DES CLARKE, COMEDIAN AND PRESENTER

Where is it?

Loch Lomond.

Why do you go there?

As a kid from Glasgow, visiting Loch Lomond was the ultimate day trip. The four of us – my mum, dad, sister and me – would all go. Hearing that phrase "we are going for a run in the car ...", the excitement would start to build.

It seemed like another world. I was brought up in a council estate in the Gorbals, which I loved, but it felt like in 20 minutes you went from Taggart to Monarch of the Glen. The air was different. It looked beautiful. You could see animals that were bigger than you, like horses and cows.

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Once you get out into the countryside, things aren't just big, they are vast, and you feel like this tiny wee dot. I love the rolling hills and the stillness of the loch. Every photograph you take of Loch Lomond looks like a postcard. 

How did you discover it?

I have my mum and dad to thank for introducing me to it. I remember watching jet skis and speedboats out on the water. I thought this was maybe where all the winners from Bullseye went.

What's your favourite memory?

Walking about Luss, the smell of chips and going for a paddle. Then, later that night, the smell of calamine lotion for the sunburn on my back. That feeling of being tired yet satisfied.

I was born in the 1980s so whenever I went to Luss, I genuinely thought I was in Take The High Road because that is where they filmed it.

HeraldScotland: The village of Luss. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/GettyThe village of Luss. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

I would always be disappointed going into the shop and it wasn't like the one that Isabel had on the telly.

When I was a kid I was scared of water and swimming pools, but at Loch Lomond I loved paddling about. I think it is the only place in the world I can swim.

A few years ago, I was filming for Sport Relief and they were teaching me to swim and helping me overcome my fear. There was no breakthrough until they took me to Loch Lomond. Going in there, it was like magic. The water at Loch Lomond has magic properties.

I love Ben Lomond too. It is hard to fancy a mountain, but I will give this one a go. Growing up, I always said I would climb it one day and it is still on my list. Then there is Conic Hill – Conic that is almost the word "iconic" right there.

I remember the Duck Bay Marina was fairly new in the 1980s. My family wouldn't go in there – we thought it was too posh. We would buy chips and walk round Luss. Or bring out the packed lunch.

Now, years later, I have popped into Duck Bay Marina frequently. It is welcoming, homely and the food is great. I had a sausage and steak pie that I still dream about.

HeraldScotland: Comedian and presenter Des Clarke. Picture: BBCComedian and presenter Des Clarke. Picture: BBC

Then there is The Drovers Inn. When I started in radio for Beat 106 that is where we had our Christmas party every year. Having the wind off the loch in your face is the best hangover cure after doing karaoke until 4am.

I only learned to drive when I was 37. That ties in with my BBC Scotland series Des Doesn't Do … about learning new skills later in life. One of the main reasons I learned to drive was so I could take a day trip to Loch Lomond by myself.

I wanted to be able to drive there, park up and have a picnic. Before, I had to rely on other people or public transport, so it became a bit of a motivation for me.

How often do you go?

Pre-pandemic, usually five or six times a year.

Who do you take?

My girlfriend. We did Conic Hill. You might think it is romantic, but when you are sweating and out of breath? I'm not so sure. It did bring us closer together because we were freezing at the top. It is a very different date.

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I don't have any kids, but I would love to be a dad and my dream is to take my kids to Loch Lomond like my parents did for me. Hopefully, they can have the same love and affinity for it that I do.

What do you take?

A picnic. A flask of soup, sandwiches, prawn cocktail Skips and tiny wee sausages.

What do you leave behind?

My phone – if I am brave enough. To have a day where you switch off from everything. 

Sum it up in five words.

Take The High Road Forever.

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

I fancy doing the North Coast 500. It is one of the best driving routes in the world and right on our doorstep. You try to look for every positive you can in this pandemic, and I think it has taught us that we can have some amazing holiday experiences right here in Scotland.

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When restrictions ease and we can travel again, that is on my list. The romantic in me would love to travel around in a campervan but I think after the second night I would miss being in a nice hotel room.

Des Clarke's new series Des Doesn't Do … is on BBC Scotland, Thursdays, at 8.30pm. Catch-up on episodes on BBC iPlayer