Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Cottage - I Belong in a Crofter's Cottage

 Isle of Barra


There’s something very appealing about escaping to a crofter’s cottage in the north of Scotland.  It is good for me to break away from the rat race and the negative trappings of modern living from time to time.  I would love to spend all winter up there with snow and freezing winds then come indoors to the warming glow of a peat fire and wholesome, home-made food.  Wishful thinking, I know, but I’m fortunate enough to have stayed in some sympathetically renovated ones with electricity and running water and nothing could be more perfect.

Years ago, driving westward along the north coast of Scotland, not too far from John O’Groats, I came to Dunnet Head and what I would call a living museum, Mary-Ann’s Cottage, which is open to the public for guided tours at limited times. The crofter’s cottage is exactly as Mary-Ann left it and is a fascinating insight into her life. If you like social history, I strongly recommend a visit if your travels take you anywhere near.

I like to be ‘off the beaten track’ and Harbour Cottage on the Isle of Barra (my photo) certainly provided everything I wished for in May this year. A wonderful, stone built cottage with ground floor walls at least three feet thick and a fireplace, not that we needed to make a log fire in the unusually warm climate.  Lovingly renovated and extended to make three first floor bedrooms and a sun lounge, Harbour Cottage was a delightful holiday home. I have the same opinion of the fabulous, tiny crofter’s cottage in Lochboisdale, South Uist last year, (my photo). I would happily return, but there are other places to see first.
 
South Uist

My favourite lodges in Dumfries and Galloway are a home from home and somewhere I go to for a break at least twice a year. This year it will be three visits and would have been four if one of my chosen times hadn’t clashed with work. They are not exactly cottages, but get unpacked and settled, and the feeling is just the same, relaxed, cosy and free.

My poem, written after a stay at a cottage near Gairloch, North West Scotland,

 

I’ll Take the High Road

 

Sun-yellow gorse meets a bright blue sky

Where mountains seem low and clouds are high.

Single track, crumbled edge, shared with sheep,

The drop is sharp, the climb is steep

Then dips to touch the shore of the loch

Where gentle waves lick tumbled rock.

Then swift ascent and a chance to pause,

Admire the view and brown-heather’d moors.

Mile after slate-grey mile and some more,

Then, at last, we reach our cottage door.

The road ends where the loch becomes sea,

Dolphins are playing and I feel free.

 
 
                                                                      Pamela Winning.  May 2014

 

 Thanks for reading, Pam x
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1 comments:

Steve Rowland said...

I've shared your yearning for frequent escapes from the rat race to something simpler. Your blog struck a chord and I thought the poem was delightfully crafted. Thank you.