty of chances to see Keiko's kin in our own waters. Killer whale, or Orca, pods arrive with the warmer spring waters, usually in the Moray Firth or around the Hebrides. Whale watching trips leave from Tobermory on Mull, and Ardnamurchan in Argyll and, while they may not live up to their murderous moniker, swimming with them is not advised. http://www.isle.of.mull.com/wildlife_whales_dolphins.htm; http://www.west-scotland-tourism.com/ardnamurchan-charters/Whales.html
33. Bag all the Munros: There are 284 of them. They are all over 3000ft. They only exist in Scotland. And they are climbed, or bagged, by mountaineers with a near-religious fanaticism (Imagine the dedication of spotty, adolescent comic collectors, only with sturdier footwear). Bagging all the Munros is tantamount to reaching mountaineering Nirvana. If you are lazy and just want one, try Carn Aosda (3008ft) at the north end of Glen Shee in Aberdeenshire; thanks to its proximity to the road, scaling it is a mere 30-minute stroll. You are advised to leave the toughest Munro of all, the so-called Inaccessible Pinnacle (3200ft), which is on Skye, till last.
34. Dive at St Abbs Head. If you want to know what Atlantis looks like, go to St Abbs Head, on the coast southeast of Edinburgh. A beautifully eerie world of archways, caves, tunnels and gullies lies submerged in the National Marine Reserve; its centrepiece, Cathedral Rock, is where all self-respecting divers come to worship. Before divers arrived, it was no more than an insignificant, seaweed-clad rock that surfaced at high-tide and which local fishermen nastily called The Sluts. But the first divers discovered it was merely the top of a huge submerged arch rising from the seabed, big enough to park a bus under. www.marine-reserve.co.uk/ ; www.stabbs.org/diving
"In Glasgow, people should sample a hot pie from Greggs on Byres road: the best pies in the world. I'm an acknowledged expert on the subject, having eaten pies the world over. As testament to their greatness, go down to Greggs at any time of the day and the place will be packed with queuing students. Also people should feed the fish money in the nearby Botanic Gardens. My pension is in there. You'll see me on my 61st birthday in there with my wetsuit.
"Finally, take a flying lesson from FifeAirport, Glenrothes. It's an awesome experience, soaring up over Fife. Not too expensive either. And there is a pub there to enjoy a malt whisky to steady the nerves after your flight." Largs to Millport ferry, Caledonian MacBrayne, 01475 674134, www.calmac.co.uk; Greggs, 259 Byres Road, 0141 334 8752; Tayside Aviation, 01382 644372, www.taysideaviation.co.uk
37. Dive the wrecks in Scapa Flow. After their defeat in World War One the German High Seas Fleet performed naval hari-kari in Orkney's Scapa Flow, scuttling themselves in the open lagoon. Today seven large warships and four destroyers remain, alongside numerous Royal Navy wrecks, many just a few metres from the surface. Dive into the eerie gloom and explore these preserved wrecks. It's like being Indiana Jones with a breathing apparatus. Scapa Flow Diving Holidays, 01856 851 110, www.scapa-flow.co.uk
38. Sugar-rushing at The Brookyln Cafe: "Before you die, you should visit The Brooklyn Cafe on the south side of Glasgow (west-enders will need booster jags and sherpas, so plan ahead). Having found it, buy a double-nougat with vanilla ice-cream, raspberry sauce and sprinkles. Walk slowly to Queen's Park, round the duck pond and back again, by which time you should be ready for another one." (Sergio Casci, screenwriter) 21 Minard Road, Glasgow, 0141 632 3427
39. Climb the Whaligoe steps (without an oxygen cylinder). Rising steeply from a small natural harbour near Wick, there are 365 of these 200-year-old steps. The wives of herring fishermen once climbed them while carrying the day's catch in baskets on top of their heads. Even in your Air Jordans and sans fish, you will still find it tough going. http://www.caithness.org/atoz/whaligoe/allthesteps/index.htm
40. Spend the night in a haunted room. You don't even need to know the stories to know that Carbisdale Castle, now a youth hostel, is haunted. Its grand exterior, eerie halls filled with marble statues and isolated location perched on a crag in remote Sutherland, oozes with supernatural suggestion. Ask for the male bedroom that was formerly the nursery if you want to stand the best change of encountering the fabled woman in white, affectionately called Betty. Tuck yourself in, lie back in the gloom and let your over-excited mind do the rest. 0870 1 55 32 55, www.carbisdale.org
41. Practise paganism. "Try a touch of Taghairm, an ancient Gaelic rite. Choose a good waterfall in the Highlands - the Falls of Rogie, north of Beauly, would be suitable. Wrap yourself in the hide of a newly slain bullock and plunge in behind the cascading foam. Legend has it that, through this method, you'll be able to divine the rest of your life." (Murray Grigor, filmmaker)
42. Eat at The Three Chimneys. It is not just the food garnished with the Highlands and Islands' finest produce. It is not even its reputation as one of the world's finest restaurants. What makes chef and proprietor Shirley Spear's The Three Chimneys an experience something the urban culinary mafia cannot offer, is that it is one of the country's remotest places to dine, on beautiful, lip- smacking Skye. Colbost, Dunvegan, 01470 511258, www.threechimneys.co.uk
43. THE MUSEUM OF SCOTTISH LIGHTHOUSES By Alex Salmond MP. "As an MP you develop an almost parental sense of pride for institutions and attractions in your constituency. However, I don't think I'm being unfairly biased when I say that a visit to the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses in Fraserburgh is a definite must- do.
