One of our favourite seasons to travel and explore Scotland is autumn, with the colour of the leaves on the trees changing, the misty mornings and some really beautiful light, whats not to love. So, when we got the opportunity to stay at Unigar Cottages, Orkney, we were excited to see what it would be like at this time of year.
Last year I visited for work and was treated to blue skies, rolling green landscape and calm sea. This trip was a bit different (read: completely different).
Arriving in Stromness on Monday morning and after getting some breakfast we headed straight out to our self catering cottage near Quoyloo, just eight miles away from the ferry terminal. The directions I had been sent in my confirmation email were easy to follow and got us to the door first time (this doesn’t always happen, even in the city!).
First impressions from the outside were good and the view was even better.
Once inside the single storey building we immediately felt how warm and cosy it was but before we move in properly for the week I have to take photos! Standard practice of anywhere that we stay, camera comes out first and only then can everything else come out of the car!
I also discovered we had been left an Orkney food and drink welcome basket! How sweet is that?
This cottage sleeps four – a double bedroom with en-suite, with a twin room and family bathroom just down the hallway. Both bedrooms are large, light spaces with built in wardrobes with plenty of coat hangers and shelf space to unpack for your stay.
The large family bathroom has a bath for those who prefer a soak in the tub after long days out doing coastal walks or, if, like me, you prefer a shower that’s possible too with the powerful shower head and plenty of room. I know that sounds a bit odd to say there is plenty of room in a shower but I have been to some places where you can’t even bend forward to pick up your shampoo. There is enough storage and surface area to put out the toothbrushes and other toiletries too.
The master bedroom has a similar layout to the twin room, with it’s built in wardrobes, a dressing table with mirrors and a stool. The en-suite is a small, galley style room with another large shower, a toilet and sink.
The open kitchen/dining/living area in the cottage is a lovely space. The kitchen has everything you will need for your stay and eating in, there is even a bottle opener! We did have a bit of a battle with the oven and hob (even with the instructions) but I think that is because it is so different to ours. Once we had worked it out, we were sorted and wondered what all the fuss was about!
Just a few steps across from the kitchen and a lovely big wooden table and chairs, enough for four people to be comfortably seated for meals. I’m a big fan of sitting at the table to eat and so this was just like being at home.
We probably read more whilst we are away than at any other time and the comfy sofa and single chairs are a perfect spot for this. The only problem I had one this occasion was keeping my eyes off of the view. The rolling greenery of Orkney, with a splash of sheep and a hint of hunting hen harrier I didn’t get much reading done.
The whole property has underfloor heating and if, like us, your home is a drafty old gate house then this is just the job, especially after coastal walks in the damp air. Even getting out of the shower was okay as usually back home it is a rush to get dressed again. Brrrrrrrrrr. I digress!
The utility room is tucked away off of the main entrance hallway and is home to a vacuum, ironing board, washing machine etc.
The Wi-Fi signal and is good for an end of day social media posting catch up too.
Situated on the the north west side of mainland Orkney are the three cottages, just eight miles from Stromness and seventeen miles from Kirkwall.
The immediate neighbours are Orkney Brewery (literally a two minute walk), where you can buy locally made beer to enjoy at home, have a drink in the bar or enjoy lovely lunches, snacks and cake (blog to follow about local food and drink).
The village of Dounby has a butchers, petrol station, Co-Op, crafts store, hairdressers, caters for most things and is only five miles away. We used the butchers and were really well looked after.
There are several RSPB reserves on this side of the mainland too and easily accessible from the cottages, if you like a spot of bird watching.
There are more historical sites in Orkney than you can shake a stick at: Skara Brae is just two miles along the road and the Ring of Brodgar is only about seven miles.
The Craft Trail runs all over the mainland and some of the smaller islands, and you don’t have to travel far before coming across signs for wood turners, jewellers, potters, soap makers and knitwear. A brilliant way of taking home a small piece of Orkney. In fact, one needle felt artist is commissioning a special piece just for us and we cannot wait to receive it!
We loved our stay at Unigar Cottages, Orkney for so many reasons and although the weather was not particularly kind to us we feel like we made the most of our trip. For me, having somewhere that feels like home to come back to after a day out exploring in the wind and damp sea air is a must. One that has everything you need, and this certainly offered that. It has been nicely decorated and all the furniture, bed linen, towels etc are of good quality.
It’s the little things that made us feel really welcome, like having milk in the fridge when we arrived, the food hamper of treats in the basket, up to date information of things to see and do and using a local hand soap company. Even the photographs in all the rooms were of local views, very inspiring. We loved it here and will definitely be back.
This post is the first of three that I will be writing about and showcasing some of what Orkney has to offer & the things we got up to, so please do sign up to get all my posts straight into your mailbox.
We were invited to stay at Unigar Cottages on a complimentary basis in return for a blog review and my photos. All views on heated floors, good views and the photos in this post are my own.