" Scotland 2015 ~ 2. Croft 103 and Ceannabeine Beach "


Date & Time: Saturday 9th / Sunday 10th May 2015.

Locations : Croft 103, Portnacon, Durness, Northern Scotland.

Places visited : The croft and Traigh Allt Chailgeag Bay.

Accommodation : Croft 103 Portnacon, Durness.

Distance : Eight miles of single track roads, there and back.

With : Ann and myself and our dogs, Harry and Dylan.

Weather : All sorts . . . rain showers to beautiful sunshine.


© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. License number PU 100034184.


We've arrived . . .

We've seen pictures of the self-catering home on the website . . .

but nothing really prepares you for the reality of actually getting out of the car and seeing it for yourself.

The dogs take up position on the wall and Ann looks out of the large glass door, her hair blowing in the wind.

Inside the eco-home is calm and beautifully warm.

For the day . . . comfortable chairs

For the evening a rather nice log burning stove.

A real lounger of a settee in the lounge area . . . and a modern kitchen laid out in the kitchen area beyond.

. . . and our eyes are constantly drawn back to that view of Lock Eriboll through the huge glass wall.

What else is in the house . . . a rather obese lady !

Actually the house iPad she was storing provided the answers to all we wanted to know about the house.

Next door was the rather nice bedroom-for-two.

A Highland Cow made of felt . . . a better alternative to the classic stuffed head of a "Monarch of the Glen".

The bathroom included a walk in shower

and colour was provided by a rather striking set of ceramic tiles . . . more of which later.

Fancy a bath with a view . . . and not a curtain in sight.

The Croft also offers the option of a bath under the stars too . . . complete with copious hot, solar heated bath water.

We've spent loads of time looking around . . .

perhaps we had better empty the car

and move in for our week's stay, here in the north of Scotland.



Just a few bags . . .

a cool box with a few ready pre-prepared meals . . .

 and various other essentials

which find a good home for the week.

Everything has been brought in . . . but we seem to have left someone outside !

Rather than let him in . . . we go outside in the glorious sunshine.

Ann has found a settee with a view !

It looks and feels like a well worn, comfortable, old leather sofa sitting out there on the "lawn".

[ It was protected against the weather by the fact that the whole thing was made of fibre glass !]

I left Ann to enjoy her view and walked around the outside of the house to investigate how it was all put together . . . as blokes do.

Up the top were the solar panels, the satellite TV and internet dishes.

The back of the house used waste tyres . . .
. . . to form a supporting wall.

It also serves to insulate the main house and the void provides somewhere to store the logs and waste recycling.

From the top of the bank there's a great view south-west down Loch Eriboll.

The snow-dappled hill at the far end is Conamheall 482m, rising to some 1560 feet above sea level at the summit

Across the way from the croft is the impressive summit of Ben Hope, 3012ft - 927m.,

the most northern of the Scottish "Munro" hills.

Enough of walking around doing nothing . . . time to take the dogs for a short local walk.

- - - o o o - - -

The stone pier of Portnacon . . . just up the way from the croft.

Reversing the perspective . . . this is the house from the pier.

The average tidal rise and fall here is about 4 metres.

Back at the croft and the sun is setting, casting a shadow higher and higher on the opposite shore.

The sun has gone now, even from Ben Hope.

The time . . . 9.30 pm

At 11pm there's still light in the north-western sky.

We put the lights on outside to appreciate the architecture.

Looking in at the attractively warm lounge.

Time for bed . . . we pop outside once more

to see if we can see any sign of the Northern Lights that were mentioned on the TV weather forecast.

Sorry everyone . . . couldn't see any . . . time for bed.

- - - o o o - - -

A few hours later . . .

With no curtains on the bedroom either our view of the stars was superb.

At 3am in the morning I happened to wake and spot the moon rising above the cloud on the other side of the loch.

I stepped outside to appreciate the moon rise over Ben Hope a short time later.

First light  . . . 4.45 am.

Extended periods of sleep were in short supply on the first night . . . but it was worth getting up for another photo.

Sleeping in till 9am and this time I grab the camera to photograph an otter patrolling the shoreline.

Sadly by the time I has dressed in warm clothes to go outside for a close up . . . he had gone.

Hold your cursor over the picture to see a close up of the same photo.

Ben Hope in good light later in the day.

In the loch is the island of Eilean Choraidh which was catching the light beautifully.

The buildings on the island include an old, abandoned farmhouse and a lime kiln, taking advantage of a quarry of limestone on the island.

Time for a walk . . . but the weather is changing.

- - - o o o - - -

We've driven just four miles north to Traigh Allt Chailgeag Bay.

The weather has definitely turned . . . just look at Ann's beach wear !

The final few steps down onto the golden sands.

The old school house at Ceannabeinne . . . now a private home.

The village suffered in The Clearances . . . only the old school house survives to the twenty first century.

Beautiful red stone on the steep cliffs in the middle of the bay.

The tide is low today and the rocks are clear of the water.

In the distance is the headland of Whiten Head  . . . An Ceann Gael.

Where is Dylan now ?

The youngster is always on the move . . . exploring every nook and cranny . . . and rock step.

Time for a quiet, artistic rock pool . . . this is supposed to be a relaxing holiday after all.

However the sea is not in a relaxing mood as it crashes against the rocks at the edge of the tide.

A short diversion on the way back to see Rispond Bay . . . which has a delightful small harbour.

- - - o o o - - -

Back home and looking out at the view as the rain clears.

The beauty of croft is the fact that you can sit and watch the weather pass across the whole of the loch . . . a full 180 degree view.

We end our report watching that rain moving away to the north as the sun shines through once again.

Croft 103 at the end of the rainbow.


- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220 or my Canon 1100D Digital SLR Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . . supper waiting to be warmed up.

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