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Tirlaggan Studio

This studio cottage rests on the Isle of Lismore, Inner Hebrides of Scotland and can sleep two people in one bedroom. Tirlaggan Studio is a fabulous single-storey studio

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Tirlaggan Studio is a fabulous single-storey studio dwelling resting on the Isle of Lismore in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Hosting one double bed within the open-plan studio living area, along with a shower room, this property can sleep up to two guests. The open-plan living space is also home to a kitchen, dining area and sitting area with a wood burning stove. Outside there is off-road parking and a shared garden with barbecue area, seating, patio and lawn and separate outbuilding with washing machine. Tirlaggan Studio is a perfect base for two to enjoy a romantic break in the midst of the natural beauty of Lismore.

Dogfriendly Magazine Review

Read our comprehensive review of this listing printed in our bi-monthly magazine.

Tirlaggan Studio, Isle of Lismore
Review by Scott and Lorna Ancliffe

An island just 10 miles long and 1 mile wide with a population of only 170 may sound like something from Robinson Crusoe. It may even elicit visions of swaying palm trees, pristine sandy beaches, and turquoise waters, but the Isle of Lismore in Scotland is just as special and unique. As a keen wildlife and landscape photographer, I always like to look for places off the beaten track. The island of Lismore certainly meets that criteria and has an abundance of wildlife as an added bonus.

With the car loaded up, my wife Lorna and I took our obligatory holiday selfie, featuring Drift (our exuberant Border Collie), a tradition we started since our first UK holiday together back in 2014. 

Our 5am alarm signified the start of our 356-mile, seven-hour journey, which was only broken up by a pitstop at Stirling services for sandwiches, Iron Bru (when in Rome) and a toilet break for those on two and four legs. Suitably refuelled, we headed to Oban ferry terminal, which is where we were to board the car ferry (need to book in advance from CalMac Ferries) to Lismore. We found ourselves in Oban a little early, which gave us ample time to do a food shop for the week. This is certainly recommended, as there is only one shop on Lismore to buy groceries.

The ferry took 55 minutes, which was sufficient time to rest our eyes after an early start and a long journey. We then made the short, one-mile journey to our accommodation from the Achnacroish harbour, through single-track windy roads with stunning panoramic views across the island.

Our first impressions of the accommodation were great. We had a lovely, little welcome basket, which included Prosecco, citronella incense sticks and a CD from the accommodation owner, Davy, who uses the studio to record music at certain times throughout the year.

Floor to ceiling full-length bi-folding windows allowed us to have 24-hour views of the sublime Scottish mountains. On a good, clear day, you can see 14 peaks, including Ben Nevis, Glen Coe and Ben Cruachan, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural scenery that Lismore has to offer.

The garden is safe and secure, which gave us the confidence to let Drift roam free. Even though we brought our own, it was a nice touch having poo bags and water bowls available in the studio. There is also another larger property to rent (Tirlaggan House) which sleeps four. We spoke to the couple next door who also had dogs and bizarrely were from the same town (Chesterfield) as Lorna and I. The saying ‘such a small world’ rings true.

After we had unpacked and had a cup of Yorkshire Gold, we got out the OS map and plotted out places of interest and circular walks which we found on an extremely helpful website, walklismore.co.uk. We opted to drive the length of the island to get our bearings and passed only four other cars on the way, along with several walkers and friendly locals.

After a jaunt around the island, which included sightings of buzzards, bulls and highland cows, we headed for the hub of the island, the Lismore Gaelic Heritage Centre.  Opened in 2014, the centre is a hive of activity for locals and tourists alike. It pays homage to Lismore’s rich history while keeping its Gaelic roots alive with artefacts, information, talks, workshops and a gift shop.

A key feature of the centre is the Lismore Café. It is run by Dan Steel and Sarah McDonald, a couple who have been at the helm for the last three years. Sadly, due to the building being listed as a museum, dogs are not allowed inside. However, there is a veranda with ample seating and stunning views.

