Number 14B Easdale Island
WELCOME TO RACHAELS HOUSE –
The cottage is nearlly finished! All the basic things as you would expect are there for a comfortable stay. Sorry no dogs or smoking indoors and it is not suitable for young children.
Staying is strictly friends/family only and there is no cleaner so please leave the place as you find it.
Steve took these pictures at different times throughout the year.
Inside on a cold January evening by the real fire!
Easdale (Eisdeal) Island is a conservation area and the smallest permanently inhabited Inner Hebridean Island. It is Situated off Seil Island and only 15 miles south of the principal West Highland town of Oban. Eisdeal is about half a mile long and a quarter of a mile wide and served by a regular 3 minute passenger ferry ride.There are NO roads NO cars NO street lights and NO crime on Easdale. Sometimes it is possible to see the Northern Lights and on a clear night the stars are stunning and inspiring. The area is popular with walkers, sea kayakers, wild swimmers, fishermen and chillin out people.
THE FERRY HOUSE WAITING ROOM ON EASDALE
The cottage is detached cottage and built around 1860 and rebuilt in the 1960`s. It is peacefully situated away from the Island’s main pathways and offers self catering accommodation for up to 6 people.
Outside in December 2015
And a private garden!
Garden wall on Porridge lane at the back and leading to the beach.
Inside the living room it is evocative of times past and echos of the Victorian slate workers cottage. It offers a cosy living room/kitchen area with beams, wood paneling, and a hearth with a multifuel burner. As well as having electric heating for convenience the kitchen has an electric cooker, microwave oven, washing machine and fridge and freezer(outside). There are two bed rooms are panelled and beamed continuing the character and furnished with a double bed and bunk beds. Up the ladder is a private space with a futon bed where you can wake to the sound of the sea and views over Easdale bay and the Island of Luing (pronounced; Ling). Two sky lights open to the Southern side of the island with glimpses of the Islands of Scarba, Jura, Belnahua and the Garvellachs. The cottage is a rustic retreat and bolthole from the hustle and bustle of modern life. If you want a digital detox, this is the place. You will find an established private garden, enclosed by local slate walls to help keep out those wild winds that blow from the Atlantic Ocean which is only 100 paces from the garden. There you will find a unique stony beach, covered in the famous Easdale slate which has been rounded by the sea and shines with Fools gold.
The cottage is also a convenient base to travel to the othner extraordinary islands in the area; Scarba, Mull, Jura, Skye, Jura, Rum, Eiegg, to name a few. In the nearby village of Balvicar on Seil, a small but well stocked store provides most essentials and closer to hand in Ellenbech newspapers and milk can be purchased. There are pubs in the area to discover and details will be available in the cottage. A must for any visit is Seafari; whether it is whale watching, wildlife trip or a `spin` in the Correvreckan it will rank as a life-time experience.
THE OLD MAN OF STORR
For the competant sailors and fishermen, the cottage has a small dinghy that can be launched for a row around the harbour and into the sound – weather permitting. There is also a kayak of the sitontop variety but wet suit and buoyancy aid are essential! There is an inflatable 2 seater canoe but again this should only be used in the harbour. For those who like to swim on the wild side there is a quarry for swimming in. And for the more adventurous, there is a boat ride available to see a mythical sea monster – The Corryvreckan whirlpool!
Easdale is one of the most unique places in Scotland. No cars, no roads and no street lamps. Imagine somewhere with no sound except the sea crashing on the dark and unforgiving shores of the island, the ever-present wind rustling the grass and the cry of the gulls. And neighbours in the rows of small white cottages chatting as they meet. Where else is the wheelbarrow the official mode of transport: with individually identified examples lying on the grass by the slipway for the small ferry, awaiting their owners’ return, or parked up outside cottages?
