THE gradual return to light nights can only mean one thing, winter is beating a slow retreat.
It is at this time of year that we begin hatching ouR spring and summer holiday plans.
With the pound remaining weak, more and more Scots are appreciating the devastating scenery on their doorsteps and are holidaying at home.
With this in mind we asked cottages4u.co.uk to give us the five best Scottish cottages on their extensive books.
Here is what they came up with:
Set within its own garden, this detached timber cottage creates a cosy holiday base in a quiet rural location, in the village of Newtonmore, in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. The area is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise with a variety of year-round pursuits on offer - from scenic walks, fishing, shooting, golf, horse riding, cycling and of course skiing. Also a variety of castles, gardens and distilleries to visit and visits to Cairngorm Funicular Railway and Highland Wildlife Park make for great days out. Inverness the Highland capital, Loch Ness and Fort William are also easily reached. Shop, pubs and restaurant 400 yards.
Seabird Cottage enjoys an enviable location just yards from the shores of Broadford Bay and benefits from magnificent views across the water towards the mountains of the west coast mainland as well as overlooking eight offshore islands. Just a few minutes’ walking distance from the heart of the village, with its variety of amenities including pubs and restaurants, the single-storey holiday cottage is ideally placed for touring this lovely island. For the outdoor enthusiast, walking, climbing in the Cuillins and mountain biking are just a few of the many activities. For the less energetic, just relax and watch the abundance of wildlife to be seen from the cottage. Shops ¼ mile, pub 100 yards.
With views over the Moorfoot hills, this detached house has been crafted from original farm buildings to create a spacious contemporary holiday property. There is a timber deck running along the front of the house which can be accessed from each of the main living areas opening with a sliding wall from the dining area, and also a landscaped garden with seating and a children’s play area. The swimming pool and games room provide entertainment, and the living areas provide both quiet and social spaces. Local shopping and pub in Stow, 7 miles, with main shopping in Galashiels, 15 miles. Edinburgh is just 16 miles - explore Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, the cobbles of the Royal Mile and the thoroughfares of the New Town. Enjoy theatres, clubs, restaurants, art galleries and shops. Fishing and hill walking locally, with golf at Torwoodlee, 14 miles. Good access to the Border towns of Melrose and Kelso with their ancient abbeys, historic houses and gardens. Shop and pub 7 miles.
Of a very high standard, Goose Cottage is a single-storey holiday property set in spectacular grounds with stunning sea views towards Kerrera and Mull, and magnificent gardens. Oban (shops, bars and restaurants) is 1 mile; from its bustling harbour, boat trips leave for Mull and Iona. Enjoy Glencoe, Inveraray, sea safaris from Easdale. Shops 1/2 mile, pub ¼ mile.
In a unique location on the beautiful Seil Island, reached by the famous Bridge over the Atlantic, this single storey, former slate-worker’s terraced cottage boasts a balcony with stunning sea views, and is an ideal holiday base. Enjoy leisurely walks, sea fishing, watersports, golf, and an abundance of wildlife. Sea-fari excursions from the village offer boat trips to the famous Corryvreckan Whirlpool. There are fascinating archaeological sites, beautiful castles and gardens within easy reach.
Oban has shops, seafood restaurants, bars, and ferries to the surrounding islands, including Mull, Staffa and Iona. Shop 50 yards, bar/restaurant 50 yards.
• If you have a property you’d like to let out as a holiday cottage, visit www.rentmycottage.com