Farmhouse | 4 bedrooms | sleeps 8
Achnahanat is a self-catering holiday cottage in Scotland. It is traditional farmhouse situated overlooking one of the best salmon rivers in Scotland. In the heart of the highlands and on the western fringe of the Dornoch Firth National Scenic Area, it is ideally placed to explore east, west and far north coasts. Whether you want an active break, walking, biking and exploring, or are interested in wildlife, you will be spoilt for choice. Close enough to explore the amazing flat lands of the Flow Country in Caithness and Sutherland, one of Europe's last great wild places, the house is only a few miles away from Shin Falls and the Alladale Estate (BBC The Real Monarch of the Glen). Not surprisingly, wildlife abounds and you might see dolphins, seals, whales, eagles, deer and more.
Originally built in the 1800's as a farmhouse with a barn and byre (for cattle); the croft house has been extended to make a wonderful country getaway. Even in the depths of winter it is a particularly cosy place to return to after a walk. Sitting at the end of a private track the house is bounded by grazing land, with sheep and the occasional cow breakfasting right up to the kitchen window.
The croft is a lovely place to relax, with hundreds of books and the opportunity to either eat out at some very good cafes and restaurants, or enjoy cooking in the well-equipped kitchen. If heritage is your thing, there are a number of grand houses and ruined castles to explore, as well as the exciting new Culloden Battlefield visitor centre and exhibition. This part of Sutherland is surrounded with great walks; from easy strolls along the beach to longer walks through the woods or challenging scrambles up Munroes and Corbetts.
Situated in a tranquil backwater, this relaxed highland holiday home is a calm retreat from the hurly burly of the modern world.
|Size||Sleeps up to 8, 4 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Dornoch 50 km|
|Nearest Amenities||12 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Inverness 87 km, Nearest railway: Culrain 6 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages, Suitable for people with restricted mobility|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|Luxuries||Log fire, Internet access|
|General||Central heating, CD player, Telephone, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Clothes dryer, Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms of which 2 Family bathrooms|
|Furniture||1 Sofa beds, Single beds (4), Double beds (2), Cots (1), Dining seats for 8, Lounge seats for 8|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided, High chair|
|Further details indoors||
Entering through the porch (useful for hanging wet gear) the hall has plenty of space for wellies. The tiled floor extends into the first bathroom, where it is also heated. The study bedroom to the right has a king sized double bed and plenty of space, as well as a wood burning stove. Stairs lead up to two cosy, wood panelled, coombed twin bedrooms. Both of the upstairs bedrooms are double aspect, with views south and across the river. The beamed sitting room also has a Charnwood wood burning stove, armchairs and comfy sofas, as well as a games cupboard. Through to middle section of the house is the kitchen dining room.
The large kitchen/dining room comfortably seats eight. It is the ideal place to plan out the days activities, laze with a cup of coffee gazing cross the river, or to enjoy a long evening meal reminiscing over what has (or has not) been done. The four oven Aga is as good for drying clothes as it is for cooking and keeps the kitchen nice and warm. If you haven't cooked using an Aga before, don't worry, its easy; there are lots of recipes on agalinks.com and a number of good cookbooks at the house. With large, well lit, granite worktops in the kitchen area, there is plenty of space to prepare a meal and having a clearly defined cooking area, still be at the centre of things. The well equipped kitchen has all of the appliances you would expect, including fridge, freezer, 4 oven Aga, washing machine, dishwasher, microwave and CD radio (with MP3 input). All of the major appliances are A-rated for energy efficiency, except the Aga, which does however heat this part of the house. There is plenty of Denby crockery, which goes straight in the dishwasher, crystal wine glasses and quality cookware.
Beyond the kitchen is the second bathroom and the far end bedroom, a haven for couples or grandparents. The second bathroom also has heated tiled flooring and a bath, with shower over. The bedroom has a large panoramic window, with views across the river and has lots of space; with a king size double bed as well as a double sofa bed.
Travel cot, high chair, children’s crockery, steps for and child friendly toilet seats, stair gate and fireguards are all available.
