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On the Doorstep: Embrace Authentic Scotland and Discover Hidden Gems!

Camus Mor, West Coast of Scotland. By lucentius from Getty Images Signature

Welcome to “On the Doorstep,” the first blog in our Embrace Authentic Scotland series.

Here, we invite you to experience Scotland at a leisurely pace, savouring the local culture, magnificent landscapes, and warm community spirit. Through self-catering holidays, we believe in the magic of exploring close to your “home away from home”, discovering the charm and authenticity that lie just beyond your doorstep.

Our aim is to inspire you to not only enrich your own experiences but also support the local communities you visit whilst on your self-catering holiday. Here’s how:

  • Shopping Local: Support small businesses and local markets to get a real taste of regional specialties and craftsmanship.
  • Exploring ‘What’s on the Doorstep’: Venture ‘off the beaten track’ to discover the less travelled paths and hidden gems that Scotland offers.
  • Embracing local flavours: From local eateries and farm shops to coastal fisheries, Scotland offers an incredible culinary experience to be enjoyed at a relaxed pace.

Nurturing slow adventure: Whether you walk, stroll, paddleboard or bike, there are plenty of activities that are off the beaten track to explore. Make sure you check in with your host / owner to find the true gems ‘on the doorstep’.

Featured Businesses:

In this two-part blog series, we shine a spotlight on eight unique self-catering businesses that embody the spirit of “Embrace Authentic Scotland”. Each offers a glimpse into the local life and culture, providing enriching experiences just steps away from your self-catering holiday home.

By embracing what’s on your doorstep and adopting a slow travel mindset, you get to forge deeper connections with the places you visit, creating memories that last a lifetime.

The Benefits of Self-Catering Holidays

Self-catering holidays offer the freedom to create your own itinerary and explore at your own speed. They provide:

  • Flexibility: Plan your days without the constraints of strict schedules.
  • Comfort: Stay in accommodation that feels like home, most will have a kitchen to prepare local produce.
  • Embrace Local: Live like a local, with easy access to nearby attractions and hidden gems.
Part One: Self-Catering Properties in the Western Scottish Highlands
Ecotone Cabins:  Lochbroom, Ullapool, Wester Ross, Scottish Highlands

Capacity: Red Squirrel: Sleeps 1-2, Pine Marten: Sleeps 2-4

Embrace Authentic Scotland by staying at Ecotone Cabins in the Scottish Highlands near the coastal town of Ullapool.  The cabins are situated in a private clearing on the edge of a 32-hectare woodland. Ecotone cabins dedicated to Regenerative Tourism which includes encouraging longer stays, allowing guests to truly experience and savour what’s “on the doorstep”

Images from left to right: Stac Pollaidh, Ecotone Holiday Cabin, Ardmair Beach

Embrace ‘On the doorstep’ from Ecotone Cabins:

  1. Ardmair Beach: Just a short stroll away, this beach is ideal and easily accessible for Wild Swimming and is awesome for sunset views, and if you are lucky, you may get a glimpse of the northern lights (aurora borealis).
  2. Lael Forest Walks: Discover a range of woodland trails suitable for all abilities, ideal for family outings or when the coastal winds pick up.
  3. Stac Pollaidh Ridge and Circuit: For the adventurous, plan a hike up one of Scotland’s most iconic mountains.
  4. Summer Isles Sea Kayaking: Paddle through pristine waters to explore deserted islands, wild coastlines, and sandy beaches. Spot otters, seals, and puffins along the way. Trips cater to all skill levels.

The owners of Ecotone Cabins can offer guests plenty more inside information of what is ‘on the doorstep’ and help them experience some of the ‘off the beaten track’ hidden gems that often escape online listings!

Chasing the Moon:  Isle of Skye, Scottish Highlands

Capacity: Sleeps 6

“Listen to the silence. Be still. Let your soul catch up”

Embrace breathtaking views in your home away from home, luxury self-catering cottage on the Isle of Skye. Situated in the northeast of Skye, this hidden gem is the perfect place for recharging without straying far from your doorstep.

Images from left to right: Rhuba nam Brathairean – Brothers Point, view from the Chasing the Moon, Isle of Skye Natural Dye Company

Embrace ‘On the Doorstep’ from Chasing the Moon:

  1. Revel in the remoteness: Simply be still, rest your mind, body and soul and enjoy a slower pace of life. Enjoy the simple pleasures of taking things slowly and enjoy gentle activities right from your doorstep. Savour the first light of dawn as it paints the sky in hues of pink and gold. Or imagine curling up with a good book, occasionally looking up at the breathtaking views surrounding your temporary home.
  2. Brothers Point (Rhuba nam Brathairean): Walk from the cottage to this secluded viewpoint, famed for its dinosaur footprints visible at low tide. Timing is crucial, the site and footprint treasure is only exposed at low tide.
  3. The Isle of Skye Natural Dye Company: Explore this local gem which continues the Shilasdair tradition of dyeing yarns with natural dyes gathered from local roots, barks, leaves and with mindful processes to reveal natures secret colours. You can also visit Skye Weavers in Glendale who use the dye for their woven tweeds and textiles.
  4. The Hungry Gull Cafe: Located in the Staffin Community Centre is the Hungry Gull Café! Big portions, local coffee roasted on the Isle of Skye, vegan options and some great specials including Cullin Skink a famous Scottish fish soup. Check their Facebook page to make sure they are open when you visit!
Foresters Lodge: by Glenfinnan, Strontian, Ardnamurchan

Capacity: Sleeps 2

“For lovers of wildlife and each other!”

Embrace this luxury romantic wildlife retreat for couples. This pet friendly lodge is tucked away in a secluded glen near Loch Shiel overlooking Polloch River. At Foresters Lodge you can truly slow down by spending your days on foot or bike, and leave your vehicle untouched during your stay.

Images from at or around Foresters Lodge

Embrace ‘On the Doorstep’ from Foresters Lodge

  1. Experience the magnificent Scottish Wildlife: from Pine Martens visiting the veranda most evenings to Barn Owls nesting close by and magnificent Golden Eagles and White-Tailed Sea Eagles swooping overhead, this is the perfect place to switch off and enjoy watching truly magnificent Scottish wildlife ‘on the doorstep’.
  2. Homemade Wood-Fired Pizza to your door: Foresters Lodge deliver homemade wood-fired pizza to your doorstep exclusively from their own wood-oven!
  3. Ardnamurchan Peninsula: Explore trails through productive forests rich in wildlife, with stunning views of Loch Shiel and Loch Doilet. Discover historical sites like the Corrantee lead mines. The woods, rivers and lochs are full of wildlife including red deer, golden eagles and the rare black throated diver. You can explore quiet trails for superb views of Loch Shiel, Loch Doilet and the River Polloch. Take a look at Glen Hurich Forest.
  4. Water Activities: With Loch Shiel and Loch Doilet just moments away, immerse yourself in water-based fun. Try fly fishing or a scenic boating trip from Polloch pontoon on Loch Shiel. For slow adventurers, take time to explore remote bays with a kayak or paddleboard—perfect for a quiet escape ‘off the beaten track’. Foresters Lodge offers convenient storage for your wet gear (and bikes too).

Stay tuned for part two of this blog, where we’ll explore even more incredible properties and share insider tips on the best local attractions and hidden gems right on your doorstep. You won’t want to miss it!

In the meantime, stay inspired by visiting our social media, EmbraceScotland and our inspiration pages for ideas on specific holiday types. If you’re looking for last-minute accommodation or summer offers, check out our late availability page and offers page for the latest availability and deals.

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