Meet the wonderful host behind the VisitArran podcast. We sat down with Sheila Gilmore, the star behind the VisitArran podcast, to find out more about what it was like recording the podcast and where Shelia's passion for the island comes from.
Q.1 Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you’re so passionate about Arran?
I'm a native Arranach, and I think if you cut me in half I would say Arran right through my middle (like a stick of rock!). Arran has so much to offer in terms of scenery, food & drink and activities, and I want to share that sustainably with everyone, but to be honest it's the community of the island that does it for me. I've always been actively involved in community life - I've Chaired the Community Council, the Drama Association, the village hall - I've been part of the school parent council and improvements committee, organised fundraisers, produced youth and adult drama, etc. I think it's these sort of things that demonstrate what a fantastic place Arran is to live. And if something's good for the community, then it's good for the islanders - and in turn will be good for visitors too. People want authenticity and localism - Arran has that in spades!
Q.2 Were there any anecdotes or stories around collecting the interviews for the mini pod series?
There were so many people we could have asked, and the really tricky bit was getting a variety! We wanted to get across the characters of the island, and I think we did that, with a good cross-representation of ages and genders from around Arran. There were a couple of funny stories such as when Phyllis came away with a great bit about her farmer husband pulling someone's car out with his tractor - except it was at Cleats Shore, which is a nudist beach, and when John turned up they were naked! Or when Robbie mentioned casually about the pop-up pub, or Chris mentioned everything in Lochranza except his own centre which is amazing - and it was great to keep all that in I thought.
Q3. What do you think listeners will take away from this mini-pod series?
Hopefully people will get a true reflection of Arran, and what our island means to us. Each village is different, but the one strand throughout is that collectively Arran is a living, working community, and sometimes people might not understand that; when the visitors leave, we are all still here, pulling cars out of ditches, and visiting the pop-up pub! Arran is more than happy to share all it offers with people who, through the podcasts, can perhaps understand a little more about each area.
Be sure to listen in to the VisitArran podcast here👈