The café boasts a great menu including classics such as haddock and chips, soups and sandwiches, burgers (beef, chicken and veggie) salads, scampi, garlic mushrooms, and of course, haggis. Dan and Sarah make a great team, with friendly customer service at the heart of what they do. Dan is the head chef, while Sarah is responsible for the delicious homemade cakes and ice creams; she is also partly responsible for me leaving the island a pound or two heavier! Sarah uses ingredients from the island to make her delicious ice creams, including rhubarb, elderflower, and bramble. The café has themed meal evenings once per week, which include fish and chip night, burger night, curry night and pizza night. It just so happened that on our first evening it was fish and chips night. It is advised to book the themed nights a couple of days in advance, although takeaway orders are also available. The fish and chips were excellent, lovely beer battered cod washed down nicely by a couple of Loch Fyne ales.

The next day we had opted to go on a local walk around the central area of the island. With Drift in tow, we embarked on our first foray. We started strong with a good 12k circular walk, which included climbing up to Tirefuir Broch, a tall stone-built Iron Age structure cylindrical in shape, reminiscent of a cooling tower. The broch has sweeping views across the island and the Firth of Lorn all the way across to hills of Mull towards the south-west. Drift thoroughly enjoyed her amble, and despite her herding instincts as a collie she declined the opportunity to acquaint herself with the local sheep and, fortunately, their excrement.

With our legs well and truly stretched, we headed back to Tirlaggan for a bit of R&R, stopping off at the well-stocked Lismore Stores. The store has just about everything you can think of, crammed into a small space. The island’s Post Office is also located within the store too.

The studio is fully equipped with everything you may need to whip up a meal. It has an electric two-ring hob, microwave, fridge, and an extensive range of utensils. Sadly, no dishwasher, which meant I was on cleaning duties while Lorna opted to cook. That evening, clear skies were forecast, and other than being in the middle of the North Sea, there is no better place than Lismore to see the Milky Way.

 

The next day, we headed to the most southern end of the island, which boasts two good-sized lochs and splendid views across to Lismore Lighthouse. Built in 1833, the imposing white tower stands at 26 metres high and makes a great stopping point to admire on a circular walk from Kilcheran. Also, along the route, you will find the deserted Achanard village, uninhabited since 1861.

The third day of our stay was a trip to the mainland, once again, using the car ferry. We opted for a trip to the Glenfinnan Viaduct near Fort William. Avid Harry Potter fans may remember it as the viaduct that Hogwarts Express goes over in The Prisoner of Azkaban. We also travelled to Glencoe, where Lorna and Drift indulged me, while I crept into shallow rivers with my camera and tripod to grab a well composed, but wet, photograph.

The fourth day was a trip to the northern part of the island including a jaunt around Port Ramsay. This is also, where the foot ferry will arrive at the island and make a short crossing to Port Appin, where there is a popular restaurant called The Pierhouse and Castle Stalker, an imposing castle built in 1320. Perfectly placed, there is a red phone box on the corner of the car park at Port Ramsay, which contains delicious home baked goods courtesy of The Dutch Bakery.

Our final day comprised a visit to Sailean, a stunning part of the island with a lovely, picturesque bay. Sailean is a 75-acre croft where the Sailean Project can be found. The project has sustainability and regenerative farming at its core, working with nature, rather than against it. From the bay in Sailean, people have spotted otters, porpoise, and the occasional golden eagle, who tend to reside on the nearby Isle of Mull. In the area, there are the remains of several small buildings, which were part of the old lime-burning industry of the early 19th century.

We then headed for a lunch refuel at the Lismore Café, before making our way to arguably our favourite place on the island, Coeffin Castle. The 13th century castle remains, stand prominently on the western coast of Lismore. You can access the castle from the main road, near St Moluag’s Cathedral. 

There is a farmhouse about 100 yards to the left of the cathedral, follow the path for about a half

a mile and you will find the castle. The bay has clear, pristine waters with Drift certainly needing no invitation to go in for a paddle. We could not think of a more perfect way to spend our last day – beautiful views and time spent with our collie.

All in all, a truly memorable break on such a unique, special island. I for one will be back and I urge you all to visit.

Tirlaggan Studio, Isle of Lismore, review by Scott and Lorna Anclifee and appears in DogFriendly magazine issue 70. For more information on the DogFriendly magazine visit https://www.dogfriendly.co.uk/magazine


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Listing Updated: 06/04/2022


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Listing Address

Tirlaggan
Isle of Lismore
Oban
Argyll and Bute
PA34 5UG
01244 356655
Website

Listing Details

No. Of Dogs Allowed

2


Charge For Dogs

No


Enclosed Garden

Yes


Bedrooms

1


Bathrooms

1


Sleeps

2


Dog Welcome Pack

No

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