What to do when the local shop isn’t just round the corner?

What to do when the local shop is a walk, a boat and a car journey away?

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Panic, well we hope not.  Being based on an island with no local amenities, you don’t need to go Bear Grylls Survival style – unless you want to in which case Carna is ideal! We’ve been offering holiday breaks on Carna for over 10 years and we are have made sure you’re stay has all the facilities you need to cast yourself away to the island without needing to run out for supplies the whole time.

A simple list is where we would start. Number of people, number of meals and you can’t go far wrong. For foodies Ardnamurchan, the local mainland areas, has some great local food producers from organic fruit and vegetables to grass reared meat to wild venison to fantastic seafood from the world renowned local waters of the West coast of Scotland. You will be amazed at how making meals from scratch can reduce the need for the convenience shop. Bringing a veg box, a dairy and cheese selection, staple dried foods and meat from the butcher, all provide the perfect larder for a week of indulging your appetites giving you more time to concentrate on having adventures or just chilling out! We also make sure you have enough room for the luxuries – be it wine, beer, spirits or chocolate.

The simplicity of life on Carna often means that guests enjoy taking the time to create warm, and sumptuous meals to enjoy across the dinner table and into the evening.  With no need to rush the slow food is perfect, placing a roast in the oven ready to eat after a walk on the hills.  Spending the day baking bread or cakes with children, naturally unwinding with a glass of wine and your favourite dish, are all ways to create the most memorable moments from the undemanding things in life.

The other alternative does, however, provide the adventure of the getting the “messages” from home, work and ‘real life’ when going ashore, a holiday highlight for some of our guests if only to remind them of how they are escaping it all with a Digital Detox on Carna!

Links to some of our great local producers can be found here:

Shielfoot Organics: local croft producing a great range of Organic fruit and Vegetables.

Ardshealach Smokehouse: Local smokehouse producing smoked fish, cheese and meat.

Roshven Hill Farm: Local hill farm producing hill reared grass fed native beef.

Salen Jetty Shop: Carna’s nearest store selling a great range of products and serving excellent drinks and food and cakes!

Family Memories – A Moment on Carna

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Carna is a very special place in many ways, but one that always shines through is its presence in the memory of many families who have spent their holidays on the island enjoying the quality time together that Carna is perfect for. Here, we thought we would share the story of one visiting family experiencing Carna for the first time and what they made of it.

“Every year, my wife and I pack up the car with children and dogs (our own!) and head off into the sunset to discover a new part of Scotland for a one week, winter holiday… the location always changes, but the ‘mission-goal’ remains the same… isolation, beauty, birds and animals!

Sadly our 2014 visit to the islands of Carna, which lies just off the coast of Ardnamurchan, will be the last time our children get to discover a new part of Scotland… from now on it will be Carna every time!

We arrived, our car creaking with enough provisions and shopping to last us well past Christmas. We were met by Tom who brought us to the island. He gave us detailed instruction on how to operate the small boat that is provided as a little ‘run around’. He then deposited us in the larger of the two cottages on the island (Carna House) and showed us the basics of living without mains electricity and then he was gone… leaving behind him a family with no ipads, no telly… in fact no parenting tools at all!

He needn’t have worried! Carna provides more entertainment than one can know what to do with… walking to the top of the hill is a must, as is walking along the sea shore looking for shells, fishing off the pontoon… and also, (though this may not be everyone’s cup if f tea), fashioning a rudimentary catapult with which to ‘ping’ brussel sprouts at your youngest child!

IMG_1358The boat also provides masses of fun and adventure… though make sure you follow the map carefully because if you don’t stick to the channels you will soon run aground! Our first voyage on the boat we were treated to the spectacle of two white tailed eagles soaring close overhead, a family of otters mucking about, not 20m from us, and an inquisitive family of seals less than 10m from us!
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We visited in late November, when the sun barely gets over the hills to the south of Carna, so it was dark by four o’clock, at which time people withdraw to the cottage, light the gas lamps and the fires and settle down to games of battleships or reading stories to one another.

The facilities are perfect… they are sufficiently simple to maintain the feel of a ‘back to basics’ holiday, whilst still providing essentials, such as hot water and good cooking facilities.

The cooker in the kitchen is more than capable of producing bread, roast dinners and cakes. The wood burning stoves belt out heat and on several occasion we had to open windows to cool down!

SubstandardFullSizeRender (1)Billy’s (5) favourite moments were “I liked when we were going to see the otters… and going fishing for cole fish… and I liked us all reading the story of ‘Danny Champion of the World… i liked making bread and brownies with daddy. I got pinged by brussels sprouts which was awesome!’

Jack’s (6) favourite moments were “What I most liked was seeing the hinds on the hill and going on the boat trip. I also like eating the swiss roll”

THE SCRIVENOR FAMILY, PERTHSHIRE, NOVEMBER 2014.

 

 

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The Scrivenors returned for more fun Carna action in July 2015…

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6 Reasons for Staying on Carna

We all have our favourite things on holiday as well as ‘must haves’ so after a few thoughts of our own and an additional few from our friends and visitors, we thought we’d share the 5 that came up and the 1 that everyone agreed on.

  1. Natural and Wild – it is about being in the place in the moment.  Not about creating artificial settings but exploring, touching, feeling and enjoying nature in all its unkempt beauty.
  2. Wildlife – we have an abundance of wildlife right on the doorstep.  With deer roaming across the island, otters in holts and playing in the bays, breathtaking views of sea eagles and abundance of butterflies and other insect life.
  3. Trails and Walks – with freedom to ramble across the island, you can just head out on one of the animal paths and trails.  Every walk is different, heading down to the beach, the rocky shore, up over the hill, over the meadow or through the spinney.
  4. Sea & Beaches – As an island you are surrounded by the sea as it laps gently on the shore bringing life around you from the warm rich waters of the gulf stream. With a chance to guddle in rich rock pools,  scramble over rocky peninsulas hunting for crabs and sea shell sand beaches to build on, a day at the beach is right at the door.
  5. Emotion – It is not about a tick list of items but creating memories that will last, that when you look back the feeling of love, contentment and happiness is there.  The sense of success when you remember sitting quietly waiting to catch that glimpse of the otter in the sea, the sheer joy of catching a fish, and simply sitting back to enjoy the sunsets, roaring fire and starlit nights.
  6. Connecting – We love that by casting yourself off onto your own little island world, people, families and friends always reconnect and spend time together just being.  Adults become kids and kids get to be free to play.  The simpler things become far more important than worrying about everything else in the world.