Some Quiet Time

06 April 2018

Sandwood Bay 

Photo: Sandwood Bay by ARG via CC

Some people like the company of family, friends or even strangers on holiday. For others a romantic break is an opportunity to recharge and that means serenity, peace and quiet. It’s not anti-social to avoid the company of others for a while, in fact it can be just the opposite, with a rejuvenating holiday giving you such a boost as to make you a more happy and sociable person on your return. These are just a few of our favourite spots in Scotland for a little bit of “me” time.

When you think of ‘quiet’ then usually the gentle sound of the ocean waves doesn’t count as a disturbance. Maybe it’s the regular soft and soothing rhythm that does it, lulling you to sleep or acting like a big hug for the soul. Cuir na Bhoir sits right by the beach and at the end of a track so there is no passing traffic. It’s the kind of retreat where you could write a book, with inspiration on your doorstep and peace to concentrate 24-7.

The Angus Glens are often overlooked when choosing a holiday destination but this works in the favour of those in the know as it means this spectacular and unspoiled part of Scotland remains gloriously peaceful. Located at the end of a track at the head of a glen, Glen Cruick is an oasis of luxury in a rugged and wild landscape. There are tracks and trails in almost every direction from the house offering biking and walking opportunities for those who like to explore instead of following popular routes. If you were to load up on shopping before you and your family arrive then you certainly spend an entire week here without seeing another person.

In contrast to getting out walking and biking and your idea of a relaxing break is to do nothing but to curl up on a sofa with a book, without the pressures of the world disturbing you, Hebridean Earth House is perfect. A superbly comfortable hobbit hole for when you don’t want to face the outside world for a while. This is a perfect romantic couples’ getaway but if canine company is what you would rather have, then your dog is most welcome to come along with you too.

Crowding is not something that springs to mind when you consider the Kintyre peninsula. Although connected to the mainland it has more of the feel of a remote island. As the crow flies it looks on a map like it’s relatively close to Glasgow but don’t be fooled, the drive, albeit scenic and hugely enjoyable, is long and not as straightforward as it may at first appear. This relative inaccessibility means, in practical terms, the peninsula is best suited for the more adventurous and independent. Once you get here though you will find it brilliantly self-contained with everything you need to enjoy a relaxing holiday close by. The area still has a bit of an undiscovered feel and it holds its own in comparison with the North Coast 500 in terms of joyous motoring, it has white sandy beaches to rival the Hebrides and hiking to challenge the Cairngorms. But it does all of this with a fraction of the amount of visitors and attention that the rest of the country gets. Achaglachgach Cottage has easy access to the shore and is a reasonable drive from the standing stones at Kilmartin. Visiting them is a truly atmospheric experience definitely best savoured in silence.

Although the idea of a digital detox sounds good on paper, the reality is that our lives have changed so much over the last 20 years that connectivity and modern technology are an integral part of our existence. As much as you can romanticise the good old days prior to the internet, most people honestly wouldn’t want to live a week without it. There is a middle ground though. The beach at Sandwood Bay is a fantastic remote spot to spend a day with your thoughts. The walk to get there is bracing and once you can feel the sand between your toes you can relax knowing there is no mobile phone or internet signal to disturb your solitude. The Highlands seem to be shrinking with even the smallest villages connected to the internet, which is brilliant for local communities. There are still a few spots like this though where you can pretend for a few hours at least that you are removed from the hustle and bustle of the outside world and are living the hermit’s life. Like a modern day Robinson Crusoe, with nothing but kittiwakes, sea stacks and the life-affirming sound of the sea for company. As blissful as it sounds it is still comforting to know that at the end of the day you can still look forward to re-joining the rest of the family in the luxury and connectivity of An Nead. A holiday here can really give you the best of both worlds.