Portsoy. A small town on the Moray coast, about an hour north of Aberdeen (but much closer to our house), with an incredibly picturesque harbor and a lovely beach – if you’re feeling brave and don’t mind to turn blue as is traditional Scottish seaside holidays.
Why are you going there?
I have a blast going to the ice cream shop in Portsoy with my wife, Fiona, each having a double scoop in a waffle cone, then strolling to Links Bay, along the coast to the harbor and up the hill to the dolphin statue to see if we can spot the real thing.
If it is open we will probably also have a potter around the Portsoy Marble shop. It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny, cold, windy or rainy: great ice cream and a walk are always worth it.
How often do you go there?
We try to go there at least once a month, depending on the time frame. Our math is that all the walking we do means our ice cream is basically calorie free. If you get raspberry sauce, it’s fruit, so it counts as one of your five a day.
How did you discover it?
I first went here with my family when I was a little boy (back when it was socially acceptable to paint your living room orange and brown), probably making the long way to a vacation in a caravan to Lossiemouth.
What is your favorite memory?
It’s either hanging out with friends on “Dolphin Hill” on a hot summer afternoon, all fingers sticky from melting ice, to watch a pod of six dolphins frolicking just off the coast. , then heading to Buckie for fish and chips – or it’s just every time we go up there.
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Who do you take?
I’d say 99.9% of the time it’s just Fiona and I, walking around and chatting, pointing fingers at things, making each other laugh. And it’s very important to make sure that none of us have the same flavors of ice cream, so that we can share and exchange.
What do you take?
The car. Otherwise it would be a long walk and Fiona only has short legs.
What are you leaving behind?
Work. While I’m up there, it’s just the two of us, the ice, the view, and the weather. Of course, the little men in my subconscious are going to be hounding the book while all this is going on, but they’re keeping their opinions to themselves until I get home.
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Sum it up in a few words.
Beautiful, sociable, happy and Scottish.
What other places to travel are on your wish list?
I haven’t been to Mull or Skye for a long time, and I miss them. I also miss Edinburgh, Glasgow, Applecross, Inverness, Ullapool, Perth… The pandemic has really highlighted how much I am itching to return to Scotland.
No Less The Devil by Stuart MacBride is published by Bantam Press on April 28, priced at £20