Helen Fitzgerald, author

Where is it?

Troon, Ayrshire.

Why do you go there?

Troon has all the ingredients for my perfect day out: there’s a train ride with a view (40 minutes from Glasgow), there’s my little sister, Ria, and her gorgeous dogs Nellie and Nina.

There’s a beautiful beach I feel no pressure to swim at (that’s Ria’s line), great cafes and restaurants, friendly shops and incredible sunsets over the water.

We grew up in a town of the same size in inland Victoria, Australia, and feel at home watching bands in the town hall and saying hello to everyone in the street.

How often do you go?

We have a “girl date” at least once a fortnight. We’re not alone - the cafes and gift shops are filled with groups of women on a day out. It’s such a relaxing town for dog-walking, eating ice-cream and cakes, and chilling with your mates.

How did you discover it?

My sister was looking for a flat in a town near Glasgow. On a whim, we made our way to Troon on a dark, wet winter’s day. We fell in love with the place, despite seeing nothing but the flat, and she made an offer straight away.

It was when we got home that we realised the beach was one block from the property and that the whole area was absolutely stunning.

What’s your favourite memory?

I have so many: Ria and the pups waiting for me on the platform; Rhona from next door joining us for a DJ and dance session in the kitchen; walking along the links with bunny rabbits and puppy dogs.

Eating seafood overlooking the marina at Scotts Bar & Restaurant, having a drink at The Fox, and sitting in the jacuzzi at the Marine Hotel.

What do you take?

A large empty backpack to fill with the clothes my sister has found for me at the incredible local charity shops. Everything I wear comes second-hand from the ladies of South Ayrshire.

The Herald: Helen Fitzgerald, authorHelen Fitzgerald, author (Image: free)

What do you leave behind?

A happy sister and a plan for next time.

Sum it up in five words.

Doggy-heaven. Unpretentious. Pretty. Relaxing. Fun.

What other travel spot is on your wish list?

I’m off to Padua, Italy, to visit my daughter this week. It’s nice and all, but I prefer a weekend in Argyll. It’s the perfect trip from Glasgow: Loch Lomond, over the Rest and be Thankful to Inveraray, lunch at the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, then on to Oban for a weekend of food and ferries. Unbeatable.

For Easter, I couldn’t find any accommodation in Argyll, so we’re off to Perthshire, another favourite destination, where we’ll do a few walks, such as the Birks of Aberfeldy, and eat out at some of the brilliant restaurants in the area.

Halfway House by Helen FitzGerald (Orenda Books, £9.99) is out now. The author will be at Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival in September