iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Isle of Bute

Listen now 25 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Isle of Bute

25 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 06 September 2012

Helen Mark explores the landscape and waters of the Isle of Bute off the west coast of Scotland where, for over 200 years, visitors have gone 'doon the watter' to take advantage of the island's relaxing atmosphere and healing properties. Suggestions have been made that Bute should be designated as Britain's first 'blue space', an area defined by blue sea, sky and fresh air which all have a therapeutic effect. Boarding the ferry at Wemyss Bay, Helen joins Shiona Lawson, one of those whose family would take the ferry each year to go 'doon the watter'. Shiona recalls that back then the beaches seemed to go on forever and the sun seemed to be always shining and remembers an island that had such an effect on her that she eventually moved to live there. At the harbour to meet Helen is James McMillan. James is a 'Brandane', someone who was born and bred on the island.

Helen then meets up with Roddy McDowell who runs Kayak Bute and who takes Helen out on the waters around the island and gives her a lesson in sea kayaking , an experience which Roddy describes as crossing the boundary between the green space and the blue. Helen then hears from archaeologist, Paul Duffy, about the rich heritage of Bute. Walking from the car park at Scalpsie Beach to the seashore, Paul takes Helen on a journey through 8000 years of history in 8 minutes. Finally, wildlife photographer Philip Kirkham gives Helen a lesson in photography on the shoreline in front of his house under the big skies of the island he loves.

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.


Free download

  1. Image for Coast and Country

    Coast and Country

    Countryside magazine featuring people, walks and wildlife from rural Britain. Clare Balding’s…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss