Inspiration

Wild outside, delicious inside: discover our most remote cottages in far-flung corners of Scotland

Carmen McCormack Profile Image

Carmen McCormack

Guest Expert

5 min read

Scotland is blessed with some of the largest, most remote, areas of wilderness in the UK. Come to marvel at golden eagles swooping above lochs and mountains; basking seals, dolphins and minke whales plunging through squally waves; and find peace on breathtakingly beautiful islands fringed by white sands and turquoise waters. We like to think that part of the thrill of travel is the journey that gets you to your destination. Choose from our collection of most remote cottages and you won’t be disappointed. Relish the hair-pin bends and bumpy single track roads that guide you miles away from urban life to be richly rewarded by extraordinary landscapes teeming with nature, and barely another soul in sight.

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Gille Buidhe’s Broch

It’s quiet here on the Coigach Peninsula, the only sounds are the birds, the wind and the waves. You stay in a modern take on an Iron Age roundhouse in tiny Polbain – almost as far west as you can go – 22 miles north of Ullapool, the last 15 along a wild, single-track road. Burrow down into squashy sofas and take in the views through the enormous windows or work your way through a stack of books. Outside, the broch is camouflaged, but interiors are bright and colourful – a lovely relaxing bedroom, modern bathrooms with saunas, a sociable kitchen. Sheileagh and Reiner leave their own farmyard eggs, cake and a drop of whisky. Achiltibuie (three miles) has a great grocer and a handful of restaurants – don’t miss the hand-dived scallops and massive langoustines. Amble along the hills and beaches, swim in sea and loch, or hire a kayak and pack a picnic to spend fine days exploring hidden beaches.

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Scarista House

All you need to know is this: Harris is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Beaches of white sand and turquoise waters that stretch for a mile or two are not uncommon. If you bump into another soul, it will be a delightful coincidence, but you shouldn’t count on it. The view from Scarista is simple and magnificent: field, ridge, beach, water, sky. You’ll be cosy by peat fires, there are books galore and a first-floor drawing room that floods with light. Find walking sticks and wellington boots to help you up the odd hill and a set of golf clubs by the front door in case you wish to play. The food is exceptional, perhaps quail with an armagnac mousse, Harris langoustine with garlic and butter, tarte tatin with cinnamon ice cream. Your hosts, Patricia and Tim, are the kindest people. Don’t miss Uig Sands or the standing stones at Callanish.

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An Airigh

Spot whales, dolphins, eagles, seals, otters and deer; wander through tall grasses sprinkled with bluebells, wild garlic and rare orchids; marvel at the coral beach. Stride over stunning hills, cycle your socks off, fish from the shore – there’s much to do and see from your award-winning architect-designed retreat on the hill. Inside is equally invigorating: floor to ceiling windows for long and wide views, a crisply dressed bed, super shower room, a sofa facing the sea and a sleek kitchen on the side.You’ll feel very private: lovely Ian and Robbie are just down the hill but you can’t see them and they can’t see you. Instead they leave you alone with tasty biscuits and a good bottle of wine. Widescreen TV with Sky, WiFi, and a smart music system keep you happy even if it’s raining. Treat yourselves to a meal out at The Three Chimneys, a 10-minute winding drive.

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Tigharry Schoolhouse

Come for the utter silence and the rare beauty of this far north-westerly landscape, tucked between loch and sea. There’s much fun to be had without straying far: wild swimming or paddleboarding from your own stretch of white sand, hiking to St Kilda’s Viewing Point, fishing in the loch opposite, rock-pooling and foraging, bird watching. The house is built for entertaining with a huge living room, a long wooden table for companionable meals, a pull-down screen and hidden projector. There’s also a library of over a thousand books, two wood-burning stoves and unlimited logs so if the weather is hurling itself at the windows then you can stay put happily. Pour yourself a wee dram, get comfy on the west-facing patio and watch a myriad of stars appear one by one – there’s not an ounce of light pollution. Take day trips by ferry to Barra and Harris/Lewis. 

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Cose Farmhouse

You stay in a beautifully renovated 19th-century stone cottage on the remote Cawdor Estate surrounded by valleys, moors and abundant wildlife, with sandy beaches close by. A wood-burner in the sitting room adds to the cosy feel, and books and an armchair on the landing make for a quiet space to read. Cooks will love the kitchen, which has everything you’ll need to make proper meals – or even bake a cake – or drive to Boath House Hotel, nine miles away, for gourmet fare. The café in the walled garden is delightful if it’s sunny. Revel in the quiet and open skies, borrow mountain bikes or walk the surrounding area, where there’s much variety in the landscape – hills, forest, loch, river. Look out for deer, red squirrels, pheasants, partridges and over 80 varieties of birds, head to Nairn or Moray Firth for sandy beaches and picturesque villages.

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Avernish Lodge

On 12 acres of croft land, a new-build in local stone with vast windows gazing out at the meeting place of three beautiful lochs. The sitting room is designed to bring the outside in, with six large windows and a special viewing chair. Clever lighting, underfloor heating and a wood-burner give warmth and atmosphere at night but you can also see Eilean Donan Castle lit up five miles away. It’s an uncluttered space with a modern kitchen, you’re left a bottle of wine, chocolates, good coffee and fresh milk. Bedrooms (one can be a twin) are large with fat mattresses, squishy pillows and doors to the outside so you can enjoy a morning cuppa transfixed by big skies and watery vistas. A large garden surrounds you: eat outdoors and watch the boats on the loch, star gaze on clear nights. Head out for wild swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking, or simply look out for wildlife.

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Carmen McCormack

Guest Expert

Carmen is a freelance writer specialising in travel. She once lived in a bus in north Wales, skipped off to study in Barcelona, and now calls Bristol home. When she’s not tapping away on her laptop, she can be found reading (a lot), lake swimming (a little), and pottering on the allotment with husband and two kiddos. She’s currently dreaming about cold cerveza and torta in Mexico.

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