Ardnish, Lochaber, Scotland
Today’s cool place is as remote a spot as you'll find in the British Isles – 3,000 acres or so of the remote Ardnish peninsula on the west coast of Scotland and a house (Laggan) from which to enjoy it. It’s not for everyone, naturally. But its drawbacks may just be the things that make you want to visit: you can only get here by boat, and even then only when the tides allow; it has no electricity; there's a very limited mobile reception and no broadband or phone; and you're a half-day's walk from your nearest neighbour. If this sort of thing appeals to you, however, you can be sure that there are few other such places available for rent in Britain, and almost none that deliver quite so much peace, space and solitude.
Having no electricity simply means that you have to use oil lamps for light, but the house has heating, a fridge, cooker, hot water, a radio for listening to the shipping forecast and two comfy bedrooms plus a box room that together can sleep five people. You obviously have to be very organised about provisions – it's a three-hour hike to borrow a cup of sugar – but the boat (with outboard) is there for your own private use and it's only a ten-minute journey across to the mainland.
As for the hinterland of Ardnish, it's pretty much yours to discover – almost entirely deserted, and populated mainly by deer, who roam a landscape of bare hills, forest, several lochs, and a fabulous coastline of pure white sand beaches, interspersed with the ruins of a hundred abandoned houses that testify to how hard life once was here. A long day's walking (or just pottering about) without seeing a soul, before returning to your cosy cottage, is sometimes just what the soul needs.
Cool Places is a website from the creators of Rough Guides and Cool Camping, suggesting the best places to stay, eat, drink and shop in Britain (coolplaces.co.uk)
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