Darcey Bussell visits Mount Stuart
Dame Darcey Bussell swaps her pointe shoes for walking boots as she explores the stunning landscapes and beautiful islands off the west coast of Scotland
Don’t miss Mount Stuart on Dame Darcey Bussell’s new tv series, Wild Coasts of Scotland, where Darcey embraces her Scottish roots by visiting the 'captivating' Scottish islands that were so dear to her late grandfather.
Bussell has a lot of family history in Scotland, and so relished the chance to find out more about her ancestry.
And she admits it was emotional exploring the isle of Bute, a place she had heard so much about from her grandfather, who spent many childhood summers on the island. Her stay on the Isle of Bute had a special significance because her Scottish grandfather spent his childhood summers there. “I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see it for myself. I was very close to my grandfather and he was desperate for me to go. I’d seen so many pictures of him as a young boy there and it brought to life everything he used to talk about. For a kid born and brought up in Glasgow, it was such an adventure.”
"I kept saying to him, 'I will go and see it', and I was always upset that I never got that possibility when he was still alive. So, to actually finally be there, it did really, really hit me – and I didn't expect that."
She continues: "It wasn't just another job; it was a real experience and has become a passion... I can't wait to take my family back there, and to show them all the places I got to see."
In this series, one of Britain’s greatest ballerinas will be treading the boards at Mount Stuart and exploring the house with our guide, Jim. "Mount Stuart is this extraordinary Victorian house, it is totally off the scale – every kind of craftwork and indulgence was on display.”
One memory from Bute that particularly stands out was filming at St Blanes – a ruin of an old chapel.
"We were there on a spectacular day," she recalls. "But it had this energy, this magic about it – and it was just ruins."
What she really hopes comes across in the programmes is how passionate the people who live on these islands are about their home (another highlight sees her join young environmentalists keeping the beaches clean for wildlife).
With the Covid-19 pandemic impacting how much and where we can travel, Bussell notes how grateful the locals were to have people visiting, because of how much they rely on tourism.
"They really want to show you the importance of this environment, and how they live, and how simple things can be – but how rewarding they can be.
"And I suppose, for me, it was just a wonderful cleanser, and a realisation of how happy you can be in the simplest situations.
Darcey Bussell’s Wild Coasts of Scotland starts this Monday, on More4 at 9pm, with the special performance in Mount Stuart featuring on the episode airing on Monday 1st March.