Having had everything cancelled this year holiday wise and continuing to work through the covid chaos…it was finally time to get some chill time scheduled in! It wasn’t quite the holiday my husband and I were meant to be going on ‘a triathlon training camp in the sun’ however, it was just as enjoyable (and more relaxing) and made us marvel at how beautiful Scotland is in any weather!
We booked 4 nights away in October and decided to try out An Rubha Cottage on the car free Island of Easdale approximately 15 miles south of Oban (a Clickbookstay property that I had processed bookings for many times!) . We were NOT disappointed!!
A couple of days before our journey, I checked the ferry times via the Argyll & Bute Council website; there is a wee boat to take you across from the mainland at Ellenabeich to Easdale (about 5 mins at the most). Reading the info on the site, it recommended downloading the Easdale Ferry app and paying for the ferry prior to arrival (approx. £2.30 return each).
The 92-mile journey by car from Perth took us through some stunning scenery via the A85; Crieff, Comrie, St Fillans, Crianlarich, Tyndrum where we stopped at The Green Welly for a wee coffee and it was surprisingly busy (there is also a restaurant and shop here) Then we headed off again reaching the wee village of Connel and down into Oban. Once in Oban, you follow the one-way system and we headed for Tesco which is pretty much as you are driving through and out of Oban set within a retail park. There is no grocery shop on the Island of Easdale, so it is advisable to get your milk, teabags, food etc on the mainland. We stocked up on the essentials; chocolate, wine and crisps!
We were now on the last leg of our journey heading from Oban to Ellenabeich where we would catch the ferry (boat!). The road to Ellenabeich is mostly single-track in places; a winding undulating road with passing-places but the most exciting part was driving over The Bridge to the Atlantic! This amazing bridge connects the Isle of Seil to the mainland. Once we reached the other side, we parked the car and jumped out to take photographs of the bridge! We arrived early at the ferry point so had a wander around Ellenabeich. The instructions for the ferry point, to go to the wee hut and press the switch for the light and the klaxon to alert the ferryman that passengers are waiting. It felt like a step back in time and added to the experience. On docking at Easdale, we had a short minute walk to the cottage it was that close! There are numbered wheelbarrows to stick your luggage in if you need to, but we were so close, we didn’t need to use them. Maybe quite handy after a night at the local pub!
Never having been to or heard of Easdale prior to working with Clickbookstay, I read up on it to find out what there was to do there. It is a tiny island of around 60 permanent inhabitants and is known as one of the Slate Islands. The island has a network of footpaths (more trail rather than tarmac) and you can walk around the island in around 25 minutes, however, as we stopped to marvel at the pools that filled the old quarries on the island and as well as stopping to take photographs, this took us more like an hour or so to walk around. Being October, the weather wasn’t great for sitting outside too long, but in summer, this would be a fantastic place to relax and read your book or go for a swim in the quarry pools!
Easdale is famous for the stone skimming competitions, and as there are thousands of beautiful flat rounded slate stones everywhere, it was hard to resist. Let’s just say, with my stone skimming skills, I won’t be entering any competitions!
For food, there is a local pub on the island usually open all year round selling locally brewed ales and attached to that, is the tearoom/restaurant open during the summer months and serving locally caught seafood – The Puffer Bar & Restaurant. We checked the opening times of the restaurant before going due to all the covid disruptions and saw that it was best to pre-order your dinner. The day before we left, we pre-ordered a lovely traditional fish & chips and a burger and chips to collect when the restaurant opened and either choose to eat it outside at the socially distanced tables & chairs or take back to the cottage.
If you love nature and wildlife, then you can book a trip on the Seafari Adventures; a high-speed boat excursion departing from Ellenabeich will give you the chance to spot whales, basking sharks, dolphins, white-tailed eagles and seals…and also…a trip to see the Corryvreckan; the world’s second largest whirlpool!
An Rubha cottage itself is a delightful 3-bed property that can sleep 6 people but full of charm and character to feel cosy even it’s only two of you staying. The kitchen was equipped with everything you could imagine. The property was toasty warm on our arrival, which was great arriving in colder weather and the underfloor heating in the bathroom was great (especially if you forget your slippers!) On departure, we just took all of our rubbish away with us to dispose of in Oban at the recycle centre/general waste as you can imagine, an island so small doesn’t have these facilities but that really wasn’t any problem to do. What I can say is that we can’t wait to return in nicer warmer weather, and we would most definitely book to stay in either An Rubha or Chattan Cottage and this time, we will be taking our swim wear!