The west coast of Scotland has been celebrated time and again by artists and photographers wishing to capture the dramatic combination of sea, sky and mountain.

Each would probably name a particular area as their favourite, from the silver sands of Morar and Argyll’s rugged coast to far-flung Ardnamurchan.

The vivid colours of Iona were painted beautifully by Cadell and Peploe — two of the ‘Glasgow Boys’ — in the early part of the last century and their masterly work still inspires budding artists. Similarly, today’s artists, such as Pam Carter, John Lowrie Morrison and Frances Macdonald are admired for their own interpretation of the amazing landscape we have here in the west.

This summer, I had my first visit to Arisaig and was bowled over by the beautiful beaches and awe inspiring views towards the Small Isles. We celebrated a friend’s birthday by having a picnic at Camusdarach beach and dipped our toes in the sparklingly clean, but freezing, water.

So, it was with reluctance that we drove home on the Sunday and vowed to return despite the long journey — it’s about four hours via Fort William and Glenfinnan.

That was August, so fast forward four weeks to last Saturday . . . and I am back on another beach, just 20 minutes from home.

This time I was just south of Seamill where the coast sweeps away towards Ardrossan. I drive along this area most days going to and from the office, but have never taken time to stop and take a careful look at its features which vary from rocks and offshore reefs — including some amazing ‘glacial erratics’ — to wide expanses of sand. And, of course, there’s the view to Arran and, even farther to Ailsa Craig.

As I enjoyed the scenery, I began to think: ‘You know, this place could rival anywhere on the west coast. Who needs to drive long distances for coastal scenery when you have this on your doorstep?” Of course, I am aware that I will be preaching to the converted . . . to those who already know that this stretch of Ayrshire coast is among the best, not just in Scotland, but anywhere!

As an example, followers of the Facebook page ‘My View of the River Clyde’ are constantly thrilled by the stunning images taken along this very stretch by the many photographers keen to portray its beauty.

There is an old story about the man who travels far and wide in the world in search of the “bluebird”, signifying peace and happiness. He fails in his search but, when he returns home he finds the “bluebird” in his own back yard.

The truth is closer than you think.