Scottish photographer and globetrotter Alastair Scott shared his favourite photos from Scotland last week. Here’s his five most treasured pictures from his global travels.


ISLAND, 1988

We tend to think of America and Russia being half a world apart and forget that they are, in fact, next door neighbours.

The boy here is an Inupiat eskimo (the name is still preferred in this region) fishing for cod through ice 4-6 feet thick at the junction of the Bering and Chukchi Seas.

He’s a native of Little Diomede Island, Alaska. The island in the background is Big Diomede, 2.7 miles away, Russian and uninhabited except for a military observation station. Between them lies the International Dateline.

Every morning this American boy wakes up and looks over at Russia, and sees tomorrow.


Known as the City of Wheels, Hama is Syria’s fourth largest city. The wheels, or norias, are gigantic water wheels built as early as the 4th century BC to scoop water from the Orontes River and supply aquifers to irrigate distant fields.

There are 17 of these extraordinary engineering accomplishments and the largest have diameters of 70 feet – and they are still turning to this day.

I visited them in July 1983 shortly after their destruction had been feared in civil war. It was a typically hot day and local youths were using this wheel as a diving board.

They would swim upstream to it, grab a fin and hoist themselves aboard. It seemed a game of dare to see who had the nerve to ride to the highest point before diving off. The winner, pictured, was not only brave but stylish.

Others you could see were terrified but the more they looked down and froze the higher they were carried and the worse it became.

I often wonder what became of those divers, and the noria, in Syria’s current, tragic plight.


The El Dorado Bar in Dawson City – the capital of the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush – offers the world’s most unsavoury cocktail; containing a genuine human toe. It was the idea of Captain Dick ‘Rat’ Stevenson (pictured left), a murky character rumoured to have been a riverboat captain in the eastern provinces.

He moved to Dawson and bought a cabin in which he found a jam jar containing a pickled toe.

The previous owner had suffered serious frostbite while trapping, removed his own toe and kept it as a grizzly souvenir.

The captain invented the Sour-toe Cocktail, a pun on the word ‘sourdough’ used to describe veterans of Yukon’s tough winters.

It started as a joke but became so popular he did a deal with the bar: he would get free drinks while the bar profited from customers who would buy a cocktail of their choice, the toe would be dropped in and they would drink it dry (and return the toe).

The captain provided a certificate. All went well for years until a drunk swallowed the toe! The captain was distraught. He advertised in the national press for a replacement toe.

None was forthcoming. Eventually he announced he would have one of his own surgically removed for the purpose but before this happened a woman from Saskatchewan did indeed send him a replacement. Utterly grotesque, but true.


India’s south-western state of Kerala is home to the ancient tradition of Kathakali dance. It is a mixture of extravagant costumes, make-up, dance and performance storytelling in which eye expressions and eye movements are among the most important features.

The dancers are almost exclusively men and it may take over three hours for them to be made up for each performance.

The make-up is based on Ayurvedic medicines and accordingly is highly theraputic which is just as well as it

is built up layer by layer until it is thick enough to become a mask which moves

and exaggerates the wearer’s facial expressions.

Performances usually last a couple of hours and tell epic stories from Hindu legends and mythology.


A view with rooms. One of many pinnacle-perching religious hermitages in the Meteroa region of Greece, Agios Stephanos was the only convent or nunnery among the more common monasteries, showing the nuns were equally agile and daring as the monks.

These refuges were mainly built in the 15th and 16th centuries when the Eastern Orthodox religion were suffering increased persecution from Turkish invaders.

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