A sense of place

In our series of inspiring locations, we head north to Scotland with Helen MacKinven.

The Magic of Millport

Every May, I visit the Isle of Great Cumbrae on the west coast of Scotland.  It only takes 15 minutes in the ferry from Largs to reach the island but leaving the mainland behind creates a sense of escapism. And Millport, the island’s ‘capital’, has a nostalgic atmosphere of a time before package holidays abroad when many Scots took a trip ‘doon the watter’.

Digital StillCamera

I love Millport and I’m very lucky to have the use of a holiday flat overlooking Kames Bay to enjoy a relaxing weekend with my family and our two dogs. But in recent years, neither of my adult sons is lured by the plan to hire bikes to cycle round the island or go for walks on the beach. These days, it’s only me and my hubby who climb up to Farland Point for spectacular views across the Firth of Clyde and comb the shore for beach glass to add to my collection.

On my annual trip, I often stop to read the plaques on the memorial benches dotted all over the island. Being nosey is part of being a writer and I’m always intrigued by the dedications on the benches. Six years ago, the tributes to loved ones sparked an idea for a story about a mother whose child has died and how she visits her ‘Angel’s Bench’ to reflect on their time together.

One idea led to another and I wrote ‘The Angel’s Bench’ about the bittersweet quest of two very different women united by the same desire – they desperately want a baby. Since the first draft, the storyline has changed as well as the title, which is now Buy Buy Baby and will be published on 7thJuly by Cranachan Publishing.

Helen MacKinven

Helen MacKinven


3 thoughts on “A sense of place

  1. Oh that’s wonderful. I went on a Biology field trip there when I was twenty and had a HELLISH time trapped with 90 Biologists who acted like they were at secondary school (gossip, cutting people out of conversations and sitting at particular tables etc). Which was a shame because the island is beautiful & the one solace was going out with my mate on our bikes every night, driving to the centre & screaming at the top of our voices. The last night we had a barbecue on the beach that was so hideous the only way to get through it was to get very drunk, which led to an unpleasant journey back, but that’s another story…
    Your post makes me want to go back in more pleasant circumstances!


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