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Dramatic Sea Views at Highgales Seaside Croft House

Bedrooms 2
Property type cottage
Minimum Stay 4 nights


About the property

Dramatic sea views with modern amenities, a walled garden and veranda.

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.

More Details

Gregory Maertz
Member since: 2015
Speaks English, French, German, Norwegian
Response time:
Within a few hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
31 March, 2018

About Gregory Maertz

Born in Minnesota and raised in Hawaii, I am a New York-based academic (literature and visual culture) who has spent part of every summer at Highgales since 2001. When I am not holidaying there--fishing in Loch Odhairn, hiking in the surrounding hills or reading in the sun on the patio or at the desk in the upstairs bedroom--I live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Gregory Maertz purchased this cottage in 2001

Why Gregory Maertz chose Isle of Lewis

I fell in love at first sight with the house, its extraordinary location, and the local wildlife on my first visit to the Isle of Lewis in 1999. The views of the sea and mountains are some of the most amazing I have ever seen. Over the years my connection to Highgales and the surrounding countryside has grown in intensity. It is my favourite place on the planet.

What makes this cottage unique

I fell in love at first sight with the house, its extraordinary location, and the local wildlife on my first visit to the Isle of Lewis in 1999. The views of the sea and mountains are some of the most amazing I have ever seen. Over the years my connection to Highgales and the surrounding countryside has grown in intensity. It is my favourite place on the planet.


Accommodation and facilities for this holiday cottage in Isle of Lewis in Western Isles

Property Type:
  • cottage
  • Self-catering
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 15:30 / Check-out: 10:30
  • Max. occupancy: 4
  • children welcome
  • pets not allowed
  • non smoking only
Location Type:
  • mountain
  • near the sea
  • rural
  • village
  • waterfront
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating
  • Internet
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Parking
  • Towels Provided
  • Tumble Dryer
  • Washing Machine
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Pantry Items
  • Refrigerator
  • Hob
  • Toaster
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 4 people
  • 1 Bathroom
  • Bathroom 1 -
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 4
  • Books
  • DVD Player
  • Stereo
  • Television
  • Video Library
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Barbecue
  • wheelchair inaccessible
  • bay
  • churches
  • marina
  • museums
  • pond
  • ruins
  • waterfalls
Leisure Activities:
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • eco tourism
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • groceries
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • fly fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • pier fishing
  • sailing
  • bay fishing
  • surfing
  • swimming


5/5 -
(1 traveller review)

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Dramatic Sea Views at Highgales Seaside Croft House
average rating of 5.0 based on 1 reviews

Perfectly peaceful

  • 5 of 5

The Highgales cottage is in a wonderful location with the most incredible views over the cliffs and loch of Lewis. It is in a great place for exploring both Lewis and Harris, but really just walking out the door there is already plenty to see and discover. We spend nearly a week in this lovely cottage and noticed that this was far too short to explore the numerous walks that are within a 20-30min drive. A car is essential as the nearest shop is still quite a drive (Ravenspoint hostel has a small grocery shop), but the scenery is amazing so you will happily spend a lot of time driving around the island and enjoying the beautiful views.

The cottage itself is perfect, with everything you need to make yourself very comfortable: dishwasher, washer/dryer, plenty of books and dvd's, wifi internet, and comfy beds. We were slightly surprised that the master bedroom downstairs doubled as the sitting room, but this only meant that we would be cosy in bed while drinking tea and watching a movie (there is a small sofa in the room as well). The cottage was tidy and clean when we arrived and had very clear instructions on how to use the amenities as well as plenty of touristic information.

We loved our stay in this cosy, bright and beautiful cottage in a very peaceful corner of the world and would happily recommend it to anyone! Thanks again Gregory, for sharing this amazing place with us...

  • Review Submitted: 09-Nov-2016
  • Date of Stay: May 2016
  • Source: HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
30 Miles
Nearest Barpub
11 Miles
Loch Erisort Inn
Nearest Ferry
30 Miles
Nearest Golf
30 Miles
Nearest Restaurant
11 Miles
Loch Erisort Inn
Nearest Beach
25 Miles
Dal more
Car: necessary

Main Attractions

The Beaches

Some of the most beautiful, unspoiled beaches in the world are to be found on the Isle of Lewis and Harris. No visit to the islands would be complete without a walk, paddle or dip at the beaches of Carnish; Cliff; Coll; Dalbeg; Dal more; Garry; Gress; Luskentyre; Port of Ness; Port Stoth; Reef, Scarista; Steinish; Traigh na Cleabhag, Sound of Harris; Traigh Mhor, North Tolsta.

Bird Watching

Ducks: Goldeneye, Mallard, Merganser, Teal, Tufted

Resident Raptors: Merlin, Golden Eagle, Sea Eagle, Buzzard

Resident Garden Birds: Blackbird, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Thrush, Wren, Robin, Corncrake

Seabirds: Arctic tern, Cormorant, Fulmar, Seagull, Skua, Gannet, Puffin

Seasonal Migrations: Cuckoo, Redwing, Snipe, Whooper Swan, Woodcock

Botanical Sites

Machair at Barvas, Ness, Uig


Crofting husbandry is manifested in division of village land between cultivable infield and common grazing where peat is cut and sheep and cattle are free to roam. Blackhouses can be visited at Arnol and Garenin. Norse mill sites are visible at local streams.


The annual Hebridean Celtic Festival in July


Day trips by sea to the Shiants and St Kilda

Geological Sites

Lewisian gneiss exposures are provided by road cuttings notably at Orinsay and Kershader.

South Harris complex can be inspected in quarries at Northton (mica) and Lingerbay (anorthosite).

Stornoway beds of Old Red Sandstone outcrop at Broad Bay beaches.

Uig granitic intrusions.


The links course at Scarista and the park land course at Stornoway.

Historical Sites

Celtic Christian chapel sites of Catan, Ciaran, Clement, Columba, Donan, Finan, Malrubha, Molua, Patrick, Ronan.

Celtic Christian well sites of Brigid and Constantine.

Sites of beehive summer shielings in the hills of Harris, Pairc, Uig, Muirneag.


Typical fiords occur at Odhairn, Erisort, Loch Shell

Lookout sites named "sithean" occur wherever there is a village vantage point.

Highest hills have the Norse ending "val" which appears as "bhal" in Gaelic (e.g., Catisval, the goat hill).

Lochs have the Norse ending "vat" eg Mirkavat, the dark loch.

Archaeological Sites

Bosta, Callanish, Northton, Carloway

Yachting Marina



Prices & Availability

Ask Owner a Question

Additional pricing information

Cleaning Fee £30
Damage Deposit £100

Rates include electricity, central heating, bed linens, towels, internet, and cleaning.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund for cancellations more than 30 days before check-in date.
  • 100% refund for cancellations more than 60 days before check-in date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.

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