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Review of Treshnish and Haunn Cottages, Isle of Mull

Posted by at 02:06 on Tuesday 15 November 2011

>> For contact details and to check availability, see our full listing of: Treshnish and Haunn Cottages

Treshnish and Haunn Cottages are a collection of comfortable traditional farmers' cottages on the Isle of Mull, offering a warm welcome as well as fantastic views out over the ocean and across to nearby Calgary beach. By Rhys Jones and Hannah Engelkamp

An ocean on your doorstep. Photo: Carolyne CharringtonAn ocean on your doorstep. Photo: Carolyne Charrington

The accommodation
The traditional 200+ year-old blackhouse farmers’ cottages may appear small from the outside with their thick walls and low roofs. However, inside the rooms are warm, spacious and tastefully decorated with painted tongue and groove. It's a practical mix of traditional and contemporary that's good for active couple and families, and both the bedroom and living room have funnel skylights in the ceiling to provide extra light alongside the low-energy lightbulbs. Vibrant paintings by a family artist adorn the wall and some artist guests from London that I talk to enthuse about top local painting spots such as the standing stones in a wooded clearing near Dervaig.

A comfortable and light double room. Photo: Carolyne CharringtonA comfortable and light double room. Photo: Carolyne Charrington

The Haunn cottages (haunn meaning harbour) are close to the shoreline and far from the single-track 'main road'. Treshnish is really getting away from it with stunning views west out to sea, over sunsets and herb- and wildlife-rich meadows. My visit is in late October, and the weather on Mull can be changeable, but that's the charm about being here as the scenery provides an ever-evolving view worthy of a series of landscape paintings. The cottages are well-insulated with sheep’s wool insulation in the roof, plus a Morso Squirrel wood-burning stove – cosy whatever the weather. It is comforting to know that these farmers’ cottages weren't subjected to the clearances and were occupied until 1945 when the family moved just down the road to Dervaig. Pop into the Bellachroy and photos of the Haunn family are on the wall.

The activities
The Isle of Mull is a large mountainous island and the choice of things to do is equally grand. The picturesque harbour town of Tobermory is well worth a visit and is hub for many activities: wildlife tours, deep-sea fishing, boat tours to Staffa island and plenty of restaurants. Treshnish itself has its own 'headland walk' and you'll not want to miss out on visiting the white sandy beach of Calgary Bay. The library next to the laundry, open to all, has extensive literature about Mull’s activities and island walks.

The food
The Treshnish farm is a sheep and cattle farm (Aberdeen Angus) and the produce can be obtained from the fridge along with vegetables from the garden – help yourself and pop the money in the honesty box. Complimentary farm eggs are provided in the cottages, subject to the hens’ constitution of course, but this is not normally a problem. Mull is an island and buying locally is encouraged – a good selection of produce is available down in nearby Dervaig village. If coming by car it's worth bringing a couple of days’ provision to get you started.

What makes Treshnish and Haunn cottages green
Treshnish's green credentials are hard to beat with an onsite 70kw woodchip boiler, PV solar cells, 6kw wind turbine and plans to install a second. With enthusiasm and hard work, green farm owners Carolyne and Somerset have won 2011 RSPB Nature Farming Awards. It goes without saying that Treshnish is a particular favourite destination with bird watchers and lepidopterists (people who study moths and butterflies). Treshnish have their own nature blog and bird log, going back to 2006, run by their resident employees. With seashore, wetland, coastal heath, woodland, bog, meadow and herb-rich grassland all in one place you're spoilt for nature. The rock-pools on the shore are a joy for kids who love to explore.

Solar PV panels provide sustainable energy. Photo: Carolyne CharringtonSolar PV panels provide sustainable energy. Photo: Carolyne CharringtonRecycling is comprehensive and no mean feat considering the distance from the main road. Compost is coming out of their ears but goes mostly onto the vegetable garden.  Guests pay for the electricity they use – in this way Treshnish take a proactive decision to encourage visitors to take responsibility for their usage, something to be applauded. Cottages are warm with wool roof insulation. Water comes from the nearby burn and spring, providing ample water for the farm and accommodation.

How to get there
Treshnish Farm is remote but public transport is available for all but the last 2.5 miles, where baggage pick-up is available. Take a train to Oban and then a Calmac ferry to the Isle of Mull. Get a bus from the ferry to Mull's biggest town, Tobermory, and then either a bus on towards Calgary Bay or a taxi ride (approx £30). Affordable car hire is also available from Tobermory's Mackay's garage.

Top tip
The rock-pools down on the shore are good to swim in, to give the day a bracing start. The fold-up bikes available to borrow at Treshnish are free, so pop them in the car, cruise down to Iona Island ferry and take them across. It's an excellent way to tour the beautiful ancient abbey island with its amazing white beaches. Treshnish farm gets a lot of repeat bookings so book early and follow their Twitter for last-minute deals. Out-of-season and last-minute discounts are available; just ask. The owners love to chat, but remember Treshnish is a working farm so at busy times of year, such as lambing, it can be tough for the family – take five and give them some space.

Verdict
Comfortable, warm cottages in a stunning and wild location. Appealing to artists, naturalists and families alike with fantastic biodiversity on your doorstep. Not a weekend destination due to the distance, but then Mull has so much to offer, why not stay a while?

>> For contact details and to check availability, see our full listing of: Treshnish and Haunn Cottages

Calgary beach lies in the distance. Photo: Carolyne CharringtonCalgary beach lies in the distance. Photo: Carolyne Charrington

Disclosure

Blogs posts categorised as 'Reviews' have been written with the support of one or more of the following: accommodation owner, activity provider, operator, equipment supplier, tourist board, protected landscape authority or other destination-focussed authority. The reviewer retains full editorial control of the work, which has been written in the reviewer's own words based on their experience of the accommodation, activity, equipment or destination.

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