The village of Southend is, as the name suggests, located at the southern tip of the Kintyre peninsula, on Scotland’s west coast. Not far at all from the Mull made famous by Paul McCartney.
It was also one of the potential sites for Boris’s doomed bridge. Southend is the closest settlement on the UK mainland to Ireland; the coast of County Antrim a mere 12 miles away.
On a day when the summer sun shimmers, it’s easy to make out cars travelling along the coast road near Ballycastle.
Why do you go there?
So many reasons. It’s only 10 short miles to Campbeltown, where I grew up. My grandfather Cyril Pinkney drove the bus from Campbeltown to Southend, and maybe for that reason, it became a family favourite.
Whatever the case, it always seemed magical to me as a child. We would read the fabulous stories written by Southend legend Angus MacVicar at school. The late author used many local landmarks in his tales like The Black Wherry, a story of smugglers and derring-do set in the 18th century.
It was wonderful to spot locations from the books when sitting on the beach at Dunaverty. That memory, the history, the feeling never fades.
How often do you go?
In the days before Covid, we used to try and get down to Kintyre once or twice a year. It’s been a long time; but we aim to change that soon, and perhaps find a wee retreat from the world at Southend more permanently in the future.
How did you discover it?
A simple story. Every Sunday, like many children of my vintage, we used to be taken for a run in the family car. Southend was always our destination. Rain, hail or shine, all through the year, we took the trip.
What’s your favourite memory?
The family picnics in the late 1960s and early 1970s. My parents would pack the car with towels, beach blankets, sandwiches and flasks of diluting orange juice, then off we would go.
It was the place I learned to swim – snorkelling became a favourite. We’d also play football or rudimentary tennis (if Wimbledon was on the TV) and, of course, the traditional making of sandcastles and pottering about in rock pools.
Who do you take?
My wife Fiona always accompanies me on these trips. She loves Kintyre every bit as much as I do – especially Southend.
Sum it up in five words.
Beautiful, quiet, unspoilt, restful – home.
What travel spot is on your post-lockdown list?
From the sublime to the ridiculous: we’ll be heading off to New York as soon as we can. This will be a work visit. It’s hard to imagine a greater contrast than between Manhattan and Southend. But somehow, they both feel comfortably familiar.
Denzil Meyrick is the author of nine bestselling novels in his acclaimed DCI Daley series. His new book, Terms of Restitution, a stand-alone thriller set in Paisley’s criminal underworld, is out now, published by Polygon, priced £12.99