Ceud mile f├áilte - a traditional Highland home welcomes you.
Holiday villa or holiday cottage? Read on to find out about a place that may suit you very well.
Bac na be├árn is a traditional old Highland home owned by our family for over 70 years. It's solidly stone built and slate roofed, designed with Highland weather in mind. There's full central heating and double glazing where it matters. It's warm, comfortable, unfussy, relaxed, and with many original features and pleasing quirks.
With four bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and scullery, dining and living rooms, Bac na be├árn is a great base for up to seven to experience the seas, mountains and wildlife of this unique and outstandingly beautiful part of Scotland. The Isle of Skye is just a few hundred metres away, across Kyle Rhea narrows by ferry.
There's full cooking facilities with a ceramic-hob cooker, a new fridge/freezer, microwave, slow cooker and, of course, devices such as electric kettle, solar-powered kitchen scales, food processor, toaster, teapots and coffee making facilities, as well as plenty of plates, mugs, glasses, pots and pans and all the various cooking tools you'd reasonably expect.
The living room has a modestly-sized flat screen TV with a (non-subscription) Sky box giving access to a range of terrestial channels (comparable to Freeview). There's decent wireless broadband at around 20MBps download. There's a DVD player. The living room cupboard has plenty of DVDs and there's also board and outside games for you to use. The lower drawer in the dining room sideboard holds stationery and related items - use what you need from there. There's also a folder holding instruction manuals for the various appliances should you find yourself bemused by some device.
There's an automatic Zanussi washing machine and a tumble dryer in the utility room as well as a couple of vacuum cleaners. There are new fire and CO alarms linked in a network.
Glenelg itself and round about
Stand in the garden of Bac na be├árn on a bright, clear day and you'll see for miles down the Sound of Sleat, past the coast of Skye and on to Eigg and beyond, the many small islands shadowed in the sun-sparkled water. Just round the first headland to your left is Sandaig, called Camus fe├árna (bay of the alders) by Gavin Maxwell in "Ring of Bright Water", the book of his life there with his otters.
As Fiona wrote in a review, the house "is in such a beautiful area with amazing views", an opinion shared with everyone who visits Glenelg for the first time. Dogs love Glenelg too - so many opportunities for walks, so much to explore, so many new smells and sights to experience.
There's the serene calm of Glenelg, silence broken by the whoops and skirling of sea birds, by the splash of a fish, an otter or seal, or the scutter of some animal through the bracken - a pine marten at dusk, perhaps - or by the friendly greeting of a stranger passing on the road - but never by roar of traffic or razored by sirens. Particularly if you're from a city the quiet calm and night darkness of Glenelg are wonderful to experience.
Then there's the hills and the water. Sandaig is at the mouth of Loch Hourn, the long, deep fjord-like sea loch that separates the present community of Glenelg from Knoydart, one of the UK's remaining true wildernesses and ordinarily accessible only by boat or for miles on foot. There's a tiny village at the sea end of the Knoydart peninsula, the only place in mainland Britain where the local roads are not connected to the wider road network. Some have claimed that Loch Hourn is connected to Loch Ness by subterranean passageway and that on occasion Nessie has been known to visit, perhaps on holiday from her monstering duties, but I've never seen her myself and I'd doubt that anyway.
There are two Munros towards the east end of the loch, one in Knoydart itself and the other by Arnisdale, and any amount of other opportunities for walking or climbing whether around Glenelg, or in Kintail back over the entrance pass, or in Skye, easily reached by ferry from Glenelg in the summer or by the Skye Bridge just by Kyle of Lochalsh.
On occasion, of course, the wind beating up the Sound may sting the rain horizontally into your face. Being out in a Highland storm, though, is excitingly different from the sodden misery of rain in the city. Here you have scents of bog myrtle and heather, damp peat and salt spray, spume and seaweed, natural aromatherapy bringing you fully alive while calming and relaxing you also. Raw nature, such as you'll find in the west Highlands, has this effect.
As David, who says he would have given six stars if he could, commented "The Scottish climate demands action: ... [Bac na be├árn is] a perfect base ... to which to retire after a day of vigorous activity."
Home from home
You'll want, then, a home from home, a place to return to, shrugging your rain jacket to the floor as you enter, your boots tumbled in the scullery, padding through with a hot drink to the double-glazed warmth of the sitting room to watch the sea and the wind arguing over the scurrying white horses beating up the Sound below.
"It is exactly what we want after a long day in the hills with our young family." comments Simon, who's visited several times.
Bac na be├árn is that traditional old Highland home. It sits on the hill just above the church and between Kirkton, Glenelg's tiny main village with its lively Inn, village hall, well-stocked shop and post office, and Quarry, the hamlet to the south strung along the beach by the jetty, the house just a few hundred metres from each.
Fr├ęd├ęric's opinion was "La maison est grande, confortable et merveilleusement situ├ęe, avec une incroyable vue sur le Sound of Sleat et Skye." While another guest, Camille, remarked on "un s├ęjour inoubliable dans les Highlands."
It's a former manse, a family holiday home, unfussy and relaxed. There's an old, disused caravan in the garden which will go when I can arrange that. There's a retired Rayburn in the kitchen I need to shift. There's irregularity in the dining room floor which needs attention and which results in grit accumulating in the window bay (it's on the list for action!). A couple of carpets are a bit worn, the dining room chairs need reseating, and some painting needs redoing and freshening. In short, if you're looking for an aseptic, squeaky clean and soulless holiday unit with fully matching cutlery this is not for you. As Lee, one of our many very satisfied guests, commented "Don't think Hilton, think old aunt Hilda's farmhouse and you'll be fine!" while Jonathan added "Charming and fantastic value."
To paraphrase Shirley Conran, there's more to life than stuffing mushrooms and so if the character and feel and history of a house and its location appeals to you you'll enjoy being part of that here. Centenarian plus though she now is, Bac na be├árn is a living family holiday home with personality, comfortably part of the natural landscape. Not perfect, certainly, but then who is?
"For us", wrote Oliver, "the house and area became a home away from home. We will come back!"
If you want somewhere sound and secure, warm and welcoming, with efficient central heating, well equipped, somewhere you can unwind, where you can relax after an energising day on the hills or the sea, Bac na be├árn will suit you very well. The single bathroom has a long, deep Edwardian cast-iron roll-top bath with a patented tall cylindrical stopper where you can soak and there's plenty of warm duvets, pillows and comfortable mattresses for everyone, a cot too if you need it. And because the house complements its Highland location it's a great base for exploring and experiencing the seas, mountains and attendant wildlife of this unique and beautiful area, the north west Highlands of Scotland, a "brilliant place", as Kevin commented in his review.
Do get in touch if you'd like more detail or to book a holiday. I look forward to hearing from you.
Glenelg is a rural community of some 250 to 300 people scattered over maybe 40 or so square miles of the West Highlands. It's reached by road from Shiel Bridge over the 1,150 (350 m) high Ratagan pass (M├ám Ratagan from the top of which there are stunning views of Loch Duich and the Five Sisters of Kintail. Bac na be├árn stands on a hill between the two Glenelg hamlets of Kirkton and Quarry from where it looks straight down the Sound of Sleat to the small islands south of Skye and across Glenelg Bay to Skye itself. If you like mountains and sea and solitude and wildlife and walking Glenelg is a place you must visit.
- Children Allowed
- Pet Friendly