IN the first of a new series, we ask well-known Scots about their favourite places to visit and what makes these locations so special.


Where is it?

Somewhere in the Scottish islands. It could be any of the following: Raasay, Harris, Islay, Lewis, Mull, Luing, Jura, Shetland, Orkney. I have been to so many wonderful places all over the islands. So, somewhere with a beach and a view … If I have to choose just one, let's say Raasay. The views over to the Cuillin on Skye are utterly magical.

Why do you go there?

To get away from it all and not to mind if there's no phone signal. And to marvel in the peace and quiet. Also, there is now a wonderful distillery on Raasay producing delicious gin while they wait for the whisky to be ready … What's not to like?

How often do you go?

I go to any of the Scottish islands as often as possible. All have their own charm and each lures me back with a visceral pull. The beauty, the splendour – and some of the best beaches in the world.

How did you discover them?

I often ask island friends for recommendations, so on Raasay I am lucky to have a friend whose family are from there. On Lewis and Harris, if you know Iain Macleod (of Charley Barley/Stornoway Black Pudding fame) you know everyone. I have Shetland friends who know the best houses to rent and beaches to visit.

What's your favourite memory of being there?

Relaxing. Perhaps not in the same way as a Mediterranean beach holiday (where sun is imperative). But definitely in a more chilled way. If the weather isn't great, it really doesn't matter as there are books to read, roaring fires and waterproofs for when you battle the elements.

READ MORE: How one woman's Hebridean odyssey helped her heal after mother's death

Who do you take?

The family, preferably the small grandchildren, who already know the joys of island holidays on Islay, where we stay in a fabulous house on the beach near Port Ellen. There's no better holiday for small children: come rain or shine, we are on the beach.

What do you take?

Gone are the days when you had to load up on everything from wine to fresh vegetables and salad before you went to the islands. Nowadays you can buy most things in situ – and buying local is a joy, from amazing seafood, vegetables, salad leaves and herbs, to superb game, beef and lamb.

What do you leave behind?


Sum it up in five words.

Peaceful. Haunting. Welcoming. Idyllic. Scottish.

What travel spot is on your post-lockdown wish list?

Near to home, the Monach Islands (uninhabited since the 1930s, like St Kilda), where I set my latest novel, The Unreliable Death of Lady Grange. I first heard about these islands from Hebridean lobster fishermen who fish there.

READ MORE: How one woman's Hebridean odyssey helped her heal after mother's death

Further afield, the north coast of Colombia and the beaches of Uruguay. I absolutely adore South America. But these might have to wait.

The Unreliable Death of Lady Grange by Sue Lawrence is published by Contraband, priced £8.99

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