Scotland was named number two on the Rough Guide's list of the top 10 countries to visit in 2017. Here, Jack Wood speaks to some well-known faces about their favourite spots
Martin Wishart, Chef
My favourite place is Tiree, where I like surfing and windsurfing. It’s ideal because whatever way the wind is blowing there will be a beach at pretty much a perfect angle. The best time is October because that’s when the winds are at their strongest while the water is still relatively warm and you get a decent amount of daylight.
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It’s far away enough to escape from everything but it’s not a million miles away either. Its remoteness is its beauty – you feel a real sense of freedom. The beaches are absolutely spectacular, they’re so open and deserted.
My first visit was in 1987. Among my most cherished memories are barbecues and campfires on the beach, really roughing it and enjoying the outdoors.
I’ve stayed in quite a few places there. I’ve camped, stayed in caravans and in little cottages. I’m there every year so I like to get to different parts of the island, see the whole place and have a different experience. I prefer not to stay anywhere luxurious – I don’t need the TV or central heating or anything like that. I like to feel like I’m out in the wilderness.
Craig Hill, Comedian
I like to go to the Hermitage near Dunkeld. It’s where I go when I want to see snow. I enjoy a walk there to take a break from city life. It’s a Christmas postcard, like a stereotypical picture of Scotland.
I went there with friends from Australia who were amazed, they were literally chasing the snow. It’s nice to go with people who aren’t from Scotland. You get to show them around and you realise what you have on your doorstep.
With my work doing stand-up I travel all over Scotland, and one of my favourite journeys is the train to Inverness. It’s almost worth going there for the train journey alone. I’m awestruck at the incredible scenery. When I host the Hogmanay celebrations there, my favourite part is the journey. It's three hours with the most fabulous views.
A problem with doing comedy is that a weekend away is a luxury, because I’m almost always working, so my list is full of things I’d love to do but have never got round to. I enjoy mountain biking so if I had a free weekend I’d love to go to 7stanes in Dalbeattie. I’ve heard it described as a mountain biking mecca and I’d love to visit Loch Linnhe and the eco pods.
Craig Hill is appearing at Oran Mor, Glasgow, on March 10 and March 11.
Kenneth MacDonald, BBC Scotland special correspondent
My favourite place in Scotland? I would have to say Orkney, the archipelago with everything. It's a wonderful place for a walk – flowers, bird life, waves crashing spectacularly at the foot of even more spectacular cliffs. You can take in history and art at Skara Brae, the Tomb of the Eagles, St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall or the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness.
There is nowhere else like it. Topographically, historically and culturally the islands are distinctively themselves. Kirkwall's cathedral was old long before Orkney became part of Scotland and there is a feeling of connectedness all the way to Neolithic times. The Churchill Barriers mean you can drive from the main island to most of the southern islands, and inter-island ferries take you almost everywhere else.
The local cuisine is exceptional. I highly recommend dinner at the Foveran in St Ola – seaweed-fed North Ronaldsay mutton, Grimbister farm cheese, locally caught scallops. Orkney is also host to two excellent breweries and a brace of equally outstanding distilleries.
I first visited in July 1975, straight out of school in Paisley for the long haul up the A9 to Scrabster. We sailed into Stromness on the edge of Scapa Flow and stayed in a farm cottage not far from Skara Brae. I know other splendid Scottish island groups are available but I was smitten young.
From many competing memories I'd pick a late-autumn afternoon looking into the depths of the Gloup, a collapsed sea cave and stone arch on the Deerness peninsula. Its microclimate meant a few summer flowers were still optimistically hanging on to its ledges while the fields around were getting ready for winter. A solitary stay-behind swallow was swooping back and forth harvesting the last flying insects. Not much else happened for an hour or so. That's why it was great.
Helen McClory, Author
In September 2009, my American fiance and I travelled to Morar, a few miles south of Mallaig, to get married. Morar is famous for its silver sands; a series of lovely white-sand beaches that curve along the coast. Before making wedding plans, I’d never heard of it – despite growing up across the water on Skye. The train ride from Glasgow and Fort William is absurdly beautiful and appears in lists of the best railway journeys in the world.
