Favourite places to watch the sunset

Favourite places to watch the sunset

My favourite places to watch the sunset are all on the farm at Treshnish or within a few miles! I prefer not to get in the car, but if I time my return home carefully I sometimes detour to Croig or Calgary!

Sunsets all year round

It never occurred to us when we decided to come and live at Treshnish to think about sunsets.  So we are very lucky that actually we can enjoy sunsets all year round.  Sunsets can be enjoyed from the cottages themselves but I enjoy finding a nice spot to sit and watch the sunset along the shore, either below the Treshnish Cottages or along at Haunn.

Autumn and winter sunsets

In the autumn the sunsets are sliding back towards the Treshnish Isles so the coast along from the Haunn Cottages makes a great viewing point.  You might even see some migrating Whooper swans!  In the middle of winter the sun sets due west so Duill Cottage has wonderful views from its sitooterie. Over the field and woodland towards Tiree in the distance. From the farmhouse I enjoy the silhouettes of the trees and the rich colours beyond.

favourite places to watch Sunset Shian and Duill Treshnish Cottages Mull winter

As summer progresses

As the longer summer days begin to approach mid summer, the sunsets roll up the low island of Coll on our horizon towards the north end, and can be enjoyed from all four Treshnish Cottages.  I love to walk down in to the fields below and watch it from the edge of the raised beach field, with the sunset colours reflecting on the sea.  Just now, at the end of May, the bluebells are wonderful and glow in the evening light.  The scent is quite magical too!  This photograph of the Treshnish Isles with the Bog cotton in the foreground is taken on Treshnish Point.  A short walk from the Haunn Cottages, it makes a stunning vantage point.

favourite places to watch sunset Treshnish cottages Mull bog cotton

Croig harbour

Croig harbour is one of my very favourite places to watch the sunset.  Especially when the tide is high.  It is about 5 miles drive from Treshnish, and there are wonderful walks from there at other times of day!

Treshnish Cottages Mull Croig favourite places to watch sunset

Calgary Beach

This photograph was taken in the autumn.  I was driving home and realised the sun was setting quite dramatically so I decided to stop for a look! A group of photographers out with their tripods making the most of the wonderful sunset sky.  There is nothing nicer than walking along the beach, listening to the tide gently rolling in and out, and watching the colours of the sunset light up the sea and the sky.

Treshnish Mull cottages favourite places to watch sunset Calgary

 

Mountain everlasting

Mountain everlasting

Treshnish Mull cottages Mountain Everlasting

Mountain everlasting could be described as insignificant I suppose.  It is a small and pale flower so initially it can be difficult to spot!   However I recommend really looking for it, and in the right place, you should find it.

Where to look

These tiny alpine plants can be found in little clumps on the rocky edges of the raised beaches near the Haunn Cottages.  Lie down (taking care not to crush nearby orchids or other delicacies) and really look at it!  There are male and female flowers, and they can grow in separate or mixed clumps.   Living up to its name, everlasting, it can be seen all summer if you look carefully!

It is very easy when out walking to concentrate so much on the variety of wildlife in the skies, that you miss what is growing at your feet!  The fields at Treshnish are just beginning to flower nicely.  I have seen the first Wood Bitter-vetch!  There are plenty of Primrose still flowering as well as Wood Anemone, Tormentil, and Heath pea, to name but a few.

Latin names..

I really should be using the Latin names and perhaps that should be my challenge for 30 Days Wild this year? For example…. the Latin name for Heath pea is Lathyrus linifolius.  However Heath pea is sometimes called Bitter vetch, and this could confuse it with the rare Wood bitter vetch, Vicia Oribus.  This grows in quantity at Treshnish, flowering in May and June.

Treshnish Mull Cottages Mountain Everlasting habitat

Early purple orchids

Early purple orchids flower at the same time as Mountain everlasting. They cling to the edges of the cliffs in the field beyond the Haunn Cottages in the photograph above.  Strong colours make them easier to see!

Treshnish Mull cottages Early purple orchid

Dog violets

Dog violets are also found in great number on the farm too. They often grow amongst the Primroses, and they seem to love these cliffs too.

