It was our third visit to this lovely cottage and it did not disappoint. As soon as we walked in we relaxed and soaked up the views in the ever changing light. The location on the sheltered side of Bays Loch is hard to beat in a cottage that is very well appointed, warm and comfortable. The furnishings reflect the island heritage and there is a wealth of books to while away the hours if the weather is inclement, on Hebridean life, natural history, fiction.
On our first day we made the mistake of going out in the rain, heading for a beach that should have been sheltered, but by the time we got there, the wind had changed and we were walking into the full force of the weather, at Queen’s Beach.
Suffice it to say I had to wring out both pairs of my socks afterwards.
It was our first visit with our dog, Ruby, 11 months old today. She had a fantastic holiday, swimming, exploring on the rocks at low tide and rooting through the long grass on the banks, all this just in the garden. East and West beaches were almost deserted as was Clachan Sands so she could run in and out of the sea, until we were worn out.
We saw a Golden Eagle on the headland between Queens Beach and West Beach and also from the coast road on North Uist going in the direction of Sollas.
This time we couldn’t eat out because of leaving Ruby, but the local shop was more than adequate for our needs. Everyone was very friendly and helpful.
I bought some local Hebridean wool from Birlin Yarns, the red roofed house round the bend with the black sheep, to knit squares for a throw, there’s a good discount just now.
Our week came to an end all too quickly.
There is something different and special about living on a small Island and we hope to be able to make our fourth visit.
John and Antonia, September 2021
Thank you for a great place to stay and place to visit. The cottage is fantastic, very comfortable and with everything you need. The welcome pack was appreciated particularly the smoked salmon pate – I brought some home with me.
We did a lot of walking mostly locally. The beaches are just fabulous. Interesting to see the local croft farming. Good birds, nice to see lots of Golden Plovers, waders and seabirds – lots of Gannets. Sadly, no Eagles. I did see a Minke whale on the crossing from Skye. I took my moth trap up and did a couple of nights moth trapping and had a number of moths that we don’t get locally including a nationally scarce one that is described as uncommon on the Outer Hebrides – the Chestnut Coloured Carpet.
We had fish & chips and pizza from the Bistro and a lovely meal on Thursday night. By far the best meal we had in Scotland during the whole trip!
And both ferry crossings were very smooth!
Miles and Ruth, September 2021
We loved your cottage, and would thoroughly recommend it as a ‘prefect get-away’ for a holiday. It is luxurious yet homely. So much thought has gone into making it easy to live there, that you feel immediately relaxed. The cottage blends with the setting of Berneray, which is itself unique. The facilities are excellent and the furnishing is carefully and beautifully designed, harmonising with the setting. We will certainly return! Many thanks.
Anon, November 2019
“The cottage at Backhill in Berneray was exceptionally good. Right on the shore and meticulously restored, it was everything we had hoped for and more. We hope to stay again before too long and would recommend it to anyone looking for a luxury break in a superb island location.”
Geoff and Liz, November 2019
“After our recent 7 night stay in your wonderful thatched cottage on the island of Berneray, I can confirm that it is in a beautiful location right next to the sea, with great views and seals basking on the rocks close by. The property is maintained to a very high standard with Harris tweed cushions and curtains as well. We really enjoyed our stay in this cottage and would not hesitate to recommend it. The island itself has two of the best beaches anywhere in Scotland, with fantastic lighting for those of us who love landscape photography. We hope to return soon.”
Graham and Sylvia, October 2019
“Coming to 30 Backhill for the third time in 5 years shows how much we like it. The cottage is a holiday home of the highest quality situated just feet away from the waters of the bay with its colony of seals providing daily viewing pleasure. Wake up to the sound of the sea literally on your doorstep. Berneray is a lovely island with walks from the door as well as easy access to the Lochmaddy Arts Centre, Museum and cafe ,the Co-op at Solas and the RSPB reserve at Balranald. The beaches on Berneray are spectacular, the machair is rich in flowers and birds, and the excellent shop and Bistro on the island means you don’t have to go anywhere else. It was good to meet Hilary this time and to learn more about the island from her. We hope to be back again next year.”
