Very occasionally, people ask me why I chose to move to Scotland (generally) and why I chose to move to the rather remote end of Galloway (specifically). Well, a full discussion of the various personal, political, social, economic and other assorted reasons could take up a few pages and bore all but the most dedicated reader to tears I suspect. However, what it all boils down to in the end is that Glenda and I really wanted to live somewhere beautiful, close to the sea and on the west side of the country. And we like Scotland. We considered a few different places (Kintyre, further north into the Highlands and Islands, etc.) but finally, like Richard Hannay in The Thirty-Nine Steps, we “fixed on Galloway as the best place to go.”

Of course, there are sometimes challenges living in rural and remote areas, but we’re not really too far off the beaten track here compared to many other places. And, in return for being here, we get things like this…

This is West Tarbet bay. It’s maybe a mile or so from the very south-western tip of Scotland, where the Mull of Galloway lighthouse stands on the cliff-top, looking out over the Irish Sea. At this point, the land narrows, squeezed between East Tarbet bay on one side and West Tarbet bay on the other, the two almost cutting off the Mull of Galloway altogether. At high tide, an accomplished cricketer or baseball player with a good arm, standing on the road above the two bays, could probably throw balls into the Irish Sea to the west and Luce Bay to the east. It is a breathtakingly beautiful place and if I feel troubled or weary, I only need to go to West Tarbet – or any of the other amazing spots on the Galloway coastline – and live and breathe for a while in that magical space between the sea and the sky.