After seven adventure-packed years travelling the globe in a horse-drawn ''red box'', David and Kate Grant and their three children are back in Scotland looking for a home.

The Grant family embarked on their record-breaking, 12,300-mile journey in August 1990 after selling their home in Orkney. They have finally arrived home penniless but rich in new friends and experiences.

The idea for the journey across three continents and 15 countries was born on wet, cold, blowy winter nights in Orkney, with the wind battering on the windows.

''Kate and I would say 'There must be something better than this,''' said Mr Grant yesterday at the Letham Grange Resort, one of their sponsors.

The family have been given a month's accommodation there while they try to find a benign landlord who will give them more permanent accommodation at a peppercorn rent until Mr Grant completes a book chronicling their trip and they get back on their feet financially.

As they discussed the possibility of a travel adventure, they thought of converting a bus but eventually decided their journey should be in a horse-drawn cart, which they had specially built in Crieff at a cost of #12,000.

With Torcuil, then 11, Eilidh,10, and Fionn, 6, they set off for the Netherlands, where they bought their first horse. It turned out to be too light and, after just six weeks, they changed it for the horse which played such an integral part in their trip.

Traceur, who pulled the family more than 10,000 miles from France to the Missouri, eventually died of a brain tumour in South Dakota last winter, a tragedy which almost prompted them to give up.

''For all of us, it was the saddest moment of the trip,'' said Mr Grant.

''It was the only time I really felt like giving up. It was just before Christmas and the thought of doing the last year with a different backside in front of me was awful.''

However, Bertha, Traceur's successor, hauled them the last 2340 miles and is now on her way to join them, courtesy of Air Canada.

Slovenia, where they spent 14 months, provided the first major excitement for the Grants, when they found themselves in the middle of a civil war in 1991 and were exceptionally close to the gunfire and air assaults.

They retreated into Austria mid-way through the 10-day war and the area they fled was badly hit and a friend seriously injured.

''Looking back, it was quite frightening,'' said Mrs Grant, ''but at the time it was almost like watching a film and it wasn't happening to us. It was a very strange experience.''

Mongolia provided some of the most difficult challenges for the family. Food was scarce, horse food was even more scarce, and in three months they ate seven sheep they bought - an experience which has turned two of the children vegetarian.

An encounter with three drunken Mongolians also proved costly both financially and in time. The three tried to make off with Traceur and had to be driven off by catapult shots over their heads.

A month later, David was summoned to a police station, where he learned one of the Mongolians claimed he had suffered eye damage as a result and was demanding $60,000 compensation.

Mr Grant was found guilty of assault (later overturned on appeal)and given a three-year suspended jail sentence.

They ''escaped'' Mongolia by paying $1200 medical expenses which avoided a long and costly legal battle which could have threatened the whole trip.

It happened at a time when Mrs Grant had returned to Britain. She missed 18 months of the marathon journey because of ill health and because her father became ill.

She admitted it had been very hard adapting from their big house in Orkney to the ''red box'' just seven feet wide and 16ft long, which appeared to become smaller as the children grew.

''It certainly does not bother me that I am not going to be living in it again,'' she said. ''But we have had great memories. We still write to many of the people we have met and who will be lifelong friends.''

From Mongolia, they travelled into China, where, for no apparent reason, they were forced to leave and were put on a ferry to Japan which cost them $5000 for a two-day journey.

They had to remain in Japan for three months because of the quarantine regulations and they also ran into major expense transporting Traceur to America.

It was at this time that the owner of the Letham Grange resort near Arbroath, Taiwanese businessman Mr Dong-Guang Liu, heard of their plight and decided to support them.

The people of Kobe, still recovering from a devastating earthquake which killed 6000, also contributed generously towards their $13,000 bill.

The entire journey was sponsored by Grants of Dalvey, an Alness-based company which originally manufactured bagpipes but now specialises in idiosyncratic gifts ''from a more gracious age'' - products whose appeal was tested on those the Grants met, including nomadic tribesmen.

They finally made it to California to start the final leg of their journey across America and Canada.

The children are now looking to the future, having had no formal education although they did have some of the national curriculum courses with them.

However, they have started their lives with seven years training in global survival. They speak fluent Slovenian, having spent two terms at a school there, and they also speak Russian.

Eilidh, 16, discovered a talent for horse riding during the journey and will shortly travel to a top stables near London where she will be given the chance to discover whether she has the potential to be a jockey.

Torcuil's passion is ornithology but, although he would like to pursue that, he has not yet established how best to do so.

Fionn,13, who has spent more than half of his 13 years in the caravan, now faces the possibility of going to school daily. However, he would prefer to spend his life playing basketball.

Mrs Grant's priority is finding a house ''anywhere in Scotland'' and although she hasn't ruled out further travelling adventures, said ''it would depend on the method of transportation''.