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The ultimate Scottish pub crawl: Maths team works out the shortest route between Scotland's bars

In what could be described as the ultimate Scottish pub crawl, a team of international mathematicians have mapped out the shortest possible route between most of the country's best pubs.  

As part of a larger project led by Professor William Cook from the University of Waterloo, Canada, the team plotted the shortest way to visit 25,000 of the UK's pubs, taking in Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and even the Isle of Man.


Taking two years to complete, the team say the 45,495km route is circular, meaning travellers can start at any point in the UK, with the average distance between each pub being an hour.


The route through Aberdeen. Picture:

Should you take up the challenge to do the whole UK tour, you would visit 24,727 pubs, selected from all of the listings on the Pubs Galore website

The part of the route that goes through Scotland runs from the Queen's Head in Gretna all the way to the Bells But & Ben in Shetland.


The route through Glasgow. Picture:

The route winds its way through all of Scotland's major cities and towns and the map reflects the major population centres around the country with the central belt being a sea of red pins and the north-west highlands being almost completely bare.


The route around Dundee. Picture:

The research, which is aimed at solving what mathematics describe as the 'travelling salesman problem', plots the shortest possible route between any number of locations before then returning to the starting point.

Cook explains that the UK pub problem was used “as a means for developing and testing general-purpose optimisation methods" and that the team had "not set out to improve the lot of a wandering pub aficionado.”

Cook and his team's successfully completed project is the largest of its kind and takes in more plot points than any previous attempts.

• You can see the full map and learn more about the project here

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