Sleeps: 20 Bedrooms: 11 Bathrooms: 6
Type: Seclusion, Mindfulness, Celebration, Family
Features & Activities: Boating, fishing, kayaking, rural
Location: Loch Moidart, off the West Coast of Scottish Highlands
Those Looking For: Time to reconnect, get off the grid and re-energise
This exclusive Scottish Island retreat is a back-to-nature Neverland. Originally the site of an 18th-century hunting lodge, the island has an illustrious history—the author J.M. Barrie spent summers here in the 1920s and wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Peter Pan while staying on Eilean Shona.
A retreat for guests who want to detach and detox from the modern world, Eilean Shona nestles in a tranquil loch on the dramatic west coast of Scotland and is a car free wilderness heaven.
Days are filled with cooking and drinking around camp fires, wild swimming, reading, hiking, picnicking, kayaking, nature watching, and generally pottering about.
Eilean Shona House, with its comfortable, quirky design, is ideal for family gatherings and special celebrations. The holiday cottages are perfect for romantic escapes or family adventures.
1. Sea kayak around the private island.
2. Visit Castle Tioram, a medieval ruin.
3. Sip a glass of wine whilst watching otters play and the sun setting.
4. Enjoy delicious seafood around a camp fire on a deserted sandy beach.
5. Curl up by the fire with a good book and enjoy the peace and tranquility that the island brings.
Vanessa Branson has artistically created a beautiful retreat and place that can accommodate up to 20 with double rooms, a few twins and even a bunk room.
It is perfect for family celebrations, Christmas and New Year parties, executive team building away weeks, well-being or simply gathering with friends.
Although remote, provisioning for Eilean Shona House is simple and will be arranged with the help of Dream Escape.
The team have worked with a number of great chefs and can guide towards those who would suit your party. In addition, Jill Gosney who lives in Acharacle, the nearest mainland village, cooks wonderful dishes and is happy to leave them at Dorlin Pier daily.
If you prefer to self-cater, we can help with your requirements and food order. A number of local suppliers do deliver to Dorlin Pier. We can also order items on your behalf to be delivered for your arrival. If you prefer to do your own shopping, the nearest supermarket is in Fort William and we have plenty of freezer and fridge space to accommodate your group for at least a week.
The Island has a little shop selling essentials, such Wine, Beer, Spirits, milk, butter, bread, firelighters etc, as well as Jill Gosney’s award-winning venison casseroles and fish pies. This is by the Bothy and is open on for an hour twice a week to top up supplies.
Eilean Shona is a car-free wilderness heaven. Days are filled with cooking and drinking around camp fires, crabbing, wild swimming, painting, reading, hiking, picnicking, kayaking, nature watching, photography ….
The island has a limitless number of beautiful and varied walks with both marked and unmarked paths. Be aware that to navigate the Atlantic coastline is not for the faint hearted: there is no marked trail and plenty of boulder leaping and cliff scrabbling. However the network of paths around the rest of the island are signposted – some clearer than others. You need never panic as the sea is almost always in sight to guide you to where you are heading.
Swimming in Eilean Shona’s pristine waters is one of the glories of the world. At first paddle, the water feels very cold indeed but we recommend you persevere. Wear a swimming cap – if your head is warm you have nothing to fear! When swimming off the pier check which direction the tide is pulling and set off up tide.
The mountain and road trails on the mainland are excellent for cycling and for keen golfers there is a nearby course at Traigh, roughly an hour’s drive away. Clay pigeon shooting sessions can also be arranged.
Your own boats
The west coast of Scotland is pristine and has hundreds of secluded inlets and beaches to explore. Shona offers safe anchorage to those wanting to bring their own yacht or rib. There are sea kayaks available for the main house and several paddleboards.
If you are arranging a big celebration, we will be happy to help organise a bespoke event. There are a number of wonderful local bands, pipers and singers if you wish to add some Highland style to a celebration – Hughena has all the contact numbers.
Company Away Days
Eilean Shona is ideally suited for a company team building, offering a great mix of outdoor pursuits and relaxed luxury. The village hall is a meeting room with a difference for workshops. Bonding activities can be organised, including hiking, round island kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, and road and mountain biking (only on the mainland).
Eilean Shona has a very diverse flora and fauna due to its varied topography and the wide variety of habitats that occur on the island.
Some of the stunning wildlife you will encounter are Red Deer, Red Squirrels, Pine Martens, Otters, Common & Grey Seals, White-tailed Eagles, Golden Eagles, Buzzards, Hooded Crows, Grey Herons, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Red breasted Mergansers, Herring Gulls, Tawny Owls.
