For most travelers, a “private island escape” conjures visions of sunny tropical isles with personal chefs, unlimited neon drinks, and a beach all to themselves. However, for those seeking a different kind of getaway, there’s Scotland’s Eilean Shona, a self-described “Neverland” where visitors are encouraged to appreciate the lost art of sitting still and doing … nothing.
Eilean Shona is an impossibly beautiful private island tucked into a glassy loch on the rugged west coast of Scotland. It’s a lush, natural haven with no cars, few people, and a pace of life that all but stands still. Less than a dozen rustic cabins and cottages dot the island. All promise guests the utmost privacy, while they while away their days building campfires, swimming the lake, crabbing, painting, picnicking, or strolling the island’s pristine wooded coastal paths. Leisurely lake kayaking is available for those who want something slightly more adventurous.
New for 2019, Eilean Shona debuted Shepherd’s Cottage, a classic, shepherd-inspired cabin now open to short-term guests for the first time. It’s an idyllic off-grid bolthole perfect for couples, writers on retreat, or anyone looking to “find themselves.” The refurbished digs feature a traditional, one-story stone exterior.
Inside, the design embraces its heritage with a look that’s contemporary, yet timeless. There’s tongue-and-groove paneling and whitewashed surfaces throughout to help maximize natural light. The cozy, 750-square-foot floor plan includes everything guests might need for a simple, secluded getaway: a bedroom with a king-sized bed, a Victorian roll-top bath, and a sitting room with fantastic views.
The cottage is fully off-grid with the heating and hot water running entirely on the sitting room stove, the kitchen appliances relying on gas, and fresh, peat-filtered water pumped from a nearby spring. Custom wall-mounted gas lamps light the space. Not surprisingly, the cottage is intentionally disconnected with no phone, no TV, and no Internet access. Although, for those who can’t be without their Instagram fix, the island’s common hall promises a cell signal and Wi-Fi.
The best part about Shepherd’s Cottage might just be the price. A full week’s rental runs just £900 (less than USD $1,200) with bed linens, towels, two bags of coal, and roundtrip transfers to the mainland from Eilean Shona included. If the shepherd’s life isn’t your speed, the island boasts a handful of other cottages, each with a one-of-a-kind design, amenities, and vibe. Whichever you choose, just don’t forget to pack your best work boots, a herding staff, and a cloak.
Stronsay, another Scottish island, is also looking for visitors.
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