"The museum is truly breathtaking. Not only in terms of its important and lovingly preserved historical collections, but also in a more literal sense as you spiral your way up the steep staircase of Scotland's oldest lighthouse to be rewarded with an awe-inspiring view of the North Sea and Buchan coastline.
"The lighthouse, built in 1787, remains a vital navigation beacon for Scotland's coastline. Although today the light is operated automatically, the keeper's residence has been preserved exactly as it was when the last keeper left in 1956, and is a stunning centrepiece for a facility which is a fascinating and hands-on journey through our maritime history." Kinnaird Head, Fraserburgh, 01346 511022, http://www.lighthousemuseum.org.uk/
46. Visit Glasgow School of Art and the Willow Tea Rooms. Charles Rennie Mackintosh's majestic School of Art is "the only art school in the world where the building is worthy of the subject," according to Sir Christopher Frayling. With its groundbreaking art nouveau style it brought European design kicking and screaming into the 20th Century (it was completed in 1909). Matching the art school's grace and elegance of design, but with better food, is the Mackintosh-designed Willow Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street. The Willow Tea Rooms, 217 Sauchiehall Street, 0141 332 0521, www.willowtearooms.co.uk; Glasgow School of Art, www.gsa.ac.uk
47. Throw a stone from the North Sea into the Atlantic. Mavis Grind, a narrow neck on the Shetland mainland, is where the North Sea and the Atlantic meet, making this one of the few places on earth where you can straddle two mighty expanses of frothing water like a colossus.
48. Ski/snowboard the 'Flypaper'. It doesn't matter if you are a snowboarding dude or old-school skier, Glencoe's Flypaper is challenging no matter what's attached to your feet. This is the steepest run in Scotland, meaning that a death wish, loose screw or general sense of adventure is a must. But you better be quick. Thanks to global warming, snow on the Flypaper might become the new Nessie - an elusive Highland phenomenon.
49. Sail to St Kilda. The remotest part of the British Isles juts out of the Atlantic 41 miles west of Benbecula in the Western Isles. The archipelago is an official World Heritage site thanks to its soaring beauty and huge colonies of sea birds. Charter boats leave from Oban and the Western Isles during the summer, but bring a good book - they take at least 14 hours and eight hours respectively. For those who really want to get away from it all, you can help restore St Kilda's stone houses, abandoned in 1930, for two weeks during the summer. www.kilda.org.uk
52. Eat an Ashvale Whale. Aberdeen's Ashvale restaurant and take- away has an award-winning reputation for terrific seafood. But the main reason to go there is to participate in the challenge of eating an Ashvale Whale - a 1lb cod fillet for (pounds) 8.15. Finish this beast by yourself and claim a second whale, or dessert, for free. Thus thriftiness and gluttony combine in one noble tradition. 42-48 Great Western Road, Aberdeen, 01224 596 981; branches in Bridge of Don, Brechin, Dundee, Elgin, Ellon and Inverurie
53. Do the Loony Dook. In Pamplona, Spanish revellers drink all night before attempting to outrun death and a great big bull. In Scotland the closest we have is the Loony Dook - jumping into the freezing Firth of Forth from the boathouse steps in South Queensferry on New Year's Day. For your goose-pimpling efforts you get a towel, a t-shirt and a pipe band parade through the town. And probably pneumonia.