There is a heated store at the back of the house that can be used for bikes. Whilst the house is an ideal place to relax we provide access to WiFi broadband. There is a phone for emergency calls and good reception for Orange, Vodafone and O2.
|Further details outdoors||
The garden is walled and has seating. Beyond the garden are acres to explore, with the nearby stream and waterfalls flowing through ancient woodland.
The track to the house, about 400 metres long, is a farm track. It is not accessible by the average car, other than four wheel drive. There is plenty of parking at the top of the drive. It is not a difficult walk, more part of the adventure and it makes Achnahanat a very quiet spot. The owners manage (with two small children) using a wheelbarrow, which is kept at the top of the drive, to transport bags.
All heating and electricity, including logs for the wood burning stoves, and linen is included in the price. All of the beds have 13.5 tog duvets, which can be divided for summer use and two pillows per person. All linen is 100% cotton and the bedding, including pillows, is non-allergenic. Large cotton bath sheets, bath mats, hand towels and drying towels are also provided. Access to WiFi broadband.
The Scottish Highlands region
The Highlands really 'are' Scotland, with picture-postcard images, majestic scenery, awesome wild places, towering mountains, ancient pine forests and broad expanses of dark and shimmering loch.
They are all this, of course, and much more besides. Capital of the Highlands and the only major urban centre in the region, Inverness is an obvious springboard for exploring more remote areas - north to wind-lashed Cape Wrath, at the very northwest tip of the mainland, with it sheer cliffs and sand-filled bays bearing the brunt of frequently fierce Atlantic storms; south to the beautiful expanses of Glen Coe via the Great Glen; or west to the remote and tranquil Ardnamurchan peninsula with the beautiful 'Road to the Isles' running to Mallaig and Skye beyond.
Wherever you roam, you'll find outstanding natural beauty: Glen Coe, the Cairngorms National Park, Ben Nevis, Ardnamurchan, Glen Affric - the list is as long as the Great Glen itself. And although it's natural to picture the Highlands as a mountainous region, there are also miles of coastline and intriguing islands to explore as well. Here you can have your own private sandy beach with shimmering turquoise waters and nobody else to be seen for miles around. Then there are the amazing flat lands of the Flow Country in Caithness and Sutherland, one of Europe's last great wild places. Not surprisingly, wildlife flourishes in such great wildernesses and you can see dolphins, whales, eagles, deer, otters and much more besides.
The inspiring landscape and the tranquillity and space which it offers are without doubt the main attractions of the region but if you like the active life, the Highlands also offer unsurpassed opportunities for top-class mountaineering, climbing and off-road biking, along with a host of other outdoor pursuits.
If you prefer your holiday at a slower pace, the region's many historical sites, remote castles, distinctive culture and language and welcoming towns also prove a major draw in their own right.
Achnahanat holiday cottage is sited in the ancient village of Achnahanat and has views over the River Oykel, renowned for its salmon fishing. Ben Mor Assynt, the highest local mountain, can be seen to the north west. On a clear day the mountains of the west coast, Suilven, Cul Beag and Cul Mor can also be seen.
Achnahanat is located on a working croft (farm) and sheep graze peacefully on the surrounding land. We are the best part of 0.5km, or about a quarter of a mile, from our nearest neighbours and the road; making Achnahanat a calm, relaxing, environment.
- Bonar Bridge, 11 miles
- Airport - Inverness, 53 miles
- Stations - Culrain, on the scenic Highland Line, 6 miles. Inverness, 46 miles
- Rosehall Shop, 6 miles. Village shops, café, take away, bar and restaurant in Bonar Bridge, 11 miles
- Good restaurants at Dornoch, 23 miles, great fish restaurant (and beach) Portmahomack, 33 miles
- Birdwatching, boat trips, dolphin watching
- Crafts, pottery, distilleries
- Fishing, pony trekking, swimming
- Walking – on your doorstep, or the mountains of the West coast, only 40 miles, can be seen from the house
There are a huge number of things to do and see in the Highlands of Scotland and Achnahanat is well placed to get to many of them. We have listed some of the ones that we and our friends have enjoyed. Alternatively, grab a book, there are literally hundreds at the croft, or just sit back and watch the world go by.
