FIONA VALPY, AUTHOR

Where is it?

Sanna Bay, a white sand beach on the north side of the Ardnamurchan peninsula. The machair is cropped short by sheep in the winter, but in spring the grasses are interwoven with wildflowers and bog cotton. The clear blue of the sea and the views to the islands of Skye, Rum and Eigg are sublime.

Why do you go there?

Ardnamurchan has been a favourite place of mine for more than 30 years. Visiting there is always a balm for the soul. When my two sons were wee, holidays on the peninsula were the best fun. They’re in their thirties now and it’s still a favourite place for us.

How often do you go?

In a normal year I’d try and go at least a couple of times. With travel so restricted, I’ve not been able to get there for a while, but I have a trip planned this winter and I’m longing to be back.

HeraldScotland: Author Fiona ValpyAuthor Fiona Valpy

How did you discover it?

My mother had enjoyed family holidays on Ardnamurchan when she was young and first took me there. We went at Easter and the sun shone every day. My first sight of the beach at Sanna was reminiscent of the Caribbean, with its turquoise water and white sand.

I’ve been back in all weathers since (including one memorable day when it rained so hard that the pan of sausages we were attempting to cook filled with water and we had to admit defeat). Wild or calm, though, it’s always beautiful.

What’s your favourite memory?

My sons, James and Alastair, aged about four and two, making sandcastles on the beach. They’d spend blissful hours paddling and digging moats then watch as the tide came in and swept it all away.

READ MORE: Paralympic gold medallist Libby Clegg on travel adventures and her favourite place in Scotland

Who do you take?

My friends Karen and Michael Macgregor, who live on Ardnamurchan. Michael is an acclaimed photographer, and many people will know his stunning pictures of the area from postcards and prints.

Karen is a talented artist, so being with them helps you see the landscape through different eyes. Time spent in their company is always a joy.

What do you take?

My swimming costume. I love wild swimming. For afterwards, I’ll bring my dry coat and a picnic. Hopefully with some of Karen’s homemade sausage rolls which are the most delicious things. And lashings of ginger beer in true Famous Five style.

READ MORE: Author Denise Mina on the magical world within her favourite Glasgow park

Sum it up in five words.

Wild. Windswept. Wondrous. Luminous. Joyous.

What other travel spots are on your wish list?

My attempts to go on a research trip to Morocco when I was writing The Storyteller of Casablanca were all thwarted by the pandemic. It still feels like unfinished business, so it’s high on my list.

The Storyteller of Casablanca by Fiona Valpy is published by Lake Union, out now, £8.99