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Scottish Island Retreat: Isle of Rona

When you think of a private island retreat, you immediately conjure up images of golden sands, clear blue waters and a vibrancy of colour that would make even Matisse jealous.  And with more and more of these island homes for let, the only thing preventing most of us from renting one and turning it into our own private holiday idyll for a week or two, is the invariably high price tag that comes attached to the brochure.

But say you’re willing to forgo 23.5 hours of blazing sunshine a day, you’re happy to pack your waterproofs as well as your flip flops, and you don’t mind sharing an island’s sandy shoreline with a flock of sheep or two?  What could a compromise like that get you?

Well, if you head just off the north east coast of the Isle of Skye in Scotland, you can find a remote stretch of land called Rona that comes with a weekly rental price of a mere £2,000 – considerably less than you might pay for your own private island in the Caribbean, although you may not have as much chance to sunbathe here.

However, for that cost, travellers can buy a week of solitude on this unique isle, owned by a Danish couple who have been creating a little island economy for the past decade or so, introducing livestock, enhancing tourism and sympathetically restoring the ruined properties that were abandoned by the last inhabitants in the early 1900’s.  But if that price tag is still a little beyond your wallet’s capabilities, then don’t panic.  The accommodation can be rented individually, making island living much more attainable for most of us.

Renting this Scottish island gives you access to three wonderfully renovated cottages in an isolated cove known as Dry Harbour, where fresh wild mussels are easy to harvest at low tide.  Further accommodation can be found at the island’s bunkhouse, and the home of the island’s caretaker, and about the only other person you’ll ever see on your stay here, Bill Cowie, doubles as a bed and breakfast.

Fishing is abundant in these waters, and there are plenty of cliff side spots where you can try for a catch, as well as a licensed boat that will get you out to deeper sea.  Shellfish lovers can make use of the creels to provide dinner, and if all else fails, you might be able to persuade Bill to make some of his fabulous oatcakes to keep you going.

Rona is a place to go to unwind.  The nights here are often clear, and when we visited it was possible to walk the (few) pathways by moonlight and without the need for a torch.  Daytime brings adventure, exploring the heather covered crags, climbing the few small hills and seeking out the remnants of the tiny settlements, with their rich histories of desperate Danish Princesses and cave built altars.  Forget televisions and electronic games, because Rona is somewhere to escape to.

If the idea of renting your own island for a week or more appeals to you, or to check out the cottages available, click here to go through to the Isle of Rona’s website.

Candidtraveller loves the Isle of Rona, and we can’t wait to go back and unwind.

Images by Bill Cowie