I have stayed here at least three times and it is one of the most essential experiences on earth. Having stayed in November and in July, I can say without reservation that it is delightful no matter the season. Truly an adventure and an education, on an island that enchants and haunts with its beauty and unadorned way of life.
Yes, after Ardbeg the road is single-track, and you will have to open and close two gates once you reach Ardtalla Estate on the way to the cottage. It's part of the adventure. You pass Kildalton Cross, skirt the edges of the sea, are met by red deer and hares and the odd pheasant or two as well as sheep and cows. (If you fancy lunch, the Ardbeg distillery does have an excellent cafe; check hours first.)
Nights at Ardtalla are rich with the experience of an almost-lost way of life—coal fire in the sitting-room, candles up to bed—while days are just as rich with the many paths along the seashore or across the fields. Try to find Flora McNiven's grave, overlooking the sea.
Drive back through Port Ellen and visit other sites. Have lunch at The Drome Cafe at the airport, or travel all the way down to Portnahaven and have lunch at An Tigh Seinnse....
I can't wait to go back.|
Comment by Honore Date: 01-05-2009
If you are looking for a peaceful, secluded experience in a beautiful setting then Ardtalla is heaven. No electricity, untreated peat-water, and no people (other than the farmer in the morning, and the odd intrpid walker). Lots of rabbits, deer, seals (and sheep!). In many respects we felt it was like 5* camping, rather than a 2* cottage.
It's a LONG way from Port Ellen, on a road which you have to go slowly on and can take it's toll on regular suspensions - it takes close to 30 min driving - so if you do want to spend time in the fleshpots of "the big city" then it can be a long way home. It's even further from the beaches at the top of the island, so frequent trips back to 'home base' during the day are pretty much out of the question.
Comment by martin Date: 08-07-2008