“WHERE THE BLOODY HELL AM I?!”

Those were the first words that escaped my lips as I fired up Skyrim for the first time in months. What with the recent release of ALL THE GAMES and that pesky little thing called life, my Skyrim adventures have kind of fallen behind of late. Now, with the release of the Dragonborn DLC and plenty left for me to do in the main game, I decided it was time that I strapped on my ill-fitting, stinky, leather codpiece and set sail for Tamriel.

The last time I played I was in Riften, so it was there that my day began. Unfortunately it was the middle of the night but as I still had to reacquaint myself with the controls, that didn’t seem such a chore. I fiddled with the buttons, reminding myself what was where. Soon I had unsheathed my weapon, set fire to a passing villager, smashed a guard’s face in with a mace and got arrested. I was back in business.

After paying a hefty fine, I set out on the road to adventure, having set my sights firmly on the Skyrim Standing Stones achievement. Scattered around Tamriel are 13 large standing stones, each of which bestow a blessing upon your character when activated. Once you’ve found a stone, you can fast travel to it. Before that, the only way to find them is by searching the very, very, very large world of Skyrim. I’m lost.

It’s not just the general and overwhelming not small-ness of it all, it’s the fact that every time I set foot outside one of the major cities, I get attacked by things. Take, for example, my most recent exploration…

T’was with a song in my heart and the sun at my back that I stepper o’er the threshold of Riften and out into the wastes of Tamriel. Verily, the day was as frosty as a Hagraven’s nethers but t’was no matter as I had high hopes for adventure, daring do and a bunk up with the comely maid at the Winking Skeever come nightfall. Sword in hand, I trudged on through the snow, climbed the mountains, waded through the rivers and skipped merrily through the meadows.

Having finished a light lunch of big slabs of meat, washed down with ale, I set forth once again on the road. In the distance, I could see a shimmering, ethereal light. Could this be it? The last of the thirteen stones for which I had searched so lo-BLOODY HELL IT’S AN ATRONACH! Singe, sizzle, fiery death.

Having been turned to Ye Olde Popcorn Chicken by the flaming brute, I respawned and made a second foray into the woods. This time it was bandits. Lots and lots of bandits. All manner of arrows  and axes went whizzing past my face. I wouldn’t have minded, if not for the other bunch that hit me in the face and indeed other much beloved parts of my body.

Dead once again, I awoke in the nearby town of Somewhere Or Other and  having re-provisioned, set off once more.

Three hours. Three bl…asted hours. I wandered up mountain, through valley, o’er hill and around in circles. I found big stones, fallen stones, wet stones, dry stones and at one point I thought I caught glimpse of Sharon Stone, but that turned out to be a bear. There’s only one surefire way to find those stones, Punters. Hours and hours of searching. Still, follow these five tips and…well, it’s worth a go.

1) Stock up before heading out into the wilderness. All the arrows you can carry, a buttload of healing potions and a soul gem or seventy.

2) Get equipped. Make sure you’re wearing your shiniest armour and carrying your pointiest pointy stick.

3) Keep an eye on your map. Try to work up and down in some sort of methodical order or you’ll end up more lost than Charlie Sheen’s hopes of a half decent comeback

4) Avoid fights! Your life is going to be MUCH simpler if you can skirt around the many bandit camps, Forsworn villages, dungeons and random Hagraven picnics that litter the countryside

5) Just don’t do it. Find the nearest tavern, have a flagon or two and give up.

Check out Jamie’s previous Achievement Punting escapades as he puts his sanity to the test each week by clicking here.

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