Polanach is a Scottish dream. It sits on a secluded lane surrounded by fields grazed peacefully by sheep, horses and cows with the sparkling waters of Loch Linnhe 150 metres from the door. The cottage is ideal for a couple or a family, sleeping four in two bedrooms: a double and a twin. The friendly village of Appin is a two-mile drive, cycle or walk away where you will find a cafe and gift shop perched above panoramic views of Castle Stalker (seat of the Stewarts of Appin since 1388) and the islands of Shuna, Lismore and Mull – truly a photographer’s paradise. Nearby is The Old Inn with its fast-growing reputation for traditional Scottish cuisine. Four miles further on is Port Appin with its well-stocked general store, post office, fascinating craft shop and ferry to Lismore (Gaelic for ‘Great Garden’).
Appin is remote enough to be peaceful but the tourist centres of Oban and Fort William are an easy drive away (35 and 40 minutes respectively). But with so much natural beauty all around you’ll certainly want to stop on the way, maybe to explore the many shingle beaches, or the sandy one at Benderloch. Or you may prefer to hop on your bike as Polanach is right on National Cycle Route 78, many stretches of which keeps a charming distance from the main road: ideal for exploring Glen Creran and the ancient native woodland of Glasdrum. The cycle route also takes you to the Scottish Sea Life Centre where, if you haven’t already seen them on the shores of Loch Linnhe, you will certainly meet otters, seal pups and weird and wonderful fish.
Oban is a fantastic port town with lots to see and do. If the weather is wet, head indoors for a tour of the distillery. If it’s dry, explore the ruins of Dunstaffnage Castle. Or take a boat for a tour of Mull, Iona and Staffa, keeping an eye out for spectacular marine wildlife on the way.
You may opt for Fort William for more adrenalin-fuelled adventure: kayaking, white-water rafting, canyoning, mountain-biking. Maybe you’re in to climbing. Ben Nevis is here and a little further South the awe-inspiring peaks of Glencoe, arguably the most spectacular mountain scenery in Britain. For a more relaxing day, take the ‘Jacobite’ steam train from Fort William to Mallaig, via the famous ‘Harry Potter’ viaduct and Glenfinnan.
After a day filled with new sights and experiences you can return to the comfort of Polanach, relax in the garden (itself a haven of wildlife) or light up the wood-burning stove. And around dusk, if you’re lucky, you may meet the pine marten!
Tom Coates joined Independent Cottages in September 2017
Polanach is a traditional style bungalow with accommodation all on one level. It has central heating throughout so it is warm and cosy all year round.
Outside: The mature garden has views across fields towards the water. There is a burn running through the grounds. Parents need to be aware of this with children as the banks are quite steep in places, but there is a safe spot to paddle. There is a paved area near the house, with garden furniture stored in the garage. A garage provides secure storage for bikes, fishing, skiing and other sporting equipment, and there is off-street parking.
Additional Information: Short breaks and flexible changeover days are possible in low season depending on availability. Linen and towels are included in the cost, as are all utilities and a basket of logs for the wood burning stove. No smoking. Unfortunately no pets.