54. Play The Ba' Game. As any proud citizen of Kirkwall will tell you, The Ba' is the precursor for every game known to man. Part rugby, part pro-wrestling, it is a timeless tradition. On New Year's Day Orkney's capital splits into either Uppies or Doonies, each at least 200-strong, and fight in a seething morass of bodies to move a ball from one end of town to the other. Body armour and an unwillingness to muck in are rightly frowned upon. http://www.orkneyjar.com/tradition/bagame/
55. Attend a Burns Supper in Alloway. Burns suppers are as much a celebration of Scotland as they are of Robert Burns, hence January 25 being more celebrated than St Andrew's Day. It is a rare country that would write a love poem to a boiled sheep's stomach, serenade it with a piper and then cut it open in the name of national pride. Yet, thankfully, Scotland is one such place. And what better arena in which to enjoy such a poetical celebration than Alloway, the Ayrshire village in which Burns was born in 1759? Alternatively, you might consider reciting his epic poem Tam o' Shanter at Brig o' Doon. A humpbacked piece of literary history, the Auld Brig O'Doon still stands over the river near Alloway where Burns' eponymous fool Tam O'Shanter and his long-suffering mare, Meg, narrowly escaped the pursuing witch. Burns National Heritage Park, Alloway, 01292 443 700, http://www.burnsheritagepark.com/
56. Spot a mermaid. Mystery hangs over Sandwood Bay, the most remote beach in Britain, like sea mist. Inaccessible save for a four mile hike over a bog from a deserted car park, this is where, in the 19th Century, the last mermaid sighting in Britain was recorded. If you fail to commune with any merfolk, check out the stunning sea stacks off the Sutherland coast. http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/kinlochbervie/sandwoodbay/index.html
57. Stay in the Eisenhower Apartment at Culzean Castle. If it was good enough for a former US president, it should be good enough for anyone willing to pay between (pounds) 250 and (pounds) 375 a night. Set on the entire top floor of Ayrshire's fairytale Culzean Castle, with commanding views over to Arran and Ailsa Craig, the Eisenhower Apartment was once the holiday home of US President Ike Eisenhower. With only six bedrooms in the apartment it is probably the most exclusive place to stay in all the land. 01655 884455, http://www.aboutscotland.co.uk/culzean/index.html
58. Climb the Forth Rail Bridge. The blazing oxide red of the ForthRailBridge in all its undulating glory looks spectacular from any angle. But instead of marvelling at this Victorian engineering wonder from afar, why not try and climb across it? Admittedly you may have to be a maintenance worker or Blue Peter presenter to get on it, but that just adds to the challenge.
59. Catch a salmon in the Tweed. Cast off into that most Scottish of rivers, the Tweed, to catch that most Scottish of fish, the salmon. Tip - while it may have the longest fishing season in the country (Feb 1-Nov 30), September finds the water crowded with migratory salmon. But at any time of year, the rolling Borders countryside and murmuring river, which poet Robert Frost seems to have breathed into being, surrounds you as you fish; this is Zen, Scotland-style. 01573 470612, http://www.fishtweed.co.uk/
60. See Skara Brae. Orkney's, and Scotland's, Pompeii - only without the charred corpses. This perfectly preserved Neolithic village lay hidden under sand dunes for four millennia until an 1850 storm revealed the first of eight stone dwellings. Further excavation revealed a settlement complete with its own alleyways and pottery sets which date back to 3200BC. Skara Brae's original stone furniture offers a glimpse of a time before chairs were Swedish and came in flat-packs. http://www.orkneyjar.com/history/skarabrae/
Have an ice-cream at Luca's. This ice-cream haven in sunny Musselburgh is where all good Sunday drives end up. Vanilla is the yard-stick with which to judge any great ice-cream shop and Luca's doesn't disappoint. Its sweet and creamy vanilla, prepared on-site every morning, is the best of its kind outside of Bologna. 32-38 High Street, Musselburgh, 0131 665 2237
62. Make a call from the Local Hero phone box. Take lots of change and frantically force-feed the phone box in the village of Pennan near Fraserburgh - the one which featured prominently in Bill Forsyth's film Local Hero. Made 21 years ago, the film is a period piece from the days before mobiles, when landlines ruled the earth, and tells a tale of how telecommunications can stress distance and alienation as much as connectedness. Actually, the real phone box is not where the film placed it. A fake one was used, last seen some years back, on its side in a car park near Banff.
