BBC ALBA programme travels to some of the best places to visit in Scotland
Updated: Mar 18
In this year of confinement and with all but essential foreign travel banned, the staycation is King.
A new eight-part series on BBC ALBA this month will provide some inspiration for where to go when the travel restrictions lift, as it explores some of the most beautiful places to visit in Scotland.
Mach à Seo!/Let’s Go! follows enthusiastic young presenter, Ramsay MacMahon, as he ventures far and wide across Scotland. Ramsay, who lives and works in Glasgow, is a firm believer in escaping the city at the weekend for adventures in the wild countryside and coastal areas.
With Scotland on his doorstep, Ramsay shows that you don’t have to go far or cross any borders to have an action-packed holiday. Scotland has it all - beaches, dramatic ancient castles, clifftop accommodation, breath-taking turquoise sea water and a never-ending list of adrenaline-filled outdoor activities such as cycling, canoeing, snorkelling…
Ramsay said: “This series is a joy to work on. For me Scotland is my oyster with its magnificent scenery and almost endless supply of hidden glens, white beaches and exciting adventures to be had.”
“I was an advocate of the staycation long before the confinement of 2020 and this series goes to prove that you often have everything you need right on your doorstep.”
“What I’ve craved more than ever this year has been wilderness and rugged open spaces by the sea so I particularly enjoyed the north west coast -Durness and Assynt with their towering sea cliffs and empty beaches.”
Ramsay visits Assynt in the south-west of Sutherland, Speyside, East Lothian, the Isle of Mull, Durness on Scotland’s north coast, Largs and the Isle of Cumbrae, Perthshire and the Trossachs and the Slate islands in Argyll to enjoy the beautiful landscapes, take part in exciting outdoor pursuits and learn more about the history and stories of people associated with some of the places.
Mach à Seo!/Let’s Go! which was produced by Caledonia TV for BBC ALBA, begins on Wednesday, March 17 at 10pm-10.30pm and is on every Wednesday at the same time until May 5. Each episode is also available on the BBC iPlayer for 30 days afterwards.
Synopsis of episodes
Episode One - 17/03/2021: Ramsay discovers a paradise of white sand beaches and rugged hills when he travels to Assynt, a sparsely populated area in the south-west of Sutherland. After a climb up Stac Pollaidh, he learns about the areas ancient rock formations and visits the smallest castle in Europe. He spends the night in self-catering accommodation at Stoer Lighthouse, north of Lochinver in Sutherland. Perched on the cliff tops of Assynt’s coast – it’s the perfect spot for stargazing. The next day Ramsay walks out to the incredible sea stack the Old Man of Stoer before strolling along the shores of Achmelvich Bay with its turquoise water and white sands.
Episode Two - 24/03/2021: Ramsay travels to Speyside in the north east of Scotland and crams in as many activities as he possibly can. He follows the river Spey from source to sea on foot, on a train, on a bike, in a canoe and he even sets up camp along its banks. He takes a trip on community run steam train in Aviemore to Broomhill station - the fictional Glenbogle railway station in the BBC's 'Monarch of the Glen' TV series. He takes on the whitewater rapids of the Spey, goes off road in a 4x4 to see how many distilleries he can see from the foothills of Ben Rinnes and eventually ends up at Spey Bay, the largest shingle beach in Scotland, and where this iconic river opens to the sea.
Episode Three - 31/03/2021: Ramsay heads to East Lothian to the birthplace of environmentalist John Muir. Travelling on his bike from Dunbar to North Berwick he learns about the landscapes that influenced Muir’s passion for conservation. He tries out wakeboarding on his way, takes a trip to the Bass rock to see the world’s largest colony of northern gannets and climbs Berwick Law.
Episode Four - 07/04/2021: This weekend Ramsay visits the Isle of Mull. After meeting the clan chief of the MacLean’s at Duart Castle. He carries on to the Ross of Mull for a spot of snorkelling and cooks some Mull lamb chops on the BBQ. The next day he heads for the deepest cave in the Hebrides, MacKinnon’s cave, which was also visited by Johnson and Boswell.
Episode Five - 14/04/2021: Ramsay heads to Durness in the north-west Highlands of Scotland to explore the caverns of Smoo cave, one of the largest sea caves in the country. He visits the striking tombola shingle of Ard Neackie with its disused lime kilns, eats artisan chocolates made in Durness on the vast Balnakeil beach and visits the beach-side resting place of Gaelic poet Rob Donn MacKay.
Episode Six - 21/04/2021: Ramsay travels to the seaside town of Largs. After learning about the Battle of Largs from a local Viking expert he ticks of a must-do in Largs - ice-cream on the promenade. Then he visits the ancient Kelburn Castle with its graffiti-covered walls painted by Brazilian street artists. Overnighting in a yurt he overlooks the Firth of Clyde and his destination for the final day of the holiday the island of Cumbrae. Ramsay cycles round this, Scotland’s most accessible island.
Episode Seven - 28/04/2021: This time Ramsay’s travels take him to Rob Roy MacGregor Country (Perthshire and the Trossachs) where he visits lochs and glens once roamed by the Scottish outlaw, who later became a folk hero for many. Ramsay learns about the legendary figure and visits his final resting place, wanders old drover roads and overnights in a loch-side cabin. He takes a 4x4 tour of Balquhidder Glen and also follows a series of art installations in the area to Loch Earn.
Episode Eight - 05/05/2021: Ramsay goes island hopping, visiting four of the Slate Islands in Argyll – Seil, Easdale, Belnahua and Luing. Locals on Luing tell Ramsay about the slate quarrying industry once so busy in these islands and he then visits the deserted island of Belnahua where machinery and houses from the industry still remain. He stays overnight in an old lifeboat, then learns about Luing’s very own breed of cattle from the family who founded the Luing breed on the island. Hopping on the five-minute ferry from Seil to Easdale he learns how the islanders have put the old slate quarries now filled with water to an ingenious new use. The island now hosts the World Stone Skimming Championships and Ramsay gets a master class on how to skim stones.
BBC ALBA is available on the following platforms:
Sky 141 (Scotland) / Sky 169 (rest of UK)
Freeview / You View 7 (Scotland only)
Virgin Media 120 (Scotland), Virgin Media 161 (rest of UK)
Check out the programme now online with BBC iPlayer