Embracing the wild west of Ardnamurchan

Mairi McFarlane embraced a totally different lifestyle when she swapped pounding the beat in Glasgow, to becoming a crofter tending cattle, sheep and pigs on Scotland’s wild, west coast.

“My father was from the village of Kilchoan and my mother was from the Isle of Lewis, and all my childhood holidays were spent either in Ardnamurchan or Lewis,” said Mairi, who served as policewoman in Glasgow, Oban, Helensburgh and Dunbarton.

“My dad retired to Kilchoan and after he had a triple heart bypass in 1990, I also moved here with my daughters. I’d always wanted to live close to my own folk and had long wanted to be a crofter,” said Mairi, 58.

“We worked the croft and initially kept cattle, sheep and pigs, while the girls had their ponies. I enjoyed the whole crofting experience while the girls received a fantastic education attending Kilchoan Primary School and Tobermory High School.”

Like a lot of those living in rural communities, Mairi had more than one job.

“I used to clean houses at weekends and noticed there were no holiday homes aimed at the couples end of the market, apart from caravans, so decided to design my own log cabin which I’d let out to couples.

“I’d never done anything like this before but thought I’d have a go. I came up with the design; a Polish company created the lodge and transported it here on the back of an articulated lorry. Local tradesmen then assembled it.

“From initial idea to completion took around a year.”

That was five years ago, and since then, the high-spec lovely log cabin which has an open-plan lounge, dining and kitchen area, a spacious double bedroom and large shower room, has been in great demand.

The lounge area also has double doors which lead out into a generous veranda – the ideal spot to watch the local wildlife, chill out and relax.

Situated less than a mile from the famous Sanna Bay and beach and enjoying lovely views of the Small Isles, it’s a wonderfully comfortable home in a picturesque location. It comes with its own fenced garden, parking space for two vehicles, and is on the market at offers over £140,000.

“I’ve never stayed in it myself – I’m scared to because I might not move out.

It’s such a relaxing space,” confessed Mairi.

Instead, she lives in another property on the croft, which she’s also decided to sell.

Hill View is a traditional detached cottage which has been extended over the years to become a first-class family home. With views stretching towards Sanna Bay and the Small Isles, the house, which is in good order throughout, would also make an ideal holiday let.

There are outbuildings, including a former black house and stone byre, to the rear of the property which provide an opportunity for further development and expansion, subject to gaining all the necessary planning consents.

Accommodation in Hill View begins with an entrance porch which leads to a hall offering access to the lounge, sitting room, bathroom and upstairs rooms.

The good-sized lounge has a feature tiled fireplace and door to the kitchen/diner which is fitted with panelled units teamed with granite-effect work surfaces. It comes complete with an Indesit oven, hob and chimney hood and is plumbed for a dishwasher. There’s a handy built-in cupboard and door to the rear vestibule and utility room.

There’s a further sitting room/lounge with feature tiled fireplace and a bathroom fitted with a modern white three-piece suite with spa bath and over-bath shower. Upstairs, there are three good-sized bedrooms all tastefully decorated.

A grand family home, it’s on the market with a guide price of £185,000.

“Building the chalet was a great idea. It has proved very popular with guests and could be let out all year round. It also gave me a second income, but my youngest daughter left to go to Edinburgh last August and since then I’ve had empty nest syndrome.

“I’m selling as I’d like to be closer to my girls and also help out childminding my two grandchildren.

“What I’ll miss most about living here is being able to look out the window and see something different every day, but it’s time to move on and it has been wonderful to live the life of a crofter, at least for a few years.”

Both properties are located in the idyllic crofting township of Achnaha which is around five miles from the pretty village of Kilchoan, the most westerly village on mainland Britain. The Ardnamurchan Peninsula is simply stunning and surrounded by magnificent mountains and offers breathtaking coastal views.

Those interested in the holiday lodge can contact Mairi on 01972510338 or via mairimcfarlane8@gmail.com. Potential buyers of the main house, Hill View, should contact MacPhee and Partners, Fort William on 01397 70 2200.