63. Have a curry from the Wee Curry Shop in Glasgow. "Tucked away up a side street, sandwiched between a Post Office and a row of sooty tenements, this place really is the stuff of legends. Go seek it out and for (pounds) 4.75 experience the best chicken curry this side of Mumbai. You get a starter too - and if you speak nicely to the football-loving patron, he'll give you extra chilli dipping sauce for your pakora. A diamond set in a Garnethill." (Barry Didcock, Seven Days editor) 7 Buccleuch Street, Glasgow, 0141 353 0777
64. Buy coffee and olive oil at Valvona and Crolla. "I would die very happily having eaten in this Edinburgh deli, the very pulse of Italy within Scotland. Valvona and Crolla offers the very best of all things Italian, whether you are shopping, buying wines (they have been the top suppliers of Italian wines in the UK for several years running) or eating in their restaurant. And it is every bit as much the atmosphere and the staff as the delicious food that makes V&C so fantastic."
(Lady Claire MacDonald, cook and food writer) 19 Elm Row, Edinburgh, 0131 556 6066, http://www.valvonacrolla.co.uk/
65. Climb Arthur's Seat. For all the man-made joys of Edinburgh - Georgian architecture, festivals, the knotted medieval Old Town - Arthur's seat is a gnarled wonder of nature that literally and metaphorically rises above the rest of the city. Best appreciated at the sun's coming or going, or during one of the frequent haws that roll in from the North Sea, the 823ft landmark becomes an island set amid a swirling sea of mist, with only a castle in the clouds as company.
See The Proclaimers live. The Reid twins are as much a part of the national fibre as Irn-Bru and early World Cup exits. Since their 1987 debut The Proclaimers have survived the onset of various musical fads and their beloved Hibernian football club's terrible form, to remain an almost universally loved act. Catching Craig and Charlie playing here, and feeling the mutual respect between bespectacled band and adoring audience, is a foot-stomping sight to behold. http://www.proclaimers.co.uk/
67. Cocktails at Rogano. You might expect Glasgow's oldest restaurant to be overrun by Jimmy Choo-worshipping, 30-something women trying to fill the Sex and the City-shaped void by indulging in a selection of cocktails that would make even Carrie and the girls gag. However you would be wrong. Set in Art Deco splendour relatively unchanged since the Thirties, Rogano is a pocket of calm in which to sip your Martini. Think Agatha Christie rather than Candace Bushnell. 11 Exchange Place, Glasgow, 0141 248 4055, http://www.roganoglasgow.com/
68. Find inspiration at Fingal's Cave. Artistic types suffering from writer's block should follow Felix Mendelssohn's example and take a cruise past the yawning basaltic chasm of Fingal's Cave on Staffa. Despite his sea-sickness, the cacophony of the waves booming into the cave inspired the composer to write his Hebridean Overture. Even to the non-creative the 20-40 ft columns of rock, which form an organ-like shape, can't fail to impress. Boats leave from Mull regularly during summer. http://www.fingals-cave-staffa.co.uk/
69. Spend midsummer at the northern tip of Unst. Indulge in the strange pleasure of being able to read a newspaper outside at midnight in Britain. Unst is the most northerly point of Shetland and therefore Britain. On the summer soltice, the strange phenomenon known locally as the Simmer Dim occurs; basically night consists of the sun dipping just below the horizon for a few hours before rising again at 3am, which means it never gets dark. http://www.unst.org/
71. Read Kidnapped in South Queensferry. Or more specifically, in the Hawes Inn. It was here in room 13 of this old pub, tucked underneath the monumental ForthRailBridge, where Robert Louis Stevenson stayed in 1886 and was inspired to write Kidnapped, his tale of high-seas skulduggery and Highland rebellion. So order a pint, get a comfy chair and get lost in Stevenson's vagabond adventure. 7 Newhalls Road, South Queensferry, 0131 331 1990
Read Lanark anywhere. Pay homage to Alasdair Gray by reading his 1981 debut novel Lanark. Described as the Scottish Ulysses, it is a striking fusion of science-fiction and urban realism written with idiosyncratic beauty and enhanced with striking illustrations by Gray himself.