Rosemary and John, June 2019
“Our third visit to this wonderful cottage, it was good to see that the cottage had not changed apart from the useful addition of the heated towel rail in the bathroom. The rooms were immaculate, carefully furnished with quality like the Harris Tweed and the super kingsize bed is still the comfiest in the land, all just to our liking. The weather was very kind to us, it was dry and sunny all week with a cool easterly breeze – the west beach was the warmest place. Due to the weather we did not have to leave the island for the duration, we walked all around and the wildlife did not disappoint. As well as the seals we saw dolphins, golden eagles and sea eagles, numerous other species including a snow bunting. After the walk, the return to the cottage is just as rewarding, cook a stew, light the peat stove, put your feet up and stare over the water to the Isle of Skye, and if it’s clear, the snow capped Cuillin mountains. On the way home before we caught the ferry, as recommended in the visitors book, we tried the Monkfish Scampi at the Westford Inn, which was delicious as was the Isle of Skye ale. It was a shame to leave, as it was a real tonic to unwind, and we would love to return next year. Thank you.”
Nathan and Suzanne, April 2019
“30 Backhill is a wonderful place to stay…tastefully renovated and beautifully decorated throughout. The luxury furnishings, beautiful artwork and fabulous collection of books and maps add to the whole experience. Every morning when we woke to see seals playing just a stone’s throw away in the bay we felt incredibly privileged to be staying in such a fantastic place. Would definitely stay again. Thank you.”
Sally, October 2018
“Our week in your delightful cottage on Berneray was the highlight of our Scottish trip. Backhill surpassed our expectations and we loved every moment of our time there. The cottage provides everything you could possibly need. Many thanks for the bottle of Prosecco and delicious pate and biscuits, which provided a wonderful start to our holiday. We felt very much at home from the moment we arrived. The views from the cottage were breath-taking, and we spent many happy hours watching the seals so close to us. Everyone on the island was so friendly, and it was great to meet Billy who was extremely helpful. The island itself is simply magical. Berneray Bistro was excellent – food delicious, and we were also fortunate to be entertained each evening we were there by a beautiful short-eared owl who came to visit! We would not hesitate to recommend 30 Backhill to anyone, and indeed have already done so to a number of our friends. It is five stars across the board. We hope very much to return and perhaps stay longer.”
Roger and Trish, September 2018
“I had a delightful week in the Berneray cottage with the extra surprise on finding the oatcakes, pate & Prosecco in the fridge when I arrived. The cottage was beautifully appointed, warm and comfortable. The weather was mixed … well it was August in Scotland! But it did not stop me having many enjoyable walks around Berneray and also one visit to Clachan Sanda on North Uist. The seals were regular as clockwork arriving on the rocks as the tide ebbed and I still can hardly believe how close to the cottage they were. I also had great evening meals at the Berneray Bistro (Monday to Friday) and the staff were very helpful and friendly. Although I have been to the Western Isles on many occasions, this was my first visit to Berneray and I am so glad that I made the visit and that I found your cottage.”
John, August 2018
“We have now arrived home and our week in your beautiful cottage is a happy memory. The weather wasn’t kind to us but it really didn’t matter too much. The location, the cottage and all the scenery couldn’t be spoiled by drizzly weather, all were stunning.
You have a very comfortable and beautifully appointed cottage there. It was amazing to sit at the window and see the sea and the seals coming and going. As you warned the binoculars were a real temptation to just see what was going on. We were very impressed with the size of the bed and how comfortable it was, I was reluctant to move when the weather outside was a little gloomy!
As we drove to the ferry on Saturday morning at 6 o’clock we found deer waiting for us on the side of the road. A wonderful parting memory. It was only in the queue at Lochmaddy we realised that we had been so busy looking that neither of us had taken any photos! Ah well, you can’t take the memories away and I think we finally stopped waving to other drivers on the M8 around Glasgow!
Thank you again for the use of your beautiful cottage and we would love to return sometime.”
Helen and Richard, July 2018
“Perfect! Superb accommodation for two. Magnificent views out of the windows. Thoughtfully and tastefully appointed. Good selection of books and music. Loved it.”
David, June 2018
“Holiday finished and back to reality with a big bang! Your cottage is beautiful and in a superb location. You were right about looking out the windows. Every window had a different picture even the best ever from the toilet. Unbelievable. Haha! We both had the best time and were happy to meet Billy and Ann who were very welcoming. Lovely touch on arrival with some goodies. We would certainly have no hesitation in recommending your unique gem of a Blackhouse. Thanks so much.”
Angela and Joe Logue, June 2018
“Our stay in the cottage was fantastic. Everything was perfect! Once the mild wet weather cleared we had some amazing sunny days, cool easterly winds but clear, always seems to favour NW Scotland. Very lucky! The weather was so good we did not leave the island for the entire duration, preferring to wander around the island rather than drive anywhere. Some good wildlife too. We did not book our return ferry as we left our plans open. We ended up going to Stornoway and across to Ullapool on the way home, as this was the only available ferry to book. Nice to see Harris and Lewis. Stopped in Ullapool and saw some amazing scenery on the way back through the Highlands. An excellent trip, we will definitely be back.”
