Calgary Beach, Isle of Mull. This beautiful beach is on Mull’s Atlantic coast and is my favourite place on earth. It is a go-to spot for most Mull families and tourists alike. It has extra significance for me because I was also married there.

My wife is a New Yorker so it was special to look out on the expanse between our two continents and, that day, briefly the ocean seemed to have shrunk. When back home I love standing looking out from the sands to the almost symmetrical headlands and how all sense of time, fashions and fads are stripped away. It has inspired me creatively too, in a song Calgary Bay for which I recorded the waves.

The National:


There’s a song on my MHS retrospective called Ugly Buildings Are Beautiful, so be warned... I’d have to plump for the Clydesdale Bank in Tobermory. It has an otherworldly look, topped off by Disney-esque turrets. Like a (very) mini Inveraray Castle. My poet grandfather, Angus Macintyre, was the Bard of Mull and also the island’s bank manager.

He and my grandmother, Betty, lived in the flat above the bank for 45 years. Often locals and visitors alike would leave the bank flat in the early hours with a dram or two in them, a poem stuffed in their pocket and an overdraft to boot!


Tobermory Main Street (sorry!). I now see it as one of the most picturesque in Scotland, but growing up it was just home. We didn’t know any different. Seafronts without coloured houses just seem dull by comparison. Crabbing is our favourite thing to do there and if you stand by the railings on the seafront at the end of a sunny afternoon, when the ‘bustle’ has died down and the fishermen are coming in, a certain kind of unique light always emerges, it is paradise.


I can still recall performing my first gig with TRAX, my covers band with family and friends. We were supporting my uncles’ band, The Wave Band, in the town’s Aros Hall.

I nervously strummed the opening chords of The Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go and I had never felt a buzz charging through me like it — and not all the audience were my cousins. I was playing my new (well, second hand) 1978 Fender Telecaster, which just weeks before had been waded ashore to Mull by my dad, the late BBC Political & Industrial Correspondent, Kenny Macintyre, who had missed the last CalMac ferry on his weekly commute home.

My uncle had had to boat it over to the Morvern mainland to pick him up, but due to low tide they couldn’t dock back on Mull. My dad was suited, holding the guitar aloft above the waves as though he’d just won Wimbledon. A secret though: I wasn’t actually there to see any of this, I just imagined it.

The National:


There is a walk in Taynuilt, Argyll, where one side of my family originates, through fields and woodland from Bonawe to the Inverawe Smokehouse. At one point you cross a stream via a rickety footbridge and you might as well be in The River Runs Through It film.


Further down the road: the Duncan ban Macintyre Monument at Dalmally. It was built in tribute to the famous Scottish Warrior Poet and has the most stunning uninterrupted panoramic views. Despite the name connection, I was actually informed of this special place by my wife. It hasn’t stopped me claiming heritage, despite my absence
of a working shield.

You really feel alive up there, and small in comparison. The scale is stunning.


The sweet shop of our childhood in Tob was Margaret’s. It was everything you might expect of a Hebridean, female, Willy Wonka. A sweet lady herself who looked like the Queen. A fave current shop? Anywhere that provides books, records and cake, so I’ll go for a trip to the city to Aye-Aye Books in Glasgow’s CCA.


Chicken Tikka Masala...


While in the city I’d make time to visit Glasgow’s Mugdock Reservoir. It’s a special place to find a bit of solitude in the city. My dad used to run there and I feel him close. So it is good alone time, but not quite alone. The best kind.

Mull Historical Society release ‘Archaeology: Complete Recordings 2000-2004’on 24 February (Demon Records). At Celtic Connections: 21st Anniversary ‘Loss’ & ‘Us’, Friday February 3, 2023, Saint Lukes, Glasgow.