It’s no secret that I’m no fan of lists of the “best” [insert type of thing] in the world. Why? For something to be judged the best, then the judges must have tried all available options. And it’s a big world, so they simply can’t have.
Nevertheless, I’m delighted to say that Scotland has been named the most beautiful country in the world.
I like Scotland; I lived in Glasgow for sixth months; I’ve holidayed in Edinburgh, and I’ve driven around the country. It’s beautiful, for sure, but is is more beautiful, say, than the coastline of Croatia? Or outback Australia, or the Amazonian jungle, or Antarctica on a clear day? What are the criteria?
Well, I’m not sure, but according to this particular poll — conducted by the Rough Guides people — Scotland is No.1 and Canada is second in the most beautiful stakes. Then come New Zealand, Italy, South Africa, Indonesia, England, Iceland, the United States, Wales, Slovenia, Mexico, India, Finland, Switzerland, Peru, Norway, Ireland, Croatia (there you go!) and Vietnam.
All worthy contenders, but what about all the places that missed out? Almost everywhere has its, ahem, rough charm.
The most wonderful part of the story to me is that the Scottish tourism boss quoted in news reports is called Malcolm Roughead. Proof, perhaps, that travel isn’t only for the glamorous, but also in need of a disclaimer that he is not connected with the Rough Guides.