There are other superlatives: the church where we were married is set on the shores of Loch Morar, the deepest loch, replete with its own monster legend. It empties into the shortest river. It seems the kind of place found in quaint television shows.
Its chief attraction is found in walking about, especially if, like us, you do not have consistent access to a car. I have a fond memory of making the trip from our rental house at the beach to Morar’s unexpectedly good Thai restaurant, Sunset Morar, and meandering back the mile or so with delicious-smelling steam pluming from the carrier bag, as an equally unexpected sun shimmered on the river and the white-fringed Atlantic.
Shirley Spear, Chef
As a child, family days out revolved around favourite spots in the Borders, in particular Talla Linns, high above the reservoir, near Tweedsmuir. We were very lucky to have a car in the 1950s and trips into the hills usually involved picnics, paddling in rivers and sometimes a swim. Racing each other in climbing to the top of the nearest hill, where we would sit on the rocks and watch the tumbling water in the burn.
Returning to these favourite beauty spots has always been important to me. I was always determined to take my children to experience the delights of these hideaway places. Driving up the singletrack road to Talla Linns takes me back to my childhood. I can’t wait to get out and make my way to the steep water’s edge, where the amber-coloured water splashes and tumbles over the rocks as it twists and turns all the way downhill to the reservoir far below. The reservoir looks so perfect, cupped naturally between the soft, sloping hillsides. The sound of the rushing burn is intoxicating. I could listen to it for hours, sitting mesmerised among the coarse grasses and wild flowers, my back against a rock, far from the madding crowds. There is a very old, stone farmstead at the foot of the hill beside the reservoir, which keeps me focused on the harsher reality of a Border hill farmer’s life.
Davy Zyw, Wine buyer
I’m a keen snowboarder and have been all over Scotland; from Castle Rock in Edinburgh to the Cairngorms. I'm a huge fan of the terrain at Glenshee, but the most spectacular must be the back corries at the Nevis Range. The terrain is challenging and you must have the right conditions, but when the snow and weather come together it is incredible. The amazing views over Ben Nevis are a bonus.
Scotland has some of the most beautiful and demanding mountains in the world. What we don't have is consistency of conditions, which means when they are right, it makes it all the more special. If you grow up skiing or snowboarding in Scotland, with the rocks, the wind and the ice, you can do it anywhere.
I've had days snowboarding here which would rival the best spots in the world. A lot of people are surprised when they hear the amount of snow we have each year. In the 2015 season we had more snow than a lot of the Alps – you could snowboard in the Cairngorms well into May in a T-shirt.
Snowboarding in Scotland is still relatively unknown. A lot of my English friends and colleagues don't even know we have five resorts. There has been a lot of investment over the past few years so the lift system and infrastructure has never been better. Skiing and snowboarding can be expensive, especially if you have to go to the Alps. We have some amazing riding an hour and a half from either Glasgow or Edinburgh. Let's make the most of it.
Judith Ralston, weather presenter
I love heading to East Lothian. People talk about beaches on the west coast, which are lovely, but the east remains something of a home for me. My mother’s family are from out there, so I’ve been visiting since I was a child. We would go and visit my grandparents on the bus, and I remember getting so excited catching glimpses of the sea. When we got over the hill the view just opened up and you could see right along the beach and it made for a gorgeous view.
I loved swimming in the sea when I was a child. I remember feeling the salt in my hair and being so excited at the fact I was in the sea. I must’ve been freezing.
I really enjoy visiting the likes of Dunbar, Belhaven and East Linton. The beaches are so beautiful and expansive – they go on for miles, completely unspoiled. Belhaven beach in particular is a favourite of mine. It looks right out onto the Forth, you can see Bass Rock, along with North Berwick Law. I go through there a lot with the kids, there’s so much to do. We go for fish and chips and ice-cream, and there’s lots of little rock pools on the beaches that they can play in.
Where are your favourite spots in Scotland? Write to The Editor, The Herald, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow, G2 3QB or email firstname.lastname@example.org