My Scotland – Phil MacHugh

In this month’s My Scotland, Phil MacHugh, television presenter and co-star of Martin Compston’s Scottish Fling, shares his favourite places in Scotland and all the memories attached.

Have you watched Martin Compston’s Scottish Fling? The travel show where actor Martin Compston embarks on an epic road trip with friend and TV presenter Phil MacHugh? The series follows the pair as they visit various spots around Scotland and explore what makes the country tick.

Phil MacHugh is the perfect person to chat to in our My Scotland series.

Here are some top travel tips from the television star.

South Uist & Barra, Outer Hebrides

As a child, when friends were packing their bags and off to Spain for their summer, Easter or Christmas holidays, I was actually punted up to South Uist and Barra. Looking back at it now, it is a dream, but then I was like ‘oh, are we going back to Barra?’. My grandmother and grandfather are from the Highlands, so all the cousins speak Gaelic. I am fluent. I remember spending time together up there, 18 of us all in the one house. We were left to our leisure, we would run around, jumping on tractors, and causing mischievous on the islands for weeks. My sister Yvonne moved her family back to South Uist, she’s a crofter, so I was back there at Christmas for the first time with a new wave of family, I loved it. I have decided I am going to transform a shipping container into a cabin and locate it there. I think it would idyllic.

My Scotland Phil MacHugh

Vatersay, Outer Hebrides

This is the most stunning tiny island, south of Barra, with the most picturesque beach I have ever seen. The sea is tropical blue all year round, and the sand is so, so white, you can swim in the sea and there’s no jelly fish…. but it’s Baltic! It reminds me of the Caribbean, in fact, some of the beaches there don’t add up to what we have in Vatersay. There’s a band called the Vatersay Boys and every time I hear one of their songs, it reminds me of that beach.

Stockbridge/New Town, Edinburgh

I have travelled a lot over the years, whether it be through work or personal travel, but Edinburgh is such a special unique place to live. I live in New Town, Edinburgh; it is my home and is one of the best cities in the world. I am lucky to have been to a lot of places, but I feel so comfortable in Edinburgh. I am in New Town so I love the Stockbridge area. I am 10 minutes’ walk away from the castle. When I am home at weekends, nothing beats going to the Sunday markets in Stockbridge. I am a big foodie, so I love all the fresh produce from local suppliers on my doorstep every Sunday. Stockbridge also has a community feel with independent shops and independent restaurants and independent bars, but you are right in the heart of the city centre.

My Scotland Phil MacHugh


On my doorstep, I have Portobello, a few friends live there. It’s a real buzz there in the summer, with barbecues and beach volleyball. I found myself out there a few years ago at NewYear, during Covid. We decided to go down to Portobello Beach, build a log fire, take a carry out, and celebrate there. It was amazing, looking out on to the Firth of Forth, you could see the fireworks. And 10 minutes’ drive from home, I am right there.


I love the west coast and Campbeltown. A friend has a campervan, he’s a big surfer, so we just hop in and go. It’s got an incredible surfing community there. I am not a surfer, but I don’t mind the culture that goes with it. I used to be a Highland dancer and travelled to Campbeltown, and I used to do quite well there. Now my brother-in-law and his family live there. It is a place I love. There is a place called The Feathers, which is infamous in Campbeltown.

My Scotland Phil MacHugh

Dark Sky Park, Dumfries & Galloway

When we filmed season one of Scottish Fling, I was fascinated by the Dark Forest at Dumfries & Galloway. We spent the night there with a local lad who taught us how to stargaze. I have never seen anything like it, the clearest sky ever! You could even see Elon Musk’s satellites. It was unbelievable! More and more people should go there. Around 6-7pm you start to see things. When you switch off your lights, it’s VERY dark.

The pair have returned to our screens this week in Martin Compston’s Norwegian Fling, where they explore our beautiful neighbour’s land.

Catch Phil on Martin Compston’s Norwegian Fling now on BBCi Player.

Read more of our My Scotland interviews