The tranquil Scottish island of Eilean Shona already has eight rustic retreats to escape to and for the 2021 season there’s a ninth – called Timber Cottage.
Eilean Shona is privately owned by Vanessa Branson and over the years she’s created nine cosy cottages scattered over the island that are available to rent (sleeping 2-8 guests). Each cottage comes with its own fire pit. Three of them are gas-lit, off-grid and beautifully romantic places to stay.
Timber Cottage is a single-storey with one bedroom and features tongue and groove panelling that’s been whitewashed to make the most of the natural light.
Luxurious touches include a Victorian roll-top bath and splashes of colour from the textiles and furnishings sourced from Marrakech.
It’s a contemporary space – with kilims alongside tartan, an open fire, Moroccan rugs and Egyptian cotton bed linen and towels.
The cottage is just a 15 minute walk from the island’s landing stage and it’s also close to the former village hall, which now acts as the island’s internet hub, with its wi-fi/phone signal, ping pong table, reference books and board games.
To get there, drive 3-hours from Glasgow to Dorlin Pier. A rib then picks guests up for the five minute seas crossing. A quad and trailer transports guests’ luggage and provisions to/from the cottage on arrival and departure. Alternatively you can take the sleeper train to Fort William which is an hour’s drive away.
The island was once owned by a seafaring captain who brought back rare trees and plants from his travels so today Eilean Shona boasts one of the most diverse pinetum plantations in Europe.
Spend the days building camp fires, cooking the fresh mussels (freely available in a help-yourself bag on the landing stage), crabbing, painting, picnicing, or discovering the island’s many coastal and woodland paths.
The coastline is ideal for wild swimming, sea kayaking, paddle boarding and generally messing about on boats. All of the cottages are within walking distance of Shoe Bay, Eilean Shona’s own secluded silver sand beach which is lapped by an aquamarine sea. In the summer, as the island’s waters warm up, there’s the chance to spot dolphins, minke whales and even basking sharks.
One week’s rental of Timber Cottage on Eilean Shona (eileanshona.com, +44 (0)1967 431249) costs £1,100 including towels, bedlinen, and return transfers to the mainland. Dogs aren’t suitable for Timber Cottage, but some of the other cottages are.