Loop the loop on the Clockwork Orange. The air may be stale and the upholstery seemingly not changed since the Seventies, but with two lines linking 15 stations in 24 minutes, Glasgow's underground railway - apparently known as the Clockwork Orange, but weirdly never called that by anyone - is simplicity itself. Sit back and watch a microcosm of Glasgow life get on and off as the likes of Hillhead and Govan whizz by in a pleasant blur. Not so pleasant, though, if you find yourself sharing a carriage with several dozen Old Firm fans, at which point the poor wee train becomes awash with spilt ginger and chips. http://www.spt.co.uk/
75. Boo and hiss at a Pavilion panto. A Christmas treat for kids of all ages, featuring Scottish celebrities, usually the Krankies, current pop tunes and raw Glasgow humour. Leave all the cynicism at the door, grab some popcorn, and have fun in one of the finest old music halls in the land. 121 Renfield Street, Glasgow, 0141 332 1846, http://www.paviliontheatre.co.uk/
76. SEE THE REALLY TERRIBLE ORCHESTRA PERFORM By Alexander McCall Smith, author. "Scotland is immensely fortunate in having the worst orchestra in Western Europe, the Edinburgh-based Really Terrible Orchestra, which now has a cult following throughout the world. This band of enthusiastic musicians - of which I am a member - gives regular concerts, which are a must. One would not want to go more than once (indeed one might not stay for the whole concert), but listening to the RTO's renditions of a wide range of music is an experience never to be forgotten. The best (that is, worst) RTO concert to catch is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe concert. It is cheap and the audience gets free glasses of wine before the performance. This undoubtedly helps. Pay particular attention to the sounds emanating from the trumpets and the oboes. An orchestral experience beyond compare, this is certainly Scotland's worst-kept secret." http://www.thereallyterribleorchestra.com/
78. Tour the Highlands on a motorbike. "I was 22 years old and it was the summer of 1985. I got in my racing green MGBGT and headed north. With no plans for two weeks I stopped when I saw something beautiful, when I fancied walking up a mountain or just when I was tired. Drifting around I landed in Inverness, Kirkwall, Applecross, Ullapool, Skye, Mull and many others, everyone a glorious memory. I've done it again since and it was even better second time." (Pat Nevin, football pundit) http://www.highlandrider.com/
80. Float in the Hebridean Sea. "Ideally, the last thing you would want to do before you die should coincide with the fateful event itself. Rather than invent a desire, I would revisit one already experienced. I would float, whatever the season, in the emerald water of the Hebridean Sea at Ardnamurchan just I had done as a child, and before I closed my eyes for the last time, I would look up and over to the snows still lying on Ben Nevis. A more grave and imposing witness to my untimely end I could not ask for." (Toni Davidson, author) http://www.ardnamurchan.com/
81. Swing a fireball at Stonehaven. Can you be a swinger and not get burnt? Just go to Stonehaven on Hogmanay and find out. This has nothing to do with wife-swapping in Aberdeenshire, but the ancient procession of 45 men swinging 16lb balls of fire over their heads. In line with local custom, the flammable throng make their way to the harbour where they douse the fireballs in the sea. Sadly, you need to be a local man to take part, but watching from the sidelines can be just as thrilling. With sparks flying everywhere, don't wear that shell suit. http://www.stonehavenfireballs.com/
82. Read The Thirty-Nine Steps and try and recreate Richard Hannay's journey. Clutching your well-thumbed copy of John Buchan's spy thriller, zig-zag across the moors and glens of Dumfries and Galloway by train, car and foot, staying in inns and under the spring stars, in the style of literary hero Richard Hannay.
83. Try stand-up comedy. "Are you an adrenaline junkie? Does bungie- jumping in the buff or rollerskating down Ben Nevis high on Buckfast no longer give you that special thrill? If you're seeking to score that ultimate hit, then what better way to set your pulse racing than to get in front of a bunch of lagered-up heckle-meisters and try to make 'em laugh? Let's face it, we all have moments (usually after a minor tussle with ten pints of Stella) when we think we're funnier than the Mayor of Funnytown. Most comedy clubs enjoy the gladiatorial sport of putting a mike on stage and letting a few have-a-go nutters take on the bloodthirsty punters. Those five minutes of sheer terror could be the start of something beautiful." (Gowan Calder, actress and writer) Red Raw open mic night is at The Stand Comedy Club, Mondays (5 York Place, Edinburgh) and Tuesdays (333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow). Phone Eva , 0131 558 7373, to book an open spot.
