This cottage truly takes your breath away; I’ve stayed in cottages in Scotland every year for over 25 years and this really does beat the lot. Here’s my five top reasons why you should book this Cottage:
The Location: Okay, it is about as far north and west as you can get so if you’re driving from England or even further afield, it’s a fair old trek, but boy is it worth it! You are on the edge of the Atlantic and it feels like it. Endlessly changing ocean vistas just mean you never want to take your eyes from the windows. It’s the only cottage I’ve stayed in where it doesn’t matter if it rains for the fortnight. And when the sun does shine, walk straight from the cottage to the stunning beaches at Achmelvich, explore Clachtoll’s Iron Age Broch or turn your hand to a spot of sea-fishing/canoeing/snorkelling.
The Cottage Itself: This is NOT your average holiday cottage, indeed I’m pretty sure it’s like no other rental out there. Quirky doesn’t really cover it, as the cottage is just bursting with unique objects that Bill (the cottage owner) has collected from all over the world. This is complemented by an enormous library of books (I won’t bother taking the cheap holiday read next year!) covering an enormous range of subjects. A well-stocked kitchen, comfy beds and the log-burner really mean you consider not leaving the cottage. If it weren’t for....
The Wildlife and Landscape: Within an hour of arriving, we had a school of over 100 common dolphin leaping across the bay. We also saw otters on the shore in front of the cottage, as well as the usual deer, eagles, etc. The unique knochan and lochan landscape of the Assynt coupled with mountains that emerge from nothing are a continual surprise - although it is quintessentially Scottish, it is also like nowhere else in Scotland! There’s walking for everyone, whether you like a gentle ramble or a serious mountain climb.
Local Facilities: If you’re hoping for a McDonalds, or even a Tescos, this probably isn’t the cottage for you; but you really do have everything you need for a fortnight’s stay within a short radius of the cottage. Lochinver’s shops are clearly kitted out to ensure the locals can survive the winter (make sure you find Lochinver Stores) including a good range of fresh veg, fresh meat and many cupboard ingredients you struggle to find in big cities! The local pub, The Caberfeidh, serves a cracking, well-kept pint of the local ale (an Teallach Ale Company) and the food is fantastic (hearty, but with a modern edge). There’s also posher (fine dining) restaurants available in Lochinver, although we didn’t get past the Caberfeidh. Make sure you check out Flossie’s Beach Store in Clachtoll too!
Bill: We were lucky enough to meet Bill briefly on our last day. As a Polar Guide he has some amazing stories to tell, and he exudes the personality so manifest in the cottage. Despite his travels to the far-flung corners of the planet, when you meet him, you really appreciate his passion for continually returning to Scotland.
I’m aware I’ve used a lot of superlatives and you may be wondering if this is a genuine review, but Clachtoll Cottage was so truly awesome that it should be shared. Which thankfully, was Bill’s answer, when we asked him why on Earth he doesn’t live there all year round!