Dog violet Treshnish Mull Cottages Treshnish Isles

 

 

The best beaches on Mull

Best beaches on Mull

We are often asked what the best beaches on Mull are.  It is a difficult one to answer of course because it all depends what you want from your beach.

best beaches on mull treshnish cottages marram grasses

Near Treshnish

Calgary Beach is our nearest beach.  It is considered not just one of the best beaches on Mull but in Scotland!    The shallow slope of the beach and the sandy seabed make it this wonderful wonderful turquoise, whatever the weather.  Even on the darkest day in the winter, with wild storms raging, the bay is turquoise – although perhaps a little duller than these photographs.

best beaches on mull treshnish cottages blue skies

The shallow beach makes it popular with families – for picnicking, swimming, paddling, mucking about in boats, playing beach games at low tide.  And lots more besides.  Early in the morning it is peaceful and quiet – share it with the oystercatchers and the sand martins.  On sunny days, even when ‘busy’ there always seems to be room for everyone!

best beaches on Mull treshnish cottages calgary beach

At Treshnish

Treshnish has four miles of coastline with several ‘beaches’ and coves where you can access the sea shore.   The beaches are rocky and shaley rather than sandy.   Just beyond Haunn at the bottom of the old track is the beach where Donald Sutherland gets shot in the film ‘Eye of a Needle’ filmed here (and at Loch Buie) in 1981.  People still talk about the filming and how much locals were paid for standing by a gate all day. They had to open and close them when anyone needed to get through!  The shepherd here at the time said he had cutting peats up by the roadside and some of the film crew left a box of beers for them by the peat stack.

Why do I think this is one of the best beaches?  It is in a beautiful location, miles off the main road. Wonderful views in every direction and plenty of interest, in rock pools and natural geological features.

Friends of Calgary Bay

Friends of Calgary Bay is a group which was set up a few years ago, to try and protect the bay area.   Recently they have been fundraising to fence of the machair.  Machair is a shell sand grassland found in only a few places on the island.  This site is a SSSI (site of special scientific interest) however it needs protecting.  If you would like to support the work of FOCB please look at their Facebook page.

Shieling review

Shieling review

To read the Shieling review written by Visit Scotland Ambassador Ellis O’Connor, please click on the link here.   One of the lovely things about running a self catering business is meeting the guests, and Ellis was no exception! We had come across each other on Instagram and it was great to meet her face to face.  She made the most of her few days here, managing to get across to Iona and down to Carsaig in the one day! Thank you Ellis for coming to stay with us, we will look forward to seeing you again.

In other news

The weather has continued to be amazing!   Perhaps I should apologise for posting too many sunsets but they have been wonderful and it seems a shame not to.

Shieling Review Treshnish Mull cottages sunset

Wild flowers

The wild flowers are coming… this evening I went along the shore below the Treshnish Cottages and found lots of Thrift (sea pinks) on the rocks, Bluebells growing along the cliffs, and Marsh Marigolds in the boggy areas.   Spring is so worth waiting for! I have put some photographs up on the farm blog.

Sundog

It was lovely to see a Sundog last night as the sun was beginning to set.

Sundog Treshnish Mull cottages review Shieling

How’s the lambing going?

Well I think it is beginning to slow down now.  We think about 90% of the ewes have lambed now,  and the strain is beginning to show on Farmer.  All the very early starts and energetic days checking the fields and walking out along the coast and on the hill.  I was in Oban yesterday and when I got back I discovered that he and Daughter had put up 2 hammocks down in the birch trees below the house.  In fact we spent down half an hour there late afternoon today, relaxing in the sun, away from work.  It was completely blissful.

Review Shieling Treshnish Cottages Mull hammock

Looking ahead

As I was walking this evening I was thinking about the blogs I have written and what I really enjoy.  I started the farm blog in 2009 and just wrote whatever I felt like writing.  Guests would mention it and say they enjoyed it, which was very kind. And I just kept doing it.  If I had lots to share I would write almost every day.  If not then more sporadically.  I had a daily photo blog too, and I have just posted my last photograph on that, because I do Instagram instead.

