Rough Guide names the Western Isles one of the top ten destinations for 2016!
A cosy writer's croft house in the picturesque village of Gravir on the Isle of Lewis, UK. Dramatic sea views with modern amenities, a walled garden and veranda. A great base for sea angling or freshwater loch fishing, birdwatching, hiking, kayaking.
Located at the top of a paved, private road Highgales occupies a commanding, elevated position on the northern shore of Loch Odhairn--a steep-sided sea loch fed by waterfalls and full of aquatic life--and enjoys panoramic, breathtaking views of the surrounding sea and mountains just below and across from the house. Highgales is a traditional crofter's cottage lovingly renovated by its American owner, tastefully decorated, and updated with modern amenities, including central heating, a newly renovated bathroom, pine flooring, well-equipped kitchen, and wifi access throughout the house.
On the ground floor the master bedroom (with king-size bed) has been fully restored with Scandinavian wall paneling and varnished pine floor, a refurbished antique dresser, sofa, and a large flat screen wifi TV (please note that there is no broadcast TV or Sky TV). The two upstairs rooms feature traditional sloping ceilings and spectacular, inspiring views of Loch Odhairn and the surrounding hills. The sitting room contains a sofa bed, an easy chair, wifi TV, DVD player, CD player, a portable bluetooth speaker, and a raised desk and chair where one can read, write or sketch while facing the sea below and the mountains across the narrow bay. The upstairs bedroom is furnished with two single beds, an easy chair, velux window, and a large built-in clothes cupboard/closet. All beds in Highgales are made up with luxurious Egyptian cotton linens.
The gourmet kitchen combines Hebridean charm with modern convenience: a large American-style fridge/freezer, dishwasher, washer/dryer, full-sized electric cooker, restaurant-quality knives, a big block cutting board, antique kitchen dresser, and radio. Besides modern design cutlery and dinnerware, there is a ample supply of wine and water glasses plus baking pans and sheets. The dining table in the kitchen comfortably seats four where guests can admire the glorious surrounding views whilst enjoying delicious home-cooked meals.
The bright, spacious bathroom on the ground floor (just steps from the master bedroom) has an electric shower, wash basin, WC, large mirror, hair dryer, and fluffy Egyptian cotton towels.
Guest are invited to use the large selection of books, DVDs, and board games on the shelves at the top of the upstairs landing. On the cork board in the kitchen guests will find important information about the house, the wifi password, and emergency contacts. On the shelf above the kitchen dresser there are two binders: one contains information about operating the house's appliances and the other is full of tourist brochures and flyers.
Highgales stands in a walled garden which offers privacy, tranquility, and stunning sea views. There is a barbecue enclosure on the concrete patio (bring a disposable grill) with outdoor furniture and a private veranda/viewing platform with a bench on the other side of the garage that overlooks the bay. From this dramatic location, built over a traditional gathering place for Gravir's villagers, guests can scan the entire length of the sea loch and, on clear days, guests can see the fairyland mountains of the Scottish mainland across the Minch.
Both the garden patio and the veranda are the perfect spots to enjoy a dram of single malt or a cup of tea while observing the marine mammals, fish, and bird life that thrive here. Buzzards and merlins often perch on the fence posts surrounding the garden.
Guests might want to venture down to the village pier to fish for mackerel (the best luck will be had at a rising tide). At the closed end of the loch, where a river runs into the sea, guests may cast flies for sea trout. Beside the village pier is a launching ramp where guests may put kayaks in the water. The freshwater lochs that abound in the district of Pairc are full of wild brown trout.
The village of Gravir is divided in two by the narrow, fjord-like Loch Odairn. Villagers on the steep north and south shores practice the ancient lifestyle of crofting (animal husbandry combined with peat-cutting, fishing, and other trades). Throughout the summer visiting yachts drop anchor just below Highgales. In late summer the steep hills on the opposite shore (called the "Toum") are set ablaze with blooming heather. In all seasons the sunrise and sunset are spectacular and Loch Odhairn, which changes with the light, wind, and tides, provides endless interest.
Whether you are looking for a peaceful, romantic hideaway or an action-filled adventure, Highgales is the perfect base for reading or sketching, sea angling, freshwater loch fishing, bird watching, hiking, kayaking, cycling, and visiting archeological sites such as the renowned Callanish stone circle and the Carloway Broch. Gravir and the surrounding area is a photographer's dream! Enjoy spotting seals, otters, and porpoises in the water below the house. There are also resident sea and golden eagles, buzzards, merlins, sparrow hawks, cormorants, northern divers, fulmars, and the occasional gannet and puffin. Cuckoos arrive in Gravir in early Spring. Migrating and resident Whooper swans feed in the freshwater lochs above the village, and guests might encounter red deer on the back road that links the villages of Gravir, Calbost, and Marvig.
Ravenspoint, a well-stocked village grocery, newspaper, and gift shop/local museum/tourist info center/cafe/24-hour petrol station, is located 6 miles from Gravir in Kershader. A cosy pub is 11 miles away in Sheildinish.
The letting price includes bed linens, towels, electricity, oil-fired central heating throughout the house, wifi, and cleaning. A cot is available upon request. Highgales can be let for a week or more. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Cathy is my house manager. Should you encounter any problems her mobile number is 07887880421. Her email address is posted on the kitchen cork board.