85. Experience the exhilaration of isolation. "Spend a week alone in a hut/tent/house by the edge of the sea on the coast of the island of Mull, any time from May to October. Watch herons and oystercatchers skim across the water, catch a glimpse of seals, dolphins, even an otter. Enjoy the scent of thyme, bog myrtle, heather, taste the salt on your tongue, have a freezing but exhilarating swim, see a million stars at night and the rose-pink cliffs at sunset. Sink into the stillness and peace."(Kathy Galloway, leader of the Iona Community) http://www.isle.of.mull.com/
86. A GRAND TOUR By Peter Lederer, Chairman Of VisitScotland. "Drive to Crinan for dinner at Crinan Hotel. See your dinner being landed and enjoy the best seafood in Scotland as you watch the sun go down over Jura. The next day, take the charter to the Gulf of Corryvreckan, the second largest whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere in the narrow channel between Jura and Scarba. The Royal Navy charts mark it as "caution" and it is sometime impassable for even the largest ships. A haunting place that captures the power of Mother Nature. Just listen and feel the experience.
"Take a few days in August, or even a week, to really 'do the festival'. The Edinburgh Festival is the best in the world, and every Scot should discover the city and see as many shows as possible.
"Don't miss the Military Tattoo, pictured. Go with your best friends for an evening that you will remember forever, featuring people and performers from all over the world, and ending with tears at the sound of the lone piper on the Castle wall and fireworks." Crinan Hotel, Crinan by Lochgilphead, 01546 830 261, http://www.crinanhotel.com/ ; the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, August 6-28, 08707 555 1188, http://www.edinburgh-tattoo.co.uk/
87. Burn a Viking longboat. Shetland's Up Helly Aa, a massive fire festival, might be the most surreal thing you can experience in Scotland - 1000 men dressed as Vikings, belly dancers, Gary Glitter, furry animals, all singing as they walk through the freezing streets of Lerwick and then throwing their four-foot-high flaming torches into a Viking longship. If you do make it to Up Helly Aa, on the last Tuesday of January, make sure you get yourself a hall ticket - that's an invite to one of the all-night private parties after the procession. Until you've been burled around the floor by a bearded man who had to get your mates to hold his shield, axe and feathered helmet, you just haven't lived. http://www.shetlandtourism.com/
88. See Whisky Galore! on Barra. Take a brand new DVD copy of the 1949 Ealing film Whisky Galore! and head to Barra, in the Outer Hebrides. Renamed Todday for the film, Barra provided the backdrop for the tale of canny Scottish islanders trying to outwit an overzealous home guard to get their mitts on 50,000 cases of whisky aboard a shipwrecked vessel. Watch it in your Hebridean seclusion then take a walk along the beaches from the film. And keep an eye out for any bottles of malt washed in with the tide; it is, after all, based on a true story.
