The setting was remote and impressive, and the opportunity to play his bagpipes in front of a Bhutan princess was too good for Ross Jennings to miss. 

The globe-trotting piper was well on his way to reaching his goal of playing his bagpipes in every country of the world. 

And having overcome the challenges of simply getting to Bhutan in the Eastern Himalayas, being invited to perform for members of the ruling House of Wangchuck was the icing on the cake. 

“After I played, I gave a little talk about the history of the kilt, when the Princess interrupted and said ‘Oh, I know all about this, I’ve watched Outlander’,” recalls Ross.

“Then she asked if I could play the Outlander theme tune.”

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The request, some 5000 miles from his Edinburgh home in the so-called ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ - where the adventures of Jamie Fraser and Clare Randall might be expected to be less well-known - is just one of many strange incidents since he set off on a remarkable around the world quest. 

On the way he’s ticked off dozens of locations, unpacking his pipes to strike up a tune from the shadow of the Eiffel Tower to the Taj Mahal.

He’s played on board trains, rickshaws, canoes and hot-air balloons, to curious crowds gathered in front of Cambodia’s spectacular Angkor Wat temple and overlooking glorious lush green rolling landscape in Azerbaijan. 

There have been many requests for tunes along the way, but the Bhutan princess’s plea for the Outlander theme tune left him momentarily scratching his head. 

“It took a moment for me to realise that the Outlander theme is actually the Skye Boat Song,” recalls the 29-year-old. “So, there I was, playing ‘the Outlander theme’ for this Bhutan princess who was so chuffed.”

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Ross packed his pipes, Baird tartan kilt and a family heirloom sporran around five years ago intent on becoming first piper to play in all of the world’s 195 UN-recognised countries.

“I had just graduated from Edinburgh University in Economics and Chinese, and couldn’t face a job sitting in an office,” he explains. 

“I was supposed to be going to work for Louis Vuitton in China, but sitting behind a desk and doing the same thing every day didn’t appeal to me, no matter where in the world I might be.”

Since heading off there have been occasional tricky run-ins, most memorably with Vatican police who initially did not take kindly to the pipes, with airport baggage handlers unsure of what to make of the strange instrument and an Amsterdam local who threatened to call police if he didn’t stop playing. 

But mostly, he says, the combination of bagpipes and kilt have brought him closer than he might ever have imagined to the different cultures he’s encountered on the way. 

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It’s turned out, despite their ‘love them or hate them’ image, there is an almost universal appreciation of the bagpipes. 

“The bagpipes are an instrument that’s full of ‘wow’ factor because they’re so blooming loud,” he explains. “That combined with the kilt makes it a conspicuous spectacle, and people do tend to come and see what’s happening.”

The pipes certainly attracted attention at the Vatican City in Rome.

“It was during my first few months of travelling,” he recalls. “I set up my tripod to record myself playing, naively not realising how noisy it was going to be. 

“I piped the most beautiful 12 seconds before I had a load of police officers screaming at me in Italian. They grabbed me and chucked me out. 

“Once I explained what I was doing, they were actually cool about it – I even ended up with one of them posing with me for a picture.”

He’s gone on to perform on sand dunes in Namibia and entertained locals and tourists by the beaches of Cape Maclear in Malawi where village children twirled to the sound of Scottish reels and a local tailor created a bagpipe bag cover from chitenje, Malawaian wax print cloth. 

From the Middle East to the Caribbean he’s discovered the pipes have an almost unique way of bringing people together and even defusing potentially difficult situations. 

“In Tunisia I was stopped by police who seemed to be trying to bribe me,” he says. “They were riffling through the car, bringing out my bags, throwing things on the ground.

“They got to my bagpipes. Suddenly the mood changed, and they were smiling and saying ‘Oh! Scotland!’.

“I nodded and in a mix of Tunisian, Arabic and French they told me to go and play.” 

Ross, who was raised in China, schooled in England and has a Scottish mother and Irish father, is now taking a few months off travelling for a new role – showcasing Scotland to foreign visitors. 

Then he’ll be back on his travels again, with a hope to take in the remaining 90 or so countries on his list. 

“The aim is to go to every country in the world,” he adds.