One look at the pictures should be enough to convince you of the heavenly situation which this cottage enjoys. It is situated on the north-west shore of the island of North Uist, a traditional Hebridean blackhouse which sits on the common grazings by the shore of the breathtaking Vallay strand, a shallow tidal lagoon which ebbs to reveal three square miles of beach and access to the enchanting little island of Vallay.
Built by the present owner's grandfather some 100 years ago, it is doubtful if its original owners could have ever imagined their cottage as it is today, for it has been completely renovated and furnished to the highest standards to make a wonderful holiday home. It would be a truly magical hideaway for a honeymoon or indeed any special escape.
Inside, there is a cosy sitting room with solid fuel stove (for which traditional peat is provided), a well-equipped kitchen, double bedroom and shower room. Additional heating is by electric underfloor heating. The area round the cottage is fenced from the sheep which nibble on the surrounding croft land.
North Uist has always attracted walkers, bird watcher and anglers, as well as those who would simply seek respite from the hurly-burly of modern life. That is not to say, however, that there is not plenty to do and see here. Lochmaddy, the 'capital' has all facilities where Taigh Chearsabhagh offers a thriving museum and arts centre, with shop and cafe. For the active visitor, the Uist Outdoor Centre offers abseiling, rock climbing, sea kayaking, scuba diving and powerboating as well as the fastest crossing to the amazing World Heritage Site of St Kilda, 40 miles out in the Atlantic. The Tigh Dearg Hotel has a gym, sauna and steam room, all available for a modest charge to non-residents, and also offers bike hire.
While in Lochmaddy, another 'must' is the short walk to Both nam Faileas (The Hut of the Shadows), a camera obscura which projects an image of the land and seascapes within a stone chamber.
Other attractions within easy reach of Gearraidh Iain are the RSPB Reserve at Balranald and the island's archaeological treasures. The Claddach Kirkibost Centre has an excellent cafe, fantastic views and internet access, while Sollas (2m) has a well stocked supermarket and you can buy fresh seafood from Hector, direct off the boat. It doesn't come any fresher!
Close to home, you can reach Vallay, with its wonderful beaches and fascinating ruins, either on foot or by car when the tide is out, but do take local advice on access to avoid being cut off by the incoming tide.
Bed linen, towels, electricity and fuel for the stove are all included. Sorry, dogs are not accepted because of the sheep and the ground nesting birds around the cottage, and smoking is not permitted in the cottage
Accommodation (sleeps 2):
- Kitchen with electric cooker, dishwasher, washer/drier and microwave etc
- Sitting/Dining room with solid fuel stove, TV/DVD and iPod dock
- Double bedroom
- Shower room with shower, WC and wash basin