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’.
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.