Before we moved to Perthshire in 2015 we would travel from Herefordshire to Scotland for a winter break in March. Because we now live in Scotland we decided to look for somewhere to visit in January too, instead of the city breaks we have previously done. The Isle of Mull shall forever have a place in our hearts. It was after spending a week here that we decided to move to Scotland. Staying at Poppies Cottage in winter wasn’t a new thing for us but when we were invited to stay again how we could resist?
So what is bringing us back to the same place?
Self catering accommodation
Poppies Cottage is one of just four properties over looking the Sound of Mull and takes only ten minutes from the ferry terminal at Craignuire so you can get on with your holiday straight away. This is pretty much what we did – arrival, unpack, use the bathroom and then go out with the binoculars, scope and camera. You could of course settle in a more relaxed manner but this to us is like coming home. Let me take you round:
The entry door takes you straight into a utility room which has a tiled floor so you don’t have to be too precious about coming back from the great outdoors in your mucky boots and wet jackets. Washing machine, tumble drier and a cupboard with vacuum and broom are all neatly managed in here along with a sink. From here we make our way into the kitchen. You will find everything you need in here for your self catering holiday – cups, plates, cutlery, pots and pans even a bottle opener so don’t panic if you forget yours! We ate in every night and making things like chilli con carne and curry with no problems. I’m not used to having a dishwasher at home so when we stay here I just do the washing up but there is one in this kitchen if you wish to use it. Large fridge freezer, plenty big enough for a weeks worth of food and drink! There is a rather nice oven (with a separate grill) and the electric induction hob is really responsive too. The large window looks out on to woodland and hillside – great views when washing up!
The large arch from the kitchen leads us to the living/dining area. I remember the first time I walked into here and you are immediately drawn to the large picture window. Not only does this allow great light into the room but it’s nice to stand and admire the view in all weather whilst drinking your cuppa. I will get back to the view shortly. One of my other half’s requirements whenever we look for self catering property “has it got a wood burner?” What is it with boys and fire? Anyway, there is a large woodburner and this creates enough heat to warm the whole cottage. For me, even in January when the wind is blowing outside I still have to stand by the back door for a minute too cool down, it does get rather toastie. Comfortable living area – two large leather sofa’s, freeview tv, DVD player and stereo (you can also get radio stations on the freeview). There are also some board games, books and magazines should you wish to spend your evenings not staring at the telly. The dining area has a decent size table with four chairs, plenty of room for breakfast and evening meals. Here there is also a door which leads out on to the small secure garden and picnic bench.
Into the bedroom and there is a double bed, a dressing table, a wardrobe, a rocking chair and also has two large windows over looking the Sound. You don’t even have to get out of bed to admire the view. The bed is nice and comfy, warm too. All bed linen and the towels are supplied so that is something else you don’t need to bring with you. Believe it or not I have seen some places advertise that linen and towels are NOT included. Here at Poppies they also supply each property with a hairdryer.
The bathroom has two doors, one leading straight from the bedroom and the other in to the hallway. If I take you in via the bedroom door there is a double jacuzzi bath which works wonders after a long day walking. There is also a rather nice shower with lots of extra jet sprays and settings but I have to admit I haven’t tried them, it all looks a bit complicated to me! Our most favourite part of the bathroom is the infrared sauna. We used it every day to help relax and thaw out after a day walking or watching wildlife.
As promised I go back to the view: and as returning visitors we have seen sunshine, rain, cloud, the cloudy solar eclipse in 2015 and snow. All making the exact same landscape look completely different. We have seen white tailed sea eagles, red deer, buzzards, herons, divers and rabbits all before breakfast! Even at night it can put on a display, in 2015 we saw the Aurora Borealis in all it’s splendour. On a clear night you can see more stars than you have ever seen before and no light pollution. We have also heard owl’s whilst standing outside in the cold under a full moon, really quite magical.
Each one of the four properties allows “two well behaved dogs.” I have to say as a non-pet owner whenever we have visited we have not seen any signs that dogs have even been in the property, no stray dog hairs so don’t be put off by seeing they allow pets. There are some great walks straight from Poppies Cottage for walking the dogs or just down the road to the beaches too.
I love the fact that the cottages have ground source heating throughout too and can easily be controlled. I always have to turn the bedroom one off because otherwise it gets too warm, even in winter.
We have previously stayed in one of the other cottages and know that it was also decorated and kept in good condition. The wood burner is also made up for your arrival so all you have to do is light it. It’s little thing like this that make us return.
There is a folder of “How to,” instructions for managing the heating, shower and oven. Listings of recommended places to visit, boat trips and local pubs and wildlife tour guides; and a VisitScotland iCentre just by the ferry terminal so this could be worth popping into.
As I mentioned at the start of this post the cottages are just six miles from the ferry at Craignure. Here you will be greeted by the VisitScotland iCentre and a small café.
This road carries on out up to the colourful town of Tobermory (15 miles). Here you will find plenty of places to eat out, small supermarket to do your food shopping and gift shops.
Whilst you are staying on the Isle of Mull you will probably want to visit Iona too. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s only 41 miles from the cottage, on a good day this journey will take you well over an hour. Especially in peak season with many others heading down to get the ferry too. Quite a lot of road is single track with passing places. Something to be mindful of.
In fact, that pretty much goes for most of the island’s roads. Apart from a small stretch up to Tobermory all the roads are single track. Even if you think there’s not much chance of seeing anyone else please don’t park in passing places. They are just that, places to pass.
If you fancy ticking off Ben More, the only Munro on the Isle of Mull, the start of the route is about a 30 minute drive from the accommodation. Of course there are plenty of places to walk that will fill your hearts.
Around most corners you will stumble upon wildlife, even in winter. There are otters and seals in the harbour at Tobermory and you might see a local celebrity “the Tobermory Cat” dozing on top of car. We’ve been lucky enough to watch sea eagles, golden eagles, otters, deer and seals on many of our visits so always have your binoculars at the ready.
Haste ye back
All in all we really enjoy staying at Poppies Cottage in winter. Situated between Craignure, Salen and Tobermory you get the feeling of isolated wilderness, with creature comforts and local shops. The location is spot on for us. The colder season is still good for watching wildlife, walks on the beach, visiting small villages, popping over to Iona and then coming back to a roaring fire and sauna!