JAMES OSWALD, AUTHOR

Where is it?

Balnakeil Bay and Faraid Head, near Durness, Sutherland.

Why do you go there?

Because it's about as far away as you can get without falling off the edge.

How often do you go?

Not nearly often enough. The last time I was there must have been 2007. That was also the last extended family holiday before my parents died in 2008. Growing up, I'd go there every year – it was the highlight of our annual summer holiday.

How did you discover it?

My distant relatives farmed the land, and my father used to go there as a boy. Despite growing up on a farm in Easter Ross himself, he ended up for a time working in the City of London, and I grew up in North Essex.

HeraldScotland: Author James Oswald. Picture: David CruickshanksAuthor James Oswald. Picture: David Cruickshanks

Our family summer holiday revolved around his love of shooting and fishing in Sutherland, so most of the time my brothers and I would be left to entertain ourselves. There was always a trip to Balnakeil at some point during the holiday, though.

What's your favourite memory?

There are so many. Clambering over the rocks, swimming in the crystal-clear water, cheese and ham baps with hot English mustard and not a little fine sand.

We usually managed a trip to the craft village at Durness too, and I have fond memories of eating too much tablet and fudge.

Who do you take?

I don't have children to pass on the family tradition to. It would just be me, my partner and sundry dogs.

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What do you take?

Now, I'd take stout walking boots so I could make the trip out to the rocky point of Faraid Head, my good camera and some binoculars to look at the puffins and other seabirds. Back then it was swimming trunks and a bucket and spade.

I would drive in my 1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto, and probably take the road from Lairg that goes to Altnaharra and on up past Hope to get there, rather than sticking to the North Coast 500 route.

Having not been that way for so long, I suspect I'd be disappointed to find it busy rather than the empty wilderness of my childhood memories.

What do you leave behind?

Only footprints in the sand to be washed away on the next tide.

Sum it up in five words.

The end of the world.

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

I don't get to do much travelling, on account of having a fold of Highland cattle requiring my attention seven days a week. Perhaps a return to the South Island of New Zealand is on the cards once travel is possible.

What Will Burn by James Oswald is published by Wildfire, priced £16.99