Since starting the blog on the website I have done a few blog writing courses and been taught different ways of doing it, to maximise SEO and so on. To be honest, I think it has spoiled the art, for me, of just honestly sharing our story.    I think I have decided to go back to just telling the story, and hope the keywords come of their own accord!  So watch this space!

Treshnish Mull cottages sunset Shieling review

Wifi on the Isle of Mull

Wifi on the Isle of Mull

A question we are often asked is regarding the availability of wifi on the Isle of Mull – and here at Treshnish!  We have all become increasingly dependent on the internet – for work, for pleasure, for keeping in touch with family and friends.   It is understandable therefore that, for many, it is a consideration when choosing holiday accommodation!

Treshnish Mull Cottages wifi sea views

We have Satellite!

Being 8 miles from Dervaig means we are too far from the telephone exchange to receive a broadband signal via the phone cable.  So Treshnish relies on satellite broadband which is costly and limited.  We consider ourselves lucky to have anything at all.  We can remember the painful process of trying to access the internet via dial up and going off to make a cup of tea whilst the internet page loaded!    So satellite is a great stop gap, whilst we wait for the Community Broadband Gigaplus Argyll connection to come through.  The biggest package we have been able to buy has a download limit.  We all have to be careful not to use too much – to avoid our internet access being ‘throttled’.

Internet connection in the cottages at Treshnish

We have plans to put internet into the four cottages at Treshnish – as soon as we can be connected to the Community Broadband project currently being rolled out across the island…hopefully by Easter 2018.

Haunn Mull Cottages blackhouses wifi

Community Broadband

Gigaplus Argyll is a government funded scheme to connect remote locations with fast broadband.  For locations like ours it will make a huge difference as we will be able to purchase several packages.  Our plan is to connect the 4 Treshnish Cottages so there is wifi in each cottage.  Unfortunately we will not be able to connect Haunn under the current Community Broadband Scheme.  There is no funding to pay for the mast to relay the signal a mile further and ’round the corner’ to Haunn.   However we will keep a wifi connection in the Phone Room for Haunn guests to use.

Treshnish Mull Cottages aurora wifi

The Phone Room

In the meantime we have a satellite Wifi connection in the Phone Room. Our guests are welcome to use this to check emails and weather forecasts.  Unfortunately this is not sufficient for downloading/uploading large files or streaming movies.

3G/4G Mobile signal

We do have good Vodafone and EE mobile signal here – thanks to another Scottish government funded scheme which enabled the community on the Isle of Coll to put up a mobile phone mast.   Guests from the USA told me the other day that they had easily streamed programmes on their phones in Shian Cottage.  I find I can do the same in the farmhouse!

Digital Detox

We go on holiday to the Outer Hebrides every summer. We stay in a simple cottage by the sea which has no mobile reception or internet connection.  It is a shock for the first few days (especially for the teenager) but it becomes a wonderful slowing down digital detox once we have adapted.   I hope guests coming to stay with us will feel the same – there is internet for the urgent things.  But actually it is quite nice to feel the quietness that comes from not being connected all the time. And there is always the beach….

2018 and 2019 bookings

2018 and 2019 bookings

We have just uploaded the prices and dates for 2018 and 2019 bookings in the Treshnish & Haunn Cottages.  Usually we do the dates one year at a time, but this year we have decided to do two years in one go so that, if you are like me and like to plan ahead, then you can do just that!

You can book for 2018 and/or make a provisional booking for 2019 (at 2018 prices) by going to the Make a Booking page here.

2017 bookings are going fast and we don’t have many spaces left now in the summer too, so if you haven’t booked yet and would like to… Please have a look here for vacancies for 2017.

Treshnish Mull cottages 2018 and 2019 bookings aurora Shian Cottage

No price increase for 2019 bookings

We have kept the prices for 2019 at the same level as 2018.  We are happy for guests to provisionally book for 2019 now – but confirm with payment of the non-refundable deposit in March 2018.  Please email us so we can explain how to do this!