Nathan and Suzanne, West Yorkshire, March 2018
“Beautiful cottage in super location, the owner and the housekeeper both are very friendly and helpful, nice place to calm down , perfect beaches to discover maritime wildlife!”
Ulrike, November 2017
“This was our third visit to Berneray, and to this beautiful cottage. Only a short drive from the ferry at Lochmaddy the property is set in a lovely location, very close to a rocky shore and you can watch the seals from the living room window!
The owners were extremely helpful and responsive during the booking process, very pleasant to deal with, and keen to ensure that we enjoyed our holiday. The cottage is furnished to a very high standard, is in excellent condition and was spotlessly clean. There are lots of Harris tweed accessories (rugs, curtains, cushions) and lovely Denby crockery. I’m a keen cook, and the kitchen had everything I needed. The bedroom is beautiful – lovely crisp white bed linen and a very comfortable bed.
For colder days there is a lovely log burning stove, two very comfy sofas and a fantastic selection of books.
The cottage is very well situated for exploring Berneray’s beaches – East Beach can be reached on foot and West Beach is a short drive away. West Beach is especially lovely. On North Uist there are further beaches – we especially liked Clachan Sands. There is a great array of wildlife – great for birdwatchers and those, like me, who love wildflowers. We had great weather and spent at least half of our days on the beaches – and even came away with a tan!
Berneray has a little local museum located just along the road from the cottage, a small (but perfect) craft shop (The Coral Box) situated at the harbour and a well-stocked grocery (Ardmaree Stores) – with a cafe attached. In Lochmaddy the arts centre – Taigh Chearsabhagh – is excellent. We saw two great exhibitions there, and also looked at some of the archive material. It has a nice little shop and cafe too.
Staying at 30 Backhill is a wonderful, relaxing experience – the cottage is luxurious and a joy to stay in. You won’t be disappointed!”
Jane A, July 2017
“Beautiful, cosy renovated black house on the lovely, peaceful island of Berneray. As mentioned previously, photos don’t do it justice! We spent the week with binoculars glued to our eyes as we watched the seals and local bird life. Only regret was we didn’t see any otters…..maybe next time!”
Edinburgh, June 2017
“This cottage was perfect. It has been renovated with taste and attention to detail, relaxation and comfort. Huge bed, great bathroom, serious shower. It is also prepared for the new arrivals to a very high standard, spankingly clean, with nice touches such as candles, fire ready to be lit, storage heaters on so it’s warm as you walk in. If the tide is in in the morning it is like waking up on board ship, you look out of the bedroom window and just see water, it is that close to the sea. When the tide is out, there are always seals on the rocks just a few metres away. Views from the garden seat to Skye and Harris. Simply wonderful.”
Jill D, May 2017
“Superb cottage in an idyllic setting overlooking the sea. Beautifully furnished and well equipped, as well as spotlessly clean throughout. Very warm and cosy inside. Excellent beach walks nearby. Seals bask on the rocks in front of the cottage, and bird life is also abundant. We found Berneray a very friendly island. Cottage owners Hilary and Anna were extremely helpful and well organised. Would highly recommend this cottage.”
Gordon G, Edinburgh, April 2017
“This was an excellent cottage to explore Berneray and North Uist. We were extremely comfortable in the cottage and enjoyed long evenings in the warmth of the stove which meant it was warm and cosy when we woke. The cottage was spotless and is well maintained and we did not want for anything. We did not have a need to contact the housekeeper as all was good.
We spent many an hour watching the seals or bird spotting from the window with the field binoculars. The maps and abundance of books were excellent and helpful. We were pleased to have a bike cover for our bikes.
We loved walking the West Beach loop where we spotted the otter and the Udal Peninsula where we saw a Gyr Falcon and Golden Eagles were seen on a number of our outings.
All information from owners was helpful and very prompt and we felt welcome in their second home.
The Ardmaree Stores was well stocked and friendly and for local seafaring Hebridean wool we would recommend The Birlinn Yarn Company.
We would not hesitate to recommend.”
Alison, March 2017
“Wonderful cottage right at the water’s edge. The property was immaculate, very well equipped with all the facilities you need for a wonderful relaxing holiday. It was also very warm and snug in the evenings. Berneray is a lovely island , the West Beach magnificent and the seal colony kept us entertained for hours. We will be returning soon!”