Smaller species of birds including Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Cuckoo, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Siskin, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Wheater, Tree Pipit and Meadow Pipit.
Butterly species including Peacock, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Painted Lady, Red Admiral and Scotch Argus.
Dolphin, Minke Whales and Basking Sharks can all be seen in surrounding waters.
Eilean Shona successfully combines comfortable living with a respect for the environment. We make every effort to be plastic free and carbon neutral on the island with no cars, plentiful wood supply and all our electricity coming from the hydro-electric power station. Our water supply comes from the hills and we are meticulous with our recycling and use only bio-cleaning products.
We see our role as custodians of the island, protecting the landscape and creating the perfect environment for improvement. We’ve created a 600 acre deer free zone and have a full time woodsman to plant new trees and clear paths to ensure that the island’s 1,000 acre woodland is managed all year round, thereby sustaining its natural beauty for generations to come.
All income raised from cottage and house rentals is reinvested into Shona’s continuing conservation projects.
Eilean Shona has a rich cultural programme of workshops and residencies and Eilean Shona’s cultural focus remains a central theme. Artists and writers taking part have included Louisa Young, Ben Rivers, Ayan Farah, Paul Kindersly, Laura Lancaster, Pep Duran Esteva, Carmen Galofre and many more.
Shona Artists Residency Programme
The island has long been an inspiration for artists and writers and to build on this legacy we are launching an annual residency programme from March 2021.
Courses, led by experienced teachers, will focus on exploring creativity in this truly unique island setting. Cut off from the world and all its stresses, you will be immersed in nature and surrounded by wildlife. Retreats are aimed at both the beginner and those with more experience.
Writing workshops have been led by Amy Liptrot, Raffaella Barker, Hilary Boyd and Freya North. Our next writing workshop will take place in the Autumn of 2020.
Podcast. Holly chats to Vanessa Branson about all the wonderful experiences to be had on her exclusive Scottish Island, Eilean Shona.
"Heaven on Earth This is the kind of magic one longs for, looks for & seldom finds"
Sunday Times “Best Places to Stay Hotel” 2020
As you sweep up the long tree clad drive you will glimpse the beautiful façade of Glenapp Castle; encapsulating the romance of the Scottish Baronial style with magical towers, turrets, and crenellations. Oak panelled halls lead to the heart of the castle offering stunning views out to sea and the famous volcanic outcrop of Ailsa Craig. Beyond that you can see the Isle of Arran, Holy Island, and, on a clear day, the hills of Northern Ireland. Also available for exclusive use.
Rooms : 17 individually designed rooms with stunning views
Type : Couples, Families, Outdoor Actives, Golfers
The Rocco Forté Collection’s Balmoral hotel is a luxury hotel in the true sense of the word. Complete with a Michelin-starred restaurant, tranquil spa and kilted doormen, the hotel is one of the city’s premier properties. Situated in what was once the North British Station Hotel, the hotel lies in the heart of Edinburgh where Old Town meets New, a True Edinburgh icon at an unparalleled address. While many Edinburgh hotels claim to have Edinburgh’s landmarks on their doorstep, few can say their own doorstep is a landmark!
Rooms : 167 Bedrooms and 20 Suites Type : Couples, Family, City Breaks
The Fife Arms
Sunday Times Hotel of the Year 2019, the Fife Arms is a Victorian Coaching Inn that has been imaginatively restored in a resolutely Victorian style with a unique charm and is located in the historic Scottish village of Braemar amidst the majestic landscape of the Cairngorms National Park. As a fascinating passion project from international art dealers Hauser & Wirth, there are over 12,000 pieces of artworks and antiques here, and interior designer Russell Sage, working in collaboration with local historians, ensured that every square centimetre of the hotel evokes the traditions and customs of the Scottish Highlands.
Rooms : 46 Bedrooms and Suites Type : Couples, Active Outdoors, Art, Royal
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Rob Arrow, Al Tayyar Group
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William A Heim, Client
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Jean Newman-Glock, Signature Travel Network
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Jill Jergel, Frontiers International Travel
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Max Levy, Direct client
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Joni Gerace, The Travel Society, LLC
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Clients of Courtney Regan, Affiliate of Brownell Travel
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Jill A. Jergel, Frontiers International Travel
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Carole McFarland, Universal Travel
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Donald M. Davis, President, Luxury Travel, Inc.
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Peter Carideo, CRC Travel
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Ann Lipschitz, Worldview Travel
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Financial Times, How to Spend it
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Conde Nast Traveller Magazine
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Yvonne Malka, Signature Travel Network, April 2018