2018 and 2019 bookings Treshnish Mull Cottages coastline

17.5% discount for 2 week bookings over Christmas and New Year 2017/2018

It feels odd, the weekend of the Spring Bank Holiday to be looking at photographs of Christmas. Returning guests have just made two week booking for Duill Cottage for Christmas which made me think of it!  We are offering a 17.5% discount when booking for 2 weeks including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  Happy to be flexible with the arrival and departure dates.  Midwinter can be a wonderful time to be on the island, the days are shorter and it is snug and cosy in at the fireside of an evening. Even a chance of the Northern Lights! Please contact us for details of the discount.

2018 and 2019 bookings Treshnish Mull Cottages Christmas candles

Make a Booking

Please get in touch if you have any queries about how to make 2018 and 2019 bookings.  We will consider short breaks and longer stays in the low and winter season.

Mull days April

April draws to a close

Easter is weeks behind us now as Mull days April draw to a close.  Lambing is well on its way.  The blossom is out on the blackthorn.  We have had snow on the hills so it must be the end of April as this seems to happen every year!  The days are getting longer and this weekend is the May Bank Holiday!  Where did those Mull days in April go?!

Treshnish mull island cottages April postbox

Lambing

I joined Farmer the other evening when he went to check the ewes in the fields around the cottages. The Haunn field is where Farmer is keeping the ewes expecting twins.  More than half of them have lambed now and as the lambs grow up they become more and more playful.  It is lovely watching little gangs of lambs chasing each other across the field or playing king of the castle jumping off rocks, tails flying! For more lamb photographs please have a look at our other blog!

Treshnish Mull island cottages April twin lambs

Peace and quiet

East Cottage looked inviting in the evening light.  I am always reminded at this time of year, one of our first Easters here.  We had worked hard all winter to get things ready for the first guests of the season.  It was Easter Saturday.  The sun was shining, about this time of day.  We came down to meet all the guests.   At this time there was no electricity at Haunn, and it was important to make sure everyone understood how to use the gas lights and heaters.   It was so peaceful and quiet, and everyone was standing around outside their cottages chatting and admiring the view.   As we left to go home, a group of Snow Geese flew overhead as the children staying the cottages ran wild out in the open.  It reminded me how lucky we are to have all this space and beauty around us.

Treshnish Mull cottages island blackhouses april

Mull days April

Every year we have a visit from the SRUC Countryside Management Students from Ayrshire.    We walk round the in-by fields as Farmer explained the practise behind our High Nature Value Farming ethos.   It is always interesting to see what we are doing through other people’s eyes – and there is always something to learn too.   It was a beautiful afternoon and very nice to have an excuse to be outside for a walk.

Treshnish Mull island cottages tree sea view april

5 of the best Mull day trips

The best Mull day trips

There are many wonderful day trips to be taken on Mull, and I thought I would share 5 of (what I consider to be) the best Mull day trips with you here on our blog. This is the first of the five!

First trip to Mull?

If its your first stay on Mull, you may want to see it all and I hope these blogs will help you decide.  We often have guests here at Treshnish who have never been to Mull before and who spend every day out in the car exploring the island.  Others will not use the car for the whole time they are here.  Most enjoy a mixture of the two – some day trips using the car and the rest of their stay spent relaxing and exploring here on the farm.

Treshnish Mull cottages Ulva best Mull day trip

First Choice

My first choice of best Mull day trips would have to be a trip to Ulva.  The drive from Treshnish follows Loch Tuath down to Ulva Ferry. This is where you catch the little private ferry across to the Isle of Ulva.

Treshnish Cottages Best Mull day trips Ulva Boathouse sign

The Isle of Ulva

Once on the island there are lovely walks to take of varying lengths.  If you are feeling very energetic you can walk all the way up to Gometra and back, but make sure you are back in time for the last ferry!   You can walk across to Cragaig on the south side, a beautiful remote cottage by the sea, and a couple of tiny but usually extremely private beaches beyond.  Closer to the ferry is the woodland walk, and the track which takes you up to the church.   As we don’t normally have long on the island we really enjoy walking through the woodland and along the shore.