90. Walk from Torridon to Inveralligin. "There's nothing more calming than walking from Torridon to Inveralligin, watching otters play on the shores of Upper Loch Torridon and the heron take flight across the water. From the Shieldaig road on the south side, there's the breathtaking sight of Liathach and Beinn Alligin with its mountain peaks of Tom na Gruagaich, Sgurr Mhor and the Alligin Horns. Below these nestle villages of white-washed houses. This is the view that made me fall in love with Torridon seven years ago. It felt strangely special to me. Recently, when my mother got old family cine films transferred to video, there was the very same view, filmed by my father, who died when I was 21." (Edi Stark, broadcaster) http://www.visittorridon.co.uk/
91. Rock out at T in the Park. After celebrating its teenage birthday last year, T in the Park, like all good adolescents, should turn unpredictable, hormonally-charged and loud. Thing is, Scotland's premiere rock and pop festival has always been like that. The line- up promises eclectic excellence. The weekend around 10-11 July, Balado, near Kinross, http://www.tinthepark.com/
92. Visit The Hill House. "Of all the great architects, Charles Rennie Mackintosh is one of my favourites and his Hill House, Helensburgh, sums up all that is so special about his work. It was built as a domestic house and the Blackie family commissioned not only the house and garden, but much of the furniture and all of the interior fittings and decorative schemes. It fits together perfectly. Mackintosh's work is reproduced in so many ways and much of it has become familiar - but there is something very special about seeing these genuine pieces in this original setting." (Roger Wheater, Chair of National Trust for Scotland) Upper Colquhoun Street, Helensburgh, 01426 673 900, http://www.crmsociety.com/Attraction.aspx?NavPage=51&AttId=2
93. See Billy Connolly in concert in his home city. Seeing Glasgow's favourite son being welcomed back into the bosom of Glasgow, the city that forged his conversational wit, is a touching as well as an uproarious sight. The Big Yin may spend most of his time in the balmier climes of LA, but it will always be along the Clyde that his earthy take on Catholic guilt, sex, life, death and being Scottish will play to nothing less than rapture. http://www.billyconnolly.com/
94. Land on Barra beach in a plane. The cockleshell beach of Traigh Mhor on the northern tip of the island of Barra, is probably not the best place in the Hebrides for a picnic. The views are great, but you might get splattered by British Airways flight 8855 for your trouble. Traigh Mhor, you see, is also the island's sole runway. With one flight a day Monday to Saturday from Glasgow (with a Sunday service in the summer), there are plenty of chances to experience this unique aviation anomaly. Just make sure the pilot knows when high tide is. http://www.britishairways.com/
95. Visit Hopetoun House. A Jane Austen novel made granite, just outside Edinburgh, this stately home is panoramic in its sweeping breadth and set in 150 acres of gardens, fountains and farmland. Advice to men: grow some sideburns, wear a billowy white shirt and take a dip in one of the ponds on the grounds. Apparently the damp, clingy look makes women swoon and bodices pop. Advice to women: wear a bodice. One of them popping ones. Hopetoun House, South Queensferry, near Edinburgh, 0131 331 2451, http://www.hopetounhouse.com/
96. Strip the Willow: "One of the 100 things you ought to do in Scotland before you die is to learn that fabulous dance Strip the Willow. Lately, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh and I, together with our spouses, and other members of both councils performed a Strip the Willowthon for the Leap for Meningitis Charity Ball. We felt extremely fit though somewhat relieved to have finished with the same number of limbs we started out with. Realising the potential of Strip the Willow to raise awareness of Scotland, I have taught this dance to various foreign dignitaries. I therefore confidently predict that we will soon find Strip the Willow performed with verve and passion throughout Europe and further afield." Liz Cameron, Lord Provost of Glasgow) http://www.scottishdance.org/
97. Eat a deep-fried Mars Bar. You may want to call this tempura au chocolat, but whatever name you give it, the deep-fried Mars Bar has come to be emblematic of all that is wrong with the Scottish diet. Apparently invented in Aberdeen, the DFMB has lately been joined by the deep-fried Snickers and, we hear, deep-fried Maltesers, although that might be balls.
98. Travel on The Royal Scotsman. Billing itself as the most luxurious train in the world, The Royal Scotsman - which holds a maximum of 36 passengers - is certainly opulent, and its observation car affords the chance to marvel at the equally rich Scottish scenery. For the ultimate trip book yourself on to the seven-night Grand North Western tour, for (pounds) 4350 per person. Truly, this is Monarch of the Glen on wheels. 0131 555 1344, http://www.royalscotsman.com/
99. Visit Jospeh Beuys' Scotland. "Joseph Beuys, arguably one of the most important artists ever to visit Scotland, looked at the 36 postcards I showed him when I first met him in his Dusseldorf studio in 1970. They were classic views of Highland cattle in fields, heather-covered hillsides, Hebridean sunsets, Scottish castles, river- scapes of the Tweed and the Tay, Border abbeys, Fingal's Cave, the island of Iona, Edinburgh townscapes including Arthur's Seat, the Cuilins on Skye, the ForthBridge and StirlingCastle. His reaction was, "I see the land of Macbeth" and he visited here no less than eight times to make 11 masterworks inspired by the Moor of Rannoch, Loch Awe, Fingal's Cave, and Edinburgh's RoyalBotanic Gardens." (Richard Demarco, arts impresario)