Allison Gardner, director of Glasgow Film Festival

Where is it?

Colonsay, Inner Hebrides.

Why do you go there?

My best friend Alison has a house there. Alison and I met through playing hockey at school in Glenrothes. We were 13 then and are now 61.

How often do you go?

Not as often as I would like. We used to go a lot more when our respective children were younger, taking a week or 10 days off in the summer. I haven’t been for a while because I have been working so hard. I would like to go more. It is a truly beautiful place.

How did you discover it?

Alison and her husband David have been going to Colonsay for a long time. They both fell in love with it. Then, when Alison got her house there, I started going over as well. My daughters have also been to stay separately now that they are grown-ups. They love it too.

What’s your favourite memory?

Summer on Colonsay. The water is like the Caribbean. It is so beautiful. We used to go jump off the pier. You can’t do that now, CalMac won’t let you. But, in those days, things were a bit more fast and loose with health and safety.

The kids would spend a whole day jumping off the pier. They would say, ‘Come on mum, jump off …’ and I’d think, ‘Oh God, I’m about to jump right onto a basking shark, I just know it …’ because the water is deep and dark there. But I did it and it was so much fun.

The Herald: Allison GardnerAllison Gardner (Image: free)

There was a ceilidh on the Friday and Saturday night. The kids also took part in the island regatta. It is such a friendly place. There is only one of everything - a shop, a bar, a road - so you don’t need to make any choices. I love that.

Alison’s husband David would go out in his boat and catch lobsters. And when the tide is low you can walk to the other wee island, Oronsay, which is a bird sanctuary. It is a magical place.

Who do you take?

Family and friends.

What do you take?

Cheese and wine.

What do you leave behind?

Making choices and work.

Sum it up in five words.

Absolutely bursting with nature’s majesty.

What other travel spots are on your wish list?

I would love to go to Bali. Or Tahiti. When I was 14, I read The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham, which is about the painter Gauguin, who went off to live in Tahiti.

I have always wanted to go to Tahiti. So, for my 60th birthday my husband Tom started a fund, and we are saving to do a trip. We won’t get to Tahiti, it’s far too expensive, but I would like to visit an exotic island because I have never done anything like that before.

The 20th anniversary edition of the Glasgow Film Festival runs from February 28 until March 10. To see the full programme and book tickets, visit