Treshnish cottages best Mull day trip Ulva shore walk

Eating on Ulva

No visit to Ulva would be complete without a stop in at the Boathouse.  In my opinion it is the best view of any eatery on the islands.   Sit on one of the benches outside, have lunch or tea and some of their home baking.  Soak up the view.   Across to Ben More, Mull’s Munro.. over the water back to Mull.. isn’t it a slice of heaven?

Treshnish Cottages best Mull day trip Ulva circuit walk

The best picnic

The best picnic

I think possibly this could be the best picnic so far this year, and I had quite a few last week on the Isle of Harris!  It is Sunday the 2nd of April.  Lambing hasn’t started yet. The sun is shining and we have friends staying so some time off is definitely in order. We all, young and old(er),  head down to the stony beach below the house.

Treshnish Mull Cottages cook best picnic

The energy efficient cook-up

Because it has been raining we take some kindling sticks with us rather than picking up dry (dead) twigs from the woodland.  We want to try out the Ezy Stove that Farmer was given for Christmas.  This is an energy efficient design, which is hoped will save forest timber and collecting and carrying time in India and Africa where traditionally cooking has been done with labour intensive fuel wood. Our verdict is that it is a really good stove.  We have a heavy duty frying pan and so didn’t need charcoal to heat up sufficiently or make a huge log fire, it literally only took a few sticks and some dry bracken to get it going.

The best ingredients

To cook – we have shopped locally!  We have both gluten free and cheese and onion Island Pork sausages (from Mull Cheese). I bought home some black pudding from Stornoway but normally we would have Mull made black pudding too!

The best view?

This is pure bias – but I love the view below the Treshnish Cottages!  It seems like the best view to me.  Straight out to sea and the Isle of Coll on the horizon.  No need to get in the car and drive. It is a 10 or 15 minutes walk from the cottages depending in how much you dawdle on the way!

Treshnish Mull Cottages best picnic view

Afterwards we walk across the rocks as the tide is out, and look for frog and toad spawn in the rock pools.  It never fails to amaze us that year after year we find so much frog spawn in these brackish pools.   In some pools the tadpoles were just beginning to emerge – they were tiny!  Occasional primroses flowering in sheltered places, and lots of sunshine celandines peppering the grass.  Spring is hopefully on its way!

Treshnish Mull Cottages best picnic frogspawn

Top eco-friendly cottages in Scotland

The top eco-friendly cottages in Scotland

When you are looking for holiday accommodation do you look for the top eco-friendly cottages in Scotland?   We do – and to find them we look first at the Green Tourism Business Scheme website.

Treshnish eco-friendly cottages Mull Scotland hellebore

Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS)

We are really proud to have been members of the GTBS since 1999, and to have held a Gold Award since 2001.  We, along with all GTBS members, are rigorously audited every other year. This provides us with a useful benchmark for how we are performing.  It is also a chance to get expert advice from the GTBS inspector.   At our last visit we had advice about possible solutions for an alternative heat source for Toechtamhor.   When the GTBS first ran their Green Tourism Awards in 2011 we were delighted and very proud to win 2 Awards: A GoldStar and the Carbon Footprint Award.   Andrea Nicholas from GTBS said that made us one of the top 10 green tourism businesses in the UK.  The GTBS have over 600 members in Scotland so even a trip to Edinburgh yields a good number of choices. Mull and Iona have a high number of GTBS members too.

Treshnish Cottages Mull eco-friendly Scotland

Other places to look for eco-friendly cottages

We also use the Organic Places to Stay website run by Linda Moss, who started out almost at the same time as we did, and has a great selection of green places to stay around the world.  We are still advertising with her, and love being part of her eco-friendly community of accommodation providers.

Top eco-friendly cottages Scotland Treshnish Mull

What does eco-friendly mean?

According to Wikipedia the use of terms ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘environmentally-friendly’ refer to goods and services that claim a reduced, minimal impact – or no harm – to the environment.  I would add that for us, being eco-friendly means that we take care not to green-wash or make false claims.    It is too easy to claim to be greener than you are, so for me, being part of the GTBS means that holidaymakers choosing somewhere to stay have the strongest assurance that claims of eco-friendly, green credentials are true.