Beaches - From the cliffs and stacks of Caithness to the West Coast Highlands and Islands, with sea lochs and towering mountains in between, there are hundreds of beaches and tiny sandy bays, mostly remote, deserted and beautiful. Often, the remoteness of Scottish beaches - particularly those of the northern and western coast - means that they are free from pollution. Lots more information is available at www.goodbeachguide.co.uk but some of our favourites are listed below:
- Dornoch - Huge, beautiful, sandy beach
- Achmelvich – A wonderful beach, close to Lochinver
- Sandalwood Bay – 4 miles walk each way from the road, but well worth it
- Portmahomack – An east coast beach, facing west. Good food here too at the Oystercatcher
Bird watching - Besides the abundant local birds, there are a number of good RSPB and SWT reserves, including:
- Forsinard - for golden plovers, dunlins and merlins
- Nigg Bay for wading birds, such as bar-tailed godwits and knots, lapwings and redshanks
- Udale Bay wildfowl and wading birdswhere there can be spectacular views of flocks of birds. In autumn, up to 5,000 wigeons feed on the beds of eel-grass. Late summer is a good time to see fishing ospreys
- Fairy Glen - for woodland and stream birds, including dippers and grey wagtails.
- Culbin Sands - Overlooking the Moray Firth, with one of the largest shingle and sand dune bars in Britain where sea ducks, bar-tailed godwits, oystercatchers and knots flock at high tide.
There are many different crafts practised in the Highlands, including:
- Anta, Fearn near Tain - Designs inspired by the Scottish landscape, from hand-painted stoneware to beautiful textiles and stylish luggage. A range of quirky accessories from mini-kilts and handbags to ties.
- Highland Stoneware, Lochinver - Highland Stoneware makes a large range of high-fired, free-hand painted ceramics in the North West Highlands of Scotland.
- Lotte Glob, Balnakeil Craft Village, Durness - internationally renowned ceramicist who produces unique, unforgettable images.
- Tain Pottery, Tain - high quality hand painted tableware with thistle and tartan designs, ceramics from the Highlands of Scotland
Castles and Heritage
- Ardvreck & Calda House, Loch Assynt - Fascinating ruined castle
- Dunrobin Castle and Gardens, Golspie - gardens and other attractions
- Carbisdale Castle - Forestry walks and footbridge across the Oykel. It is worth visiting the castle, now the Scottish Youth Hostels flagship hostel, to see their collection of large paintings and alabaster statues in an ornate setting.
- Castle of Mey.
- The haunting Culloden Battlefield and new visitor centre, near Inverness
Fishing - The Oykel is the best of the Kyle of Sutherland rivers. There are no hydro schemes on the Oykel to inhibit the natural flow of the river, which relies on precipitation, in the form of rain or, very early in the season, snow, to give of its best. Excellent Spring fishing on the lower river with sport on the upper river throughout the summer months. The salmon can be seen leaping at the excellent Shin Falls. The River Shin is one of the great Salmon rivers in Scotland, with the fresh, clear water - coloured slightly brown due to the natural peaty soil of the landscape - creating perfect conditions for the Atlantic Salmon, and other fish that thrive in a constant flow of fresh water.
Mountain biking - There is plenty to do locally, from the road at the top of the drive, to some serious paths. We are lucky enough to have a great series of Forestry Commission trails, the Kyle of Sutherland Mountain Bike Trails, only six miles from the croft house. With stunning views over the Kyle of Sutherland, the inner Dornoch Firth and Bonar Bridge, the Kyle of Sutherland Mountain Bike Trails offer 17 km of trail, for a range of skills. There are blue, red and black graded trails combining in-forest riding, technical features and forest roads.
Touring - Well placed to reach the east, west and northern coasts of the Highlands
Our website, which is linked at the bottom of this page, has loads more things that you can see and do, incuding:
Beaches, Bird watching, Canoeing, Crafts, Cycling, Days out, Canoeing, Fishing, Food and drink, Geology, Golf, Heritage, Mountains, Movies, Outdoors, Shows and Highland Games, Swimming pools, Walking, Wildlife, Whisky.