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A Cottage on a Loch

Low-Cost Vacations In the Scottish Highlands

Loch Broom is but one of the many jewels in Scotland’s Western Highlands. Drawn by its history and heritage, my husband and I took our three children, ages 9 to 12, for a week of exploration in this wild and beautiful part of Scotland. We rented the self-catering cottage of Broomview and found that a cottage is the perfect way to enjoy the Highlands.

The three-bedroom cottage overlooks Loch Broom in Wester Ross in the hamlet of Rhiroy, where it shares space with a smattering of houses and a large audience of sheep. From its picture window, one may study the loch’s changing moods or step outside to discover the true Highlands. For a day of complete serenity, one has only to walk the narrow roads to receive a friendly wave and perhaps an invitation to view a garden or watch a sheep dog at work. Before long, you feel as if you too could speak Gaelic or put a sheep dog through its paces.

For a short jaunt, the village of Ullapool, a busy fishing port and ferry terminal to the Western Isles, is only 12 miles away. The friendly residents will gladly recommend favorite restaurants or nearby wilderness haunts. The local museum skillfully tells the story of these “People of the Loch.”

Our children enjoyed the days at Broomview by simply playing soccer in the yard, hiking to Loch Broom, or, when it rained, staying inside the warm cottage reading, exploring the wonders of British television, and watching sheep scurrying for cover beneath tossing trees.

Luckily, the Scottish Tourist Board makes finding accommodations like Broomview Cottage relatively simple. Upon request, they provide brochures and booklets complete with maps and pictures plus telephone and fax numbers for self-catering cottages in many areas of interest.

Since most cottages must be booked well in advance for summer stays, usually from one Saturday to the next, money for deposit and final payment can be sent through your bank directly to the cottage owner’s bank account in Scotland. Most other booking procedures may be completed by mail, phone, or fax.

All that remains is to look forward to your cottage stay in Scotland. Our family felt great satisfaction when we signed Broomview’s guest book and discovered we were the only Americans to have stayed there. For us, it was a new discovery in a country full of new discoveries and a true home away from home.

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