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  • Writer's pictureRosemary Gemmell

Inspiration by the Sea

Just had a wonderful couple of nights away at the Seamill Hydro on the beautiful west coast of Scotland, partly for husband’s big birthday celebrations. It was so lovely to be back in our native west coast, although this was a little further south than where we’re from. The weather was (incredibly) perfect and the hotel sits right on the coast. I couldn’t stop taking photos of the sea and shore in different lights.

The peaceful rose garden was almost right below our second-floor window. We had great views of the Isle of Arran and at times we could just see the distant misty volcanic plug known as the Ailsa Craig. I was eager to visit Portencross, a short drive along from the hotel and scarcely even a village, as I hadn’t been since a child. I’d forgotten about the little 14th century castle so that was a bonus, although it was closed that day.

We even managed to catch up with an elderly widower friend one day then other friends the next day in Largs, the coastal town we know well and have been to many times over the years. This was the first visit since we moved to central Scotland five and half years ago, so it was all the more delightful to be there again.

Of course, a visit to Largs means an excuse to revisit the famous Nardini’s. Although we avoided the various ice cream options, the fish meal and delightful dessert were ample compensation!

I couldn’t be that far south without visiting two independent bookshops recommended by my daughter. The first, Timberbooks, is in the little village of West Kilbride, a walk or short drive away from the hotel. This is a delight for book lovers, as the very friendly and knowledgeable bookseller has taken over a church hall and it contains a cornucopia of new books, second-hand, fiction for all ages, non-fiction and so on. They also have a good presence on for anyone who wants to order books direct to their home. It was great to see a good selection of books written by many of my author friends.

The other bookshop was entirely different and equally enjoyable for a browse and buy. Seahorse Bookshop is situated round from the harbour at Ardrossan (where the boats leave for Arran). Spacious and airy inside, it was ideal for a lovely browse through their selection of non-fiction and poetry for a change, while husband was happy to chat to the friendly owner. Other rooms, all on street-level, catered for fiction and children’s books and they too have a store on

To end our short break in style, on our drive back home we stopped at The Boat Yard in Lochwinnoch (formerly The Loch House) for one of the most delicious meals and to save cooking that evening! We packed so much into those few days that it felt like a whole week away. Being beside the sea in such comfortable accommodation was balm for the soul before the onset of winter and I'm sure it will provide lots of inspiration for my writing.

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