STUART MACBRIDE, AUTHOR

Where is it?

Portsoy. A little town on the Moray coast, about an hour north of Aberdeen (but much closer to our house), with a stunningly picturesque harbour and a nice beach – if you're feeling brave and don't mind turning blue as is traditional on Scottish seaside holidays.

Why do you go there?

I get a huge amount of pleasure going to the Portsoy Ice Cream shop with my wife, Fiona, each getting a double scoop in a waffle cone, and then wandering down to Links Bay, around the coast to the harbour, and up the hill to the dolphin statue to see if we can catch a glimpse of the real thing.

If it's open, we'll probably have a potter around the Portsoy Marble shop as well. Doesn't matter how sunny, or cold, or windy, or rainy it is: excellent ice cream and a walk is always worth the effort.

HeraldScotland: Crime writer Stuart MacBride. Picture: ©Stuart MacBrideCrime writer Stuart MacBride. Picture: ©Stuart MacBride

How often do you go?

We try to get up there at least once a month, depending on deadlines. Our reckoning is that all the walking we do means our ice creams are basically calorie-free. If you get raspberry sauce, that's fruit, so it counts as one of your five a day.

How did you discover it?

I first went there with my family when I was a wee boy (back when it was socially acceptable to paint your living room orange and brown), probably taking the long way around to a caravan holiday in Lossiemouth.

What's your favourite memory?

It's either dragging friends up "Dolphin Hill" on a hot summer's afternoon, all of us sticky-fingered from melting ice cream, to watch a pod of six dolphins frolicking just off the coast, then heading off to Buckie for fish and chips – or it's simply every time we go up there.

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Who do you take?

I would say, 99.9% of the time it's just Fiona and me, having a wander and a chat, pointing at things, making each other laugh. And it's very important to make sure neither of us has got the same flavours of ice cream, so we can share and swap.

What do you take?

The car. It would be a hell of a long walk otherwise, and Fiona's only got little legs.

What do you leave behind?

Work. While I'm up there, it's just the two of us, the ice cream, the views, and the weather. Of course, the little men in my subconscious will be beavering away on the book as all this is going on, but they keep their opinions to themselves until I get home.

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Sum it up in a few words.

Beautiful, companionable, happy and Scottish.

What other travel spots are on your wish list?

I haven't been back to Mull or Skye for a long time, and I miss them. I also miss Edinburgh, Glasgow, Applecross, Inverness, Ullapool, Perth … The pandemic has really highlighted how much of Scotland I'm itching to get back to.

No Less The Devil by Stuart MacBride is published by Bantam Press on April 28, priced £20