Remote Holiday Cottages- Eilean Shona Review
Have you heard of Eilean Shona? Probably not, we certainly hadn’t until stumbling upon it in the weekend newspaper. This hidden gem is an island located in the Inner Hebrides, just off Loch Moidart. A complete return to nature and relaxation, it is home to 7 remote holiday cottages and one very grand house… and no other humans, shops, cars etc. We had the pleasure of visiting the island and fell completely in love with it.
Owned by the Devereux-Branson family since 1995, Shona has been owned by about 4 other families prior to this and was inhabited by crofters in the 18th century. In the 1920’s author J.M Barrie visited the island and it is believed that Shona was the inspiration for Neverland in his novel Peter Pan and I can see why. With so many varying landscapes this really is a magical island.
Getting to the island:
Eilean Shona is car-free so park at the designated spot and wait for your ride to the island- by RIB boat! The ride takes about 10 minutes after which you are escorted to your accommodation by quad bike, settled in by the super friendly staff and then left in you holiday home to enjoy your break. Staff can be contacted if you need them but otherwise leave you in peace for the rest of your holiday.
The dogs were not sure what to make of the boat ride but were pretty calm and quite enjoyed it we think.
Preparing for island life:
You need to be really prepared to holiday here as once on the island you are unable to stock up, so do be organised with your meals and provisions. As greedy foodies, we mapped out every single meal of course! There is a tiny shop on the island (which is only open for an hour a couple of times a week) for the basic necessities like bread, milk and fire lighters. This lack of the usual conveniences really added to our sense of relaxation and we enjoyed the time and space to bake our own bread and cakes.
Your food needs to travel so try to take things that are not too fragile and pack them well. We took a padded cool bag. You do have the opportunity to go over to the mainland once during your stay if you are really stuck for provisions but we were keen not to do this and wanted to maximise our island time. Do make sure that you take good quality walking footwear and clothing as weather frequently changes and some of the walks are quire rugged and challenging.
The remote holiday cottages:
You are able to choose how off grid you go with your choice of accommodation. We stayed in White Cottage so had comforts such as electricity, heating, and a wood burning stove. There is no Television so if you like to relax in front of a screen load an iPad. We were also only a couple of minutes from the main path. The furnishings were comfortable and the cottage was warm, important after a long day of exploring.
For more seclusion you can hire the Shepherds Cottage which has a gas fridge and cooker but no electricity and is a 45 minute walk from the drop off point. For a touch of island luxury, hire The House- 9 luxurious bedrooms and fully catered for the perfect pampering family getaway.
We saw the most beautiful red deer and Pine Martens during our stay. There is an amazing array of creatures great and small to see here- our dogs deterred the shyer ones we think! You may be lucky enough to see red squirrel, owls, buzzards, eagles, and a basking sharks or dolphin on the coastline- all living happily in this tranquil space
What to do on the island:
There is so much to do on the island- all activities are self organised and nature based. We loved finding the beach and also exploring the unmarked paths. This is a truly back to nature holiday so think reading, writing, painting, drawing, photography and other really peaceful and tranquil activities.
For the daring visitor, go wild swimming, cliff scrabbling or bolder leaping! Whatever you plan to do, take all of your equipment with you.
Other activities are available from the mainland if you choose to go back during your stay (for example cooking classes, pottery, clay pigeon shooting). You are able to get some wifi signal at the ‘Village Hall’ which also has table tennis and some games etc. if you want to check in with civilization.
Dog friendly Shona:
The island is so peaceful and dogs needing space will be in their element. You do need to be mindful of ‘the locals’ so keep your dog on a lead if they are likely to chase or harm the wildlife. We didn’t take dog beds and wished that we had so do consider taking a portable bed and of course plenty of dog food and any first aid you may need whilst there.
This really was an experience like no other for us. I urge anyone loving peaceful, secluded places to visit to book a stay here. The island is simply stunning and the wildlife breath-taking- in the words of J.M Barrie “A wild rocky romantic island it is too.”
See our other dog friendly recommendations here.