The Rock House
House | 1 bedrooms | sleeps 2
Nestled within a garden of ancient stone and heather, with a view over a golden sand beach, and the Atlantic beyond, sits the Rock House. Made from 3-billion-year-old stone, the interior is raw, simple and reliant on natural materials from the environs of Borve Lodge Estate, the location of this award-winning 5-star accommodation. Full comforts are throughout: satellite TV, WIFI, under-floor heating and a well-appointed kitchen.
The Rock House is a perfect jump-off spot to explore the pristine west coast of Harris, one of Europe's last undeveloped ocean locations. Within the environs of Borve Lodge Estate, guests can enjoy various sporting activities: fishing, shooting or just exploring the Estate's rugged landscape. The Rock House is about 250ms from an Estate beach, and guests have full freedom to roam the empty sands and coastline. And directly in view is the Castaway island of Taransay, which is owned by the estate. Harris is magical in any season, with dynamic weather patterns altering the Atlantic from pond-like calm to a stirring cauldron.
Accommodation at the Rock House is on a self-catering basis, and guests can benefit from the estate's horticulture output to sample the freshest vegetables possible. These can be complimented by local produce such as lobster, scallops and venison. Support throughout one's stay, and guidance on the special offerings of Harris, are provided by the Estate Housekeeper Karen MacLean.
|Size||Sleeps up to 2, 1 bedrooms|
|Will consider||Short breaks (1-4 days)|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Stornoway 70 km|
|Family friendly||Suitable for people with restricted mobility|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|Luxuries||Log fire, Sea view|
|General||Central heating, TV, Telephone, Satellite TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Clothes dryer, Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||1 bedroom, 1 bathrooms of which 1 En suites|
|Furniture||Double beds (1), Dining seats for 6, Lounge seats for 2|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided|
|Outdoors||Private garden, Private fishing lake or river|
The Hebrides/Skye region
“West Harris can only be described as one of Europe's last pristine coastal paradises. Sitting on the western-most edge of Britain, Harris faces the north Atlantic: the next landmass is North America. And centuries of powerful weather have given the island an other-worldly character, so much so, that aerial shots of west Harris were used to simulate a moon on Jupiter for Stanley Kubrick's film, 2001. Mountains and craggy peaks thrust upward, hewn by wind from foundation gneiss stone: some of the oldest rocks in the world. Rivers and burns cut through the stark landscape, filling lochs and pouring into the ocean.
At the seafront, the beaches are invariably golden sands, butted by massive sand dunes. The grass frontage may be a unique Hebridean offering, the machair, a meadow of wild flowers fertilized by sand. And the ocean, particularly as seen in the Sound of Taransay, may be a crystal clear pond-like calm, with a blue intensity that would not look out of place in the Caribbean. Or it can be a rolling swell, delivering perfect rolling waves onto the beach. Or the perfect collision of wind, tide and front may turn it into broiling cauldron of immeasurable force, unceasingly attempting to shatter the rocky headland. All this can be seen on a daily basis in West Harris.
West Harris has a long history, and its inhabitants have left their traces, from middens known to be more than 10,000 years old, to ancient standing stones of mysterious purpose, to crumbling piles of iron-age fortresses, all the way to the relics of numerous black houses along the shorelines.
The wide range of landscapes, the rich constantly changing seas, the temperate climate and the fact that human presence on the islands has always relied upon self-sufficiency and nurturing, has allowed wildlife to flourish. In particular a couple of the nation's favourite mammals are plentiful and as easy to see on Harris as anywhere in the country. The mountains of North Harris and the Isle of Taransay are home to the Red Deer. The Stags being famous for their rutting antics, which can be witnessed during the months of October and November.
With networks of lochs and streams all flowing down towards shellfish rich, coastlines, Harris is also home to high densities of Otters and because of the lack of human interference they are often seen out and about during the daylight. Otters are a regular sight in sheltered coastal bays in the late summer. Another good time to view them is when they are hunting for easy pickings when the salmon and seatrout are spawning in the rivers early in November through until the middle of December.
Harris is a mecca for birdlife. With few land based predators, it is breeding site for many ground nesting birds coming from the south and the sub-arctic. Black-Throated and Red Throated Divers breed on the remote lochs whilst Greenshank, Golden Plover and Dunlin display on the surrounding moorland, all overseen by the Golden Eagles and increasingly by Britain's biggest bird the White Tailed Sea Eagle.
On the 'machair' the constant song of Skylarks may be interrupted by the metallic rasping of the very rare Corncrake, an unforgettable sound, but the bird is famous for throwing its voice and is notoriously difficult to spot.
Being such a remote location in the North Atlantic, with rich fishing grounds just offshore, the precipitous cliffs on the Islands around Harris, in particular St. Kilda (World Heritage Site) and the Shiants, are home to internationally important breeding colonies of seabirds. The islands themselves are easily accessible during the breeding season May-Early August, as several local charter boat companies provide day trips. Whether you take a day trip or just walk along the coastline of Harris with a pair of binoculars you are more than likely to see Gannets, Puffins, Guillemot, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Kittiwakes, Fulmars, Shearwaters and Petrels, Great & Arctic Skuas.
The Sound of Taransay, beside Borve, is a haven for sea ducks including Eider, Common Scoter and long tailed duck and the headlands are also good for viewing migrating birds in the Spring and Autumn. In recent years some real rarities have shown up on the islands including Snowy Owls, Harlequin Ducks and even a White-throated needle tailed swift in 2013.
The charter boats that visit off-shore islands also do wildlife cruises throughout the summer, allowing visitors to get closer to Common and Grey seal colonies and often heading further offshore to look for cetaceans, including Killer Whales, Common Dolphins, Porpoisies and Minke Whales. Basking sharks are also a regular sighting. These trips often offer a chance for sea angling, so any easy chance to catch dinner.
The coastline of Borve itself, north to Horagbost and south to Northton, is fronted by the species rich grassland habitat known as 'machair'. During the months of June, July and August this is a pleasure to walk across on the way to the beach, the sheep are up grazing in the hills, freeing the machair flowers to raise their heads above the sward. Expect stunning displays of Lady's Bedstraw and Harebells and the rich scent of Clover. Look closer and amongst the many species of wildflowers there are orchids including the common Frog orchid or perhaps the rarer Butterfly Orchids or you may even find the very rare Irish Ladies Tresses. Then of course you reach the beach. You will be tempted to keep looking down at the myriad of sea shells along the strand and perhaps take a momento home, but remember to look up and just take it all in.”
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30 Dec 2013
"Completely incredible stay"
We stayed here for the first 5 days of our honeymoon. We were completely delighted, this is one of the most beautiful, coolest places we have ever stayed. The design is outstanding and you can see why… More
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