WHEELBARROWS AND THE FOLK MUSEUM
The slate industry reached its peak in 1881 when the island was struck by a horrendous storm and tidal wave that swept livestock away and flooded houses but also the quaries that never recovered – overnight the entire workforce of 500 islanders were destitute. There seems scarcely a land surface that has not in some way been altered by the quarrying operations, leaving evidence in the form of many deep quarries, still filled in by remarkably clear water, linked together by slate spoil. Even the island’s hill, that provides a magnificent viewpoint, looks to have been sculpted by quarrying into a shape that nature never intended.
Who would want to live on or visit an island that is effectively a post-industrial wasteland, a landscape of water-filled quarries, of slate, and of dark grey rock? Well, actually, quite a few people. The population in 1931, 20 years after commercial slate quarrying ended, had fallen to 78. By 1961 it had fallen much further, to 16, and showed every sign of dwindling to nothing at all quite quickly. However, by 2001 the population had risen to 58, with people moving here to enjoy its uniqueness and its sense of community.
FERRY AND PUB
If you visit on a sunny day it will be hard to find a better place, it is easy to appreciate the joys of Easdale. The picture postcard rows of cottages surrounded by grass – with few or no paths – which cluster beside the harbour are enchanting, and there is a path leading right around the island that can be walked in 20 minutes or so, often winding its way between the old quarries and giving access from the rear of the hill to the viewpoint.
It must be a rather different matter on a day when a westerly gale is bringing rain in sideways and the grey slate becomes almost black under dark clouds as depicted in the clip above taken from the neighbors window. It is often said that Scotland’s moods swing more with the weather than any other country in the world. It may be true: and it is especially true of the Slate Islands and of Easdale Island in particular. But even on a dark and wet day this is an island with a really nice pub, The Puffer Bar, that does excellent food and drink and an impromptu music session may be experienced either here or in the pubs in the wider area and then of course there is Oban offering all the modern conveniences should you feel the island life too much?. There is the community hall that often features some top acts that often choose to gig in this magical place http://www.easdaleislandhall.org/#whatson . And every year Easdale hosts the world stone skimming championships. With an abundance of sea-life in the waters around, the gulf stream climate (warm but often wet!), You will find a cosey cottage to.
Take quilt covers pillow slips with you to put onto bedding or take sleeping bags. Towels, loo rolls are not provided.
A Tesco order of groceries could be planned to arrive at the Ferry House at Ellenbech.
Car parking is free on or close to the quay at Ellenbech. The house is NOT suitable for young children. Please no smoking indoors and sorry NO dogs!
Electricity; Just inside the door above and to the left is the main breaker panel. 3 switches needed are marked with black spots (not in picture)
Make sure this is switched on and switch off when you leave please.
Heating: There will be a multi fuel stove in the hearth to burn coal or wood. There are modern electric radiators in the hall and living room and also bedrooms that can be switched on for convenience and to give heating a boost.
Hot water ; Switch on electric immersion in airing cupboard DONT FORGET TO SWITCH IT OFF! There is a shower but apologies for the 70`s bathroom which will be replaced soon as!
The house is NOT on mains sewage and has a septic tank. VERY IMPORTANT! Please be mindful and take care in what you put down the sink, W.C. etc. do not leave taps running. There is no service for emptying the tank and if it gets overworked!!!!!!!
Rubbish needs to be placed in the bin on slipway but is can also be placed outside door in bin bag on Wednesday mornings for Annabel to collect. There is an incinerator in the garden for general use.
ONLY THOSE COMPETENT should use the boat especially outside the harbour as strong tides can rip through between the mainland although it is possible to row. It does take 2 stout fellows or lasses to launch and recover the boat from the trailer but a helping hand is usually available in the summer to haul her up the slipway which makes this task easy. Local advice should be sought always. There are a couple of fishing rods in the shed.
Take note of the ferry times posted inside the waiting room. They are amazingly regular and the ferrymen can be most helpful.
Island is featured on the film Ring of Bright Water(1960) After 31.07. There is also a book obtainable off ebay called `Island` and is a diary of natural history beautifully illustrated with watercolour sketches. Florence and the Machines recent video is filmed there(Queen of Peace)
A typical drive there from Norwich is 10 hours (door to door) leaving early on a Sunday morning.
The view from the beach!