Where is it?

The Isle of Lismore, or Lios Mor - “Great Garden” in Gaelic - on Loch Linnhe in the Inner Hebrides. You can go from Oban or get the foot ferry from Port Appin.

Why do you go there?

I feel a connection with the island because I was born in Lismore, Australia, a town named by a Scotsman who’d honeymooned on Lios Mor before settling on the other side of the world.

A river runs through Lismore and its banks are steep and green. I can imagine it might make you think of Scotland if you were far from home. I go to the island of Lismore to walk, to swim, to watch birds and to look at wildflowers.

It’s a limestone island and so it is very fertile. In the spring there are early purple orchids, marsh marigolds, primroses, and cuckooflower. Wheatears nest on the ground.

If I feel like easy walking, then I stick to the road from where I can see the medieval St Moluag’s Cathedral, or the beautiful village of Port Ramsay.

But I can veer off onto rougher tracks and visit the old lime kilns and ruins at Salen, or Castle Coeffin, or Tirfuir Broch. Apparently, there’s a sinkhole too. I’ve not found it yet.

How often do you go?

Not as often as I’d like - it takes a bit of coordinating to get away in a group.

How did you discover it?

My friend Rose took me. She knew I was born in Lismore and thought I might like it. We got the passenger ferry. The island taxi picked us up and dropped us at the house we’d rented, a converted smithy. The local shop left our groceries on the table.

The weather was incredible - blue skies, clear air. Rose taught me the names of the flowers. We saw so many birds. I was hooked.

What’s your favourite memory?

I have two. Once we saw a great northern diver in its summer plumage. We watched it bobbing on the waves with binoculars. That same visit we dunked in Kilcheran Loch. It was my first swim in cold water in Scotland. I haven’t stopped since.

Who do you take?

Usually, I go with my girlfriends. But recently I took my husband and youngest son. It was my first winter visit. We swam in the sea every day.

What do you take?

Bottled water. The local shop is well stocked - the island’s water can taste a bit saline. Walking boots. My swimming costume. Books. Binoculars.

What do you leave behind?

Work, although I do take my writing - it’s so peaceful there.

Sum it up in five words.

Blue. Green. White. Bright gem.

What other travel spot is on your wish list?

I want to go back to Colonsay. I went in 2016 and loved it. I want to walk across the causeway to Oronsay and I want to eat the locally produced honey - it tastes like summer.

Guests by Cherise Saywell is shortlisted for the 2023 BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University and included, with the other shortlisted stories, in an anthology (Comma Press, £8.99), out now