The Doctor's Bothy
The Doctor’s Bothy is an idyllic retreat for anyone seeking an escape from mainland life. This special getaway on the very edge of Britain is for those looking for something a little different in terms of holiday accommodation and who are prepared to go a little further to find a unique cottage in a spectacular location.
The Bothy, a newly renovated stone, slate and timber cottage stands high on a hillside above Loch Hosta on the Hebridean Isle of North Uist beside the ruin of the Old Manse - a local landmark and uninhabited for the last 60 years.
From its lofty Outer Hebrides post, it has panoramic views out to sea and across the surrounding hills and moorlands, on a clear day you can see all the Southern Outer Hebridean isles, the Monach Isles and the magical island of St Kilda 40 miles away in the Atlantic Ocean.
A short stroll from the house will take you to the beautiful beach at Hosta with its clear turquoise water, white sand and rock pools – you are often likely to have it all to yourself although occasionally a seal or pair of otters may join you.
Loch Hosta itself is excellent for brown-trout fishing and the area is home to many visiting birds and wedges of Hooper swans. Lovers of wildlife will find themselves in paradise here, and the skies are patrolled by many types of birds of prey including golden eagles, hen harriers, buzzards, owls and merlins. The RSPB Balranald Nature Reserve is less than three miles away and is one of the last places in Britain where the rare corncrake can be seen; from the garden you can often hear its distinctive rasping cry. Herds of deer, grazing cows and sheep are also frequent visitors to the Bothy’s garden.
Those interested in history will find the surrounding area fascinating; the famous neolithic burial chamber of Bharpa Langass and the stone circle of Pobull Phinn are just a few miles away, but there are many other ancient standing stones, burial sites, wheelhouses and brochs even closer to home – many not even signposted! Legend has it that there is a submerged village under the waters of Loch Hosta and if the weather conditions are right, from the Bothy you can just trace the outline of sunken circular structures close to the shoreline.
The Bothy has a large open grass garden but the rolling landscape surrounding it gives the impression that the grounds extend as far as the eye can see.
If you are now sold on the surroundings, what of the cottage itself?
Simply but comfortably furnished with an open plan living area and post-card views, the Bothy is light and airy in summer and cosy in winter. At the heart of the house is a solid fuel stove. The downstairs double bedroom has a maple wooden floor and a small multi-fuel stove. The upstairs twin bedroom is accessed by a feature cast-iron spiral staircase in a double height hallway. The kitchen/diner has a well equipped fitted kitchen with a gas (LPG) cooker - a small LPG fridge is situated in a lean-to shed by the back door. The window in the dining area offers breath-taking sea, sunset and island views. Also downstairs is a fully tiled bathroom with over bath shower.
The Bothy is off grid which means it is not connected to mains gas and electricity supplies. This gives a real frontier feeling, you are on the edge of civilisation and for your stay you are something of a pioneer. Electric power is supplied by PV solar panels, which provide just enough energy to light the cottage, power a radio, a TV and charge your phones! Due to the limited electrical supply, modern conveniences such as electric kettles, washing machines, hair dryers, electric fridges and games consoles won’t work. Heating is provided by the solid fuel stove and the bedroom stove. Hot water is provided by the stove or in the warmer months by an LPG multipoint water heater.
The Bothy is about three quarters of a mile from the nearest tarmac road and is reached by a steep gated track suitable for four-wheel drive cars or in good weather by cars with a brave driver and good ground clearance! There is a parking space at the start of the track next to the Loch for those who are happy to walk (10 – 15 minutes), and a wheelbarrow is provided for transporting the luggage! At the house there is extensive parking with full level disabled access to the house.
The nearest shop/post office and petrol station is 5 miles distant at Bayhead, there is a small well stocked Coop supermarket 8 miles distant at Sollas, or a licensed grocers/butchers 9 miles away in Clachan. The nearest pub is 7 miles away and there are several acclaimed restaurants within 30 minutes drive. For light lunches and home-made cakes head for the Kirkibost Centre 15 minutes drive away or combine a tasty treat with island art and culture at the Lochmaddy Arts Centre.
The Doctor’s Bothy is the most unforgettable of holiday homes.
Bed linen, towels, LPG, electricity (dependent on sun generation) and one bag of coal are included. Two well-behaved pets are welcome by arrangement. Smoking is not permitted in the cottage.
Accommodation (sleeps 4):
- Open plan living area with solid fuel Rayburn, multi-fuel stove , TV, radio etc.
- Double bedroom with multi-fuel stove
- Bathroom with bath/shower, WC and wash basin
- Twin bedroom (by spiral staircase)