Where is it?


Why do you go there?

It is a place I remember visiting as a kid. I am fortunate to have friends who live there and that has drawn me back throughout the years. I enjoy spending time on their farm and estate.

I love Ullapool. It is a lovely size and has everything you need. It is tranquil and there is nowhere better to escape to.

How often do you go?

I try to visit at least a couple of times a year. On May 27 it was 10 years since I was blown up [Chalmers was serving with the Royal Marines in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in 2011, when he suffered severe injuries to his face, chest, hands, legs and arms from an IED blast].

On the anniversary this year I went to Ullapool with my family. The weather was perfect. Either I just keep getting lucky when I visit – or it is paradise.

How did you discover it?

Throughout my life I have been lucky enough to travel the length and breadth of the country. When I was in the Marines, it took me all over world.

HeraldScotland: JJ Chalmers is presenting coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Picture: Nick Eagle/Gary Roylance/BBCJJ Chalmers is presenting coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Picture: Nick Eagle/Gary Roylance/BBC

My father was a minister [the Very Rev Dr John Chalmers, a former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland] and ended up going to different parishes around Scotland. I was dragged to every corner of the country. I enjoyed travelling and seeing it all.

Ullapool was one of the places that stuck with me. You can feel the tradition. The ferry always fascinated me. It is a proper postcard of a place.

What's your favourite memory?

Spending time with my family. Standing looking out at the loch. During the early days of the pandemic, places like London and Edinburgh felt ominous because cities aren't meant to be quiet. Whereas, when you go to Ullapool and it is quiet, it feels tranquil rather than ominous.

READ MORE: Why Ailsa Craig is a heart-soaring sight for generations of Scots

Who do you take?

As a teenager, I went to Ullapool with my best friends. In my university days, we would load up the car for a long weekend. These days I take my wife Kornelia and our children Hayley, four, and James, two.

What do you take?

Not too much. A packed lunch and a few toys for the car journey. The point is to escape. I want my kids to be able to see sheep, walk in the hills and get muddy, then dip their feet in the loch.

What do you leave behind?

My phone if possible.

READ MORE: There's gold in them thar hills: The rich history of Scotland's highest village 

Sum it up in five words.

As good as the postcard.

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

Tokyo. It is on my bucket list.

JJ Chalmers is part of the BBC Sport team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and will host coverage daily from midnight to 5am on BBC One until August 8. He will also present the action from the Paralympic Games on Channel 4/More 4 next month. Follow him on Instagram @JJChalmersRM