Situated on one of western Scotland's most beautiful yet least visited lochs – Loch Etive – this comfortable self-catering holiday cottage is the perfect answer for anyone seeking a properly remote, off-grid place to stay that's also not too hard to reach. Down a forest track on the western side of the long crooked sea loch of Loch Etive, two miles from any sort of proper road, it's accessible by car (preferably but not necessarily a 4x4), or by sea, but that's about it. Once here, it's about as peaceful and remote a spot as you could find in the UK, yet you're only a two-hour drive from Scotland's most populated region.
A single-storey stone cottage right by the water's edge, Craig Cottage (to give it its proper name) is the sort of place that people come back to year after year. There are two bedrooms – one double, one twin – so it's an ideal place for a family of four looking for somewhere to spend a week without phones and Facebook, instead getting up close to nature, which is all around. There is no mains electricity, only a generator to provide lighting (if you want it); the kitchen stove and fridge are powered by gas, and heat comes from the wood-burning stove in the sitting room, which provides hot water that also fills the radiators, keeping the house warm and cosy at all times. There is plenty of free wood and kindling, and also plenty to gather nearby if you want to really get into the off-grid experience. Both bedrooms have lovely views of the loch, and big comfy beds with new mattresses and good quality linen; there's a family bathroom (with bath) and the loft has been converted to a play den for the kids, with crafts and games – plus there are lots of books and other activities throughout the property for wet-weather days. Outside there's a garden, but really the entire landscape here is yours to enjoy pretty much as far as the eye can see.
The property is dog-friendly, and it's hard to imagine a better place to bring your dog on holiday. Just don't bring anyone who craves wi-fi or needs a coffeeshop around the corner. This is a place to enjoy the UK at its most wild and untamed, with fast-running rivers, native forests and of course the loch itself, much of which is inaccessible by road. There's plenty to explore nearby – Etive is almost fjord-like in places, with high mountains on either side and depths of up to 150m. You could visit the Falls of Lora, where it flows into the sea, or take a boat tour from Dunstaffnage or hire a boat on the loch from Taynnuilt; while at the opposite end, Allt Easach and Glen Etive are delightfully unspoilt, with plenty of opportunities for kayaking and wild swimming. There are a number of points along the shore from which you can launch your own boat or kayak.
But the beauty of this place is that you're already in a beautiful environment, and can just stay put and enjoy the local wildlife – the woods around the house are home to roe, fallow and red deer, there are otters in the loch and pine martens visit the house almost daily. You can also swim from right in front of the cottage or further up the loch in a shallow bay. And if you end up missing city life, Oban is just a half an hour's drive away (and is worth visiting even if you're not). Otherwise just hunker down and enjoy the cottage: there aren't many places in the UK like it.
The Owner Says
Our favourite spotPerfect for families who need a bit of time away together. The loft room is set up as a den for wet days, with games and craft activities for children of all ages. The garden is a tamed wilderness with fire pit, and a den making kit. The surrounding woodland gives ample opportunities for play and exploring. Bring your bikes for exploring the track that takes you further up the loch.
The local area
I love being able to spend time in nature, and areas that are truly wild .... but only a half hour drive from an M&S Foodhall! We do have the best of both worlds here, with stunning views in every direction but also the security of knowing that we have a great local town (Oban) that can cater for almost everything you may need.
Best local places to eat and drink
You're spoilt for choice in Oban with a wide range of restaurants but the ones I go back to are Cuan Mor in Oban (good menu with sensible prices) and Poppies Garden Centre for lunch and afternoon teas on the way in to Oban. Who can resist a cream meringue the size of a melon?!
Why stay with us?
Sitting eating your dinner with a pine marten munching his just the other side of the window is a highlight for many guests.
AccommodationOne off-grid cottage, comfortably sleeping 4 people in a double and a twin bedroom.
PricePrice per week £500–£600.
Opening TimesAvailable April to September.
The cottage lies two miles up the track from Bonawe Quarry a bumpy, 20-minute ride; the track is in good condition and most vehicles should be able to access the cottage without problems; just don't come in your Porsche. There isn’t really a full address and postcode for the cottage – the one given is for the quarry, which you drive through to get to the cottage. Craig is marked on google maps, and if you search for the postcode you’ll see it a couple of miles northeast of the quarry. Access by water is also possible, but only if you know what you are doing – the nature of the loch and its high mountains mean there can be squalls and unpredictable wind conditions at any time.
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