Located on the majestic and rugged west coast of Scotland is The Croft, the first property by The Croft Collective. This quaint Scottish Bothy is nestled in the 1600 acre Lochnell estate and sits on a tranquil elevated position over-looking the Lynn of Lorne towards the Isle of Mull, Kerrera and Lismore. Traditionally a croft or bothy is a basic shelter left unlocked for anyone to use, usually a weary hiker seeking shelter from unpredictable Scottish weather. Available to book through their website, this croft has been lovingly restored by the Croft Collective team. They’ve managed to include just the right amount of modern amenities without losing those quant traditional elements that makes this place so wholesome. I was recently invited along to experience their first self-catering property, so off I went on the scenic three-hour drive from Edinburgh to this stunning location close to Oban.
As I reached the edge of the historic estate, I parked my car and met the lovely Jojo who not only kindly helped me with my luggage but guided me on the short five-minute walk to the croft. As I arrived at the brow of the hill and caught my first glimpse of the traditional stone building and its surroundings, instantly it took my breath away, the expansive uninterrupted views were simply stunning. On the day I arrived the Scottish weather was its usual dubious self, but as soon as I stepped through the croft’s door, the thick traditional walls provided an idyllic refuge from the impending stormy winds. The croft itself is relatively simple but has everything you need for a comfortable stay, including an open plan kitchen, dining and lounge area with an intimate double bedroom upstairs.
As you wander into the property the first thing you notice is its rustic vibe with bare stone flooring, sturdy whitewashed walls and wooden cladding. To the left is the kitchen which has been beautifully restored and built by craftsmen using local timber. Its blue eggshell painted doors, Belfast sink and shelves lined with baskets and jars all add to that homely countryside style. The kitchen is filled to brim with everything you need, so much so that I chose to cook in the property every day of my stay. There is even a large fire pit for when you fancy some alfresco cooking. The team at Croft Collective supply each of their guests with an impressive welcome basket filled with locally sources whole milk, fresh orange juice, eggs, butter, bread, porridge, muesli and a cheeky bottle of Prosecco. If you require any additional food during your stay, you can choose a variety of items from local suppliers for a small cost. A large dining table adjacent to the kitchen was the perfect place to feast and take in the views of the surrounding countryside.
The lounge was another cosy space with a jewelled blue coloured sofa, chequered chair and a selection of wicker furniture, all surrounding a traditional wood-burning fire. A large orange rug added a vibrant splash of colour and texture. I especially loved the artwork depicting all the Scottish coat of arms which adorned the grey stone of the fireplace wall. Alongside this numerous trinkets, antlers and lanterns gave extra character to the space. With an unlimited supply of logs and kindling, the fire was a great addition to the room, as its flickering flames and glowing embers provided extra warmth, especially when the cooler temperatures set in. A selection of board games and books were also provided and as darkness ensued it was such a pleasure to light all the hurricane lamps and lanterns and enjoy a nice glass of wine, play board games and listen to the crackle of the fire.
Located on the upper floor of the property and reached by the most endearing wooden steps, is the bedroom. This attic style room is completely clad in white painted wooden slats and along with the light from ceiling windows, it was a bright and welcoming space. The blue framed double bed sits snugly in the room, its heavy duvet providing warmth and comfort in the evening. To be tucked up in bed and listening to the passing rain showers dance upon the roof of the croft was simply magical for me. On the adjacent side of the room is a small nook with a comfortable seat and bookshelf, which is a great space to get changed and store any clothing you may have brought for your stay. Whilst on the subjects of clothes, don’t forget to bring a multitude of layers, waterproofs and warm clothing, as even in Summer, Scotland is renowned for having four seasons in one day.
The bathroom was perhaps the trickiest part for me, as it is located at the rear of the property in a self-contained annexe outside. But like most things in the croft, you begin to get used to it and soon it becomes second nature. In fact, I would look forward to my morning shower whilst listening to the pitter-patter of rain above me and the sound of birds in the nearby wood. It is certainly not a basic bathroom by any means, with a rainfall shower, sink and fully working toilet. There are also numerous toiletries supplied including items from the Highland Soap Company. If you are looking for a completely different way of bathing then you must try the wood-fired alfresco bath outside of the property, which I took full advantage of during a break in the weather. It does take a while to heat up (about 45mins) but the reward is worth the wait as you lay back in the warm water and soak up the most wonderful views. If you fancy an even fresher bathing experience, the nearby private beach provides the perfect place to wild swim. It is so close by you can hear the lapping of the waves from the croft itself.
In such a busy world it is sometimes difficult to disconnect from the digital world and prise your fingertips away from the phone. The Croft provides its guests with a complete “off the grid” experience, with no Wi-fi and limited 4G reception (you can tell I still searched for it). Many of you may not know that I am a countryman at heart and there is nothing I love more than reconnecting with nature, so this was one of the aspects I was truly looking forward to. I quickly adjusted, switching off my phone off so I could completely absorb the restorative and soothing ambience the croft and its surroundings had to offer. To add to the wholesome living experience, the croft is also not connected to mains electricity but does have a cooker, fridge and supply of hot water powered by gas. However, The Croft Collective team can provide a renewable energy charging pack during your stay, if required. The dark of the evening provides the perfect conditions (if it’s a clear night) to see the most stunning starry skies.
I am not going to lie, when I first heard there was no electricity or wifi I was a tad dubious about staying at The Croft because unsurprisingly I do like my home comforts. What I experienced instead was a truly rejuvenating experience that lifted the soul, restored the body and calmed the mind. These days we have become so immersed in our busy lives that we often forget to slow down and check-in with ourselves and The Croft is the ideal place to do this. It allowed me to connect to my Scottish roots, forget about the frivolities of life and truly appreciate the simple pleasures that we often overlook such as gazing at the stars, lighting a fire and getting back to nature. A holiday is all about coming back refreshed and uplifted, ready to take on the world and I can guarantee a trip to The Croft is the perfect antidote.
Blu Blazer Guy Rating:
Customer Service – 5/5 – Online service prior to stay was clear, concise and informative / met by friendly host on arrival.
Accommodation – 4/5 – Unique, traditional, suitable for pets and perfect for couples or individuals.
Location – 5/5 – Stunning secluded location, fantastic views, private beach and close to Oban.
Cleanliness – 4/5 – Tidy on arrival and numerous cleaning goods provided.
Food and Drink – 4/5 – Although this is self-catering accomodation I have given a rating due to the luxury breakfast hamper provided and option given to purchase local produce prior to stay, which were both a great touch.
Stays from £222 per night
The Croft Collective