Where is it?


Why do you go there?

It feels special to be on the ferry going to a magical island. I have been going there since I was very young. In fact, the first time was as a baby. My parents both went separately as teenagers.

We have a long tradition of visiting Arran and I have gone there with my kids. We still go a lot. Even when it rains, the weather doesn't upset me that much.

How often do you go?

In non-pandemic times, three or four times a year. We are about to visit for the first time in a while – I can't wait to get on the CalMac ferry for a fried egg roll.

How did you discover it?

Through childhood visits. The first time I went we stayed in a little house on the Ormidale road. I stood up in my cot and picked all the wallpaper off the wall, which was horrifying for my parents.

What's your favourite memory?

I wrote my first novel [The Legacy Of Elizabeth Pringle] about Arran on Arran. I love the view out to Holy Isle and the view from Brodick up to Goatfell. Arran is very close to the mainland, but you can be there and feel as remote as being 100 miles away from anything.

It is such a great holiday destination and has changed over the years. One of the things I love is the new exuberant food scene. Places like Mara, The French Fox, The Shack, The Sandwich Station, The Drift Inn and the Auchrannie.

HeraldScotland: Kirsty Wark has been a regular visitor to Arran since childhood. Picture: Jamie Simpson/The HeraldKirsty Wark has been a regular visitor to Arran since childhood. Picture: Jamie Simpson/The Herald

You can get great food every day of the week. It feels like a real destination for food, whereas it didn't before. Years ago, we would have taken food and cooked.

Who do you take?

I go on my own, we go as a family. I go with my daughter, son and husband – we go in all different combinations. This next visit all four of us are going together.

What do you take?

My own gin which I make. I like to shop in the Co-op in Brodick and pick up what I need there.

What do you leave behind?

The stress of city life. You feel your shoulders go down and you move a bit more slowly. I also feel like I take in my surroundings much more clearly. I live in beautiful surroundings in Glasgow but there is something about being on Arran and having a view in every direction that is glorious. It is incredibly uplifting.

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Sum it up in a few words.

Glorious. Like home. Nature. Lifting your eyes. Friends.

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

Who knows? We would like to get a weekend in Cadiz in October and hope to go to Puerto Rico some time towards the end of the year. Fingers crossed.

Kirsty Wark presents Written In Scotland, a four-part series exploring the literary landscape, on BBC Radio 4, Thursdays, at 11.30am. All episodes will be available on BBC Sounds