Hazel, September 2016
“Great property with a perfect location. Finished to a very high standard, very well maintained and a super comfortable bed. Good comms with owners for a couple of queries early on. Seals and wildlife, literally right outside living room windows, provided fascinating daily viewing. Local tea room very good and ferry terminal to Harris and Lewis only a mile away. The beaches of Berneray take some beating with 3 miles of the West beach the best I’ve ever seen! Would thoroughly recommend this property and location.”
Mike, September 2016
“This is a fantastic cottage in a beautiful location. The views of the sea and the sky from the windows are amazing. It is such a wonderfully comfy place, full of interesting books about local history and wildlife so that even a rainy day feels like a treat. The scenery is stunningly beautiful. I didn’t know such turquoise sea existed in Britain! Thank you for the most relaxing holiday we’ve ever had.”
“We had a wonderful holiday in Berneray not least because of this truly extraordinary cottage. The house sits right by the sea, so much so, that gazing out of the windows from the living room sofa, you could easily imagine you were on a boat. We have never visited somewhere that so instantly felt like home, although our home doesn’t have seals swimming outside the window and Oyster Catchers swooping over the garden.
The house is clean and tidy, beautifully laid out and has all the modern facilities you need, but without losing the charm of the old stone thatched cottage. The bed is very large and comfortable, the shower hot and powerful and the cottage is well supplied with books and maps to let you adventure from the comfy sofa or head outside to explore. Berneray itself is a treasure, with long empty, white sandy beaches and clear blue seas. We loved our holiday and wish we had decided to stay longer. We will be back.”
Rob, Shropshire, July 2016
“Very comfortable and well-appointed. Wonderfully comfortable big bed, Harris tweed themed furnishings; user-friendly general layout; everything works well (including hot water); best view from a bathroom ever! Finest collection of books, guides and maps we’ve ever seen in self-catering accommodation. The property is very clean and well-maintained by Ann who lives nearby and is friendly and sociable. All booking arrangements were accurate, prompt and easy to use. We’re already recommending a stay at the property to family, friends and work colleagues. We’ve added some local trips to the good list available in the property; there’s plenty to see and do whatever the weather and time of year. Landscape exploration and wildlife watching are superb. Good cafes and restaurants and local sources of fresh food for self-catering – especially seafood.”
Nic, May 2016
“The cottage is old style outside but very comfortable and warm inside. Everything was tops; from the extremely comfortable mega kingsize bed to constant hot water whenever it was needed.
It is in a great situation for easy access and parking. And superb for seal watching and bird watching. We spotted a Great Northern Diver from the lounge window and plenty of red shank flitting about among the rocks….I just caught sight of an otter slipping into the water one morning; from the lounge window again.
There are plenty of walks not far away, over the flowering machair with interesting historical sites en route. And of course, the 3 mile west beach is iconic.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and would recommend this delightful little gem on Berneray.
Hopefully, we will be back sometime!”
Christine B, May 2016
“This is a peach of a property, in an amazing location right next to the sea in a sheltered bay.
It’s lovely to look out on the seals basking nearby on the rocks at low tide.
The cottage itself is beautiful and extremely well appointed and equipped. Get the log burner roaring and just sit back and listen to absolutely nothing, it’s heavenly.”
Nick B, April 2016
“Every detail of the cottage and its contents makes you feel welcome & cared for, the seal watching is as addictive as promised, the surrounding area is wild and beautiful, beaches as deserted and incredible as in the photos. Everything you could ask for on a holiday ( well if you think that sun is optional!). We had a really lovely week and feel refreshed and ready for real life again. Thank you.”
Andrew and Susie M, April 2016
“Located by the sea, what a lovely view to wake up to! Comfortable, well equipped, with all the pleasures of Berneray and North Uist on the doorstep. Highly recommended.”
Simon R, April 2016
“What a beautiful cottage this is. The pictures are great but to see it in real life is just that bit better. The owners had thought of everything. There was plenty of linen and towels with laundry facilities, entertainment, reading materials, internet access and just the most amazing view from the cottage windows. We totally switched off from our normally busy working life and went for daily long walks around the island. The locals are so friendly and welcoming and always wave when passing you. We decided to extend our stay a few extra days as we didn’t want it to end. We contacted Hilary by email and nothing was any trouble for her to respond to. We will definitely be back and have and will continue to recommended to friends and relatives.”
Simon P, February, 2016