For our final two days in Scotland we decided to forgo electricity, radiators and modern plumbing. However, our stay at Craighead Howf was a far cry from “roughing it.” Ian and his wife own a farm about an hour from Edinburgh and have built four little cabins on their property over the years. There is Summer Howf with no heating (where Tommy and Emily stayed), Tree Howf, and Muckle Howf (the largest one with heating and plumbing). The last one is Wee Howf. Of course, I chose that one based on the name alone. But it also helped that it’s insulated for winter and has a little heating stove.
As you can see, our little one-room cabin had a pretty perfect location, nestled between trees and rolling green hills. In our front yard we had a pond, and our backyard happened to be the neighbor’s horse farm. It was almost a joke how beautiful it was. It was so peaceful and romantic that I’ve told every engaged person I know to spend their honeymoon there.
Side note: If anyone ends up honeymooning at Wee Hoft, bring your dress along and take some photos among Scotland’s many castle ruins like this couple below. Ian doesn’t own a horse (though they plan to get horses and a Highland cow next summer) but they are not lacking for animals. These little goats were skilled climbers and would hang out on top of their roof.
These sheep were pretty, if a bit shy.
And these geese kept things lively (thank goodness for the fence between us).
But our favorite were these donkeys. Even if they’ll try to eat your scarf.
The white one had huge patches of fur missing from his side and Ian explained that it’s very hard to keep donkeys healthy. Though later we saw the brown one eating the fur off his sweet friend so we may have found the culprit. Thankfully there’s a fence between these goats or who knows what would happen to the little goat’s coat.
Now let’s take a tour of the house … Every little detail was perfect. The main room contained a bed, a small table, a kitchen area, and two chairs in front of the stove. The wrap-around balcony connected the house to the bathroom/kitchen annex. Surprisingly, it housed a shower with warm water, a sink, a gas stove and a compost toilet. We were a bit nervous about that last feature but it wasn’t too complicated. They left us a handy note!And look how cute our refrigerator is! Isn’t this what all children’s dreams are made of? Our Wee Howf stands above a bubbling, cool creek that kept our milk jug, cheese and chocolate bars chilly all weekend. Fetching milk for morning tea has never been so exciting.
On our last night Meghan woke up in the middle of the night feeling nauseous and threw up. I mention this only because I couldn’t imagine a more idyllic place to be sick; she wasn’t bent over some gross toilet bowl, she was leaning over a balcony in the cool Scottish air above a creek. In the distance black stallions slept in their pasture. And, if you can even believe this, the two donkeys heard her in distress and trotted over to stare and offer their condolences. I know we like to anthropomorphize, but they really did look so worried!On our front patio we made s’mores on our little grill. We weren’t ambitious enough to make hot food, so we subsisted on bread, cheese, crisps, fruit and chocolate. No complaints here. Finally: the main room! It felt like we were kids playing Little House on the Prairie. Meghan was both Ma and Pa, taking on the role of keeper of the fire. I doubted the ability of this baby stove to beat the cold nights, but I was very wrong. It was like a luxury sauna in there. Ian had insulated the place so well that we woke up both nights in pools of sweat. Meghan opened up the top half of the back door so the cool air could come in, as well as the soothing sound of the creek right below us.
Of course, with no electricity our only light source at night was the fire and a few candles. It has to be the most romantic place I’ve ever been. By 5 p.m. it was pitch-black, and because it was too dim to read there was really nothing to do but watch our show, Outlander. Yes, Meghan had her laptop fully charged up, so I can’t claim to have had a real old-fashioned experience.
Ian thoughtfully set up a little store off the barn in case you didn’t feel like running to the town’s shop for little necessities. The eggs of course were straight from his chickens and the “trust system” is the rule of the land. When you opened the door a radio automatically filled the store with old tunes. You could be quite content spending your weekend on his farm, but the falconry was nearby, so we spent our afternoon there.
Needless to say, I highly recommend Wee Howf for anyone who can handle a compost toilet, and I hope to stay in the other cottages some day soon.
Thank you for the invite Meghan! So glad I got to share a whisky and porridge (and a porridge with whisky) in Scotland with you.