GEORGE ANDERSON, BEECHGROVE PRESENTER

Where is it?

The village of Arisaig on the west coast of Scotland.

Why do you go there?

It is a delight to visit and holds many family memories. It was a frequent destination for the Anderson family in the late 1970s through to the early 1990s.

How often do you go?

Easter, summer and October holidays were all spent there in a wooden hut with no electricity or running water and where the diet we enjoyed was limited to what could be cooked on a two-ring, bottled gas cooker.

The hut was divided into two rooms. One housed the bunk beds in which the three children slept, while Mrs Anderson and I laid out foam mattresses on the floor of the kitchen/dining/main reception room and slept in front of the open fire.

How did you discover it?

Through the kind offices of a work colleague who, along with some other botanists and plant lovers, had become custodians of the long-abandoned nursery and woodland garden first created by J A Holms to house his expanding collection of newly discovered rhododendrons.

HeraldScotland: Beechgrove presenter George Anderson in his garden in Joppa, Edinburgh. Picture: BBC ScotlandBeechgrove presenter George Anderson in his garden in Joppa, Edinburgh. Picture: BBC Scotland

What's your favourite memory?

Our stays in the garden were magical and as payment for rental of the accommodation, one did some "gardening".

This could vary from cutting up fallen timber for firewood, digging and clearing ditches to improve the drainage of certain areas and, most enjoyable of all, building massive bonfires and planting out new plants.

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Time off was spent exploring the local area, with many hours on the beaches where the object was to see who could collect the first and most Trivia, also known as "groatie buckies" – small cowrie shells. Collections of between 30 and 40 per day were often recorded.

What do you take?

Our own linen and bedding, lots of tinned delights, dried pasta and potatoes from the allotment to be baked in front of the log fire. The store and baker in the village offered many delights too.

Outings were made to Mallaig, often to coincide with when the fishing boats unloaded their catch. If the boys were quick enough, they could rescue some spilled fish before the local gulls cleaned them up.

These would be taken back to the hut, cleaned, smeared in butter, wrapped in foil and cooked in front of the log fire. Magic.

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What do you leave behind?

Nothing but footprints, laughter, newly planted areas and happy memories of pleasant family times.

Sum it up in a few words.

A magical, wild, semi-cultivated garden carved from the wild.

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

When time and the pandemic permit, I would like to return to Orkney with its wildlife, huge sky, trout fishing opportunities, fabulous archaeology and friendly folks. It is a gentle, tranquil place, at least when the sun shines and the wind drops.

Beechgrove is on BBC Scotland, Thursdays, 8pm