No place like home for a holiday on the edge

THERE are holidays with a difference and holidays with a Big Difference. For those looking for that frisson of danger without which no relaxation is really complete, Dunira Strategy, a Scottish travel firm, may have the ideal away-from-it-all break for you – destinations currently on offer include Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.

Such "Holidays on the Edge" have always had an appeal for the more adventurous tourist. It's not, of course, the rattle of machine gun fire or the shattering booms in the canyons of Tora Bora that appeal. Many of these destinations have been popular with tourists since the 19th century, their remoteness, rugged beauty and utter contrast to the crowded beaches of Torremolinos and the Costa Brava offering incomparable spectacle.

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What other destinations might appeal to those who fancy something different? There is, of course, the haunting isolation of Chechnya, or the bleak hopelessness of Somalia. For those who like crowds, North Korea can offer the all-in totalitarian experience. However, it can be a challenge getting in, and even more of one getting out.

But there's nothing to beat the exotic charms of home. There is Scotland's earthquake centre – the "shaky toon" of Comrie – the faded allure of Rothesay on a wet Sunday or the wild woolly nights in Lochearnhead during the sheep shearing. Note: insurance can be steep.