'The mountains are calling, and I must go.’ – John Muir
With our two girls all grown up and our first grandchild en route, we decided in October 2015, rather impulsively, to search Google for campsites for sale. Up came ‘Kylesku Lodges’ and a stormy visit to the site a month later. We were blown away by the view and saw an opportunity to update the lodges with our eye for creativity and design. The pull of the ‘friendliest hotel in Scotland’ only a short walk away, and the chance to build a home and live in the wild weather of Sutherland, was just too intriguing to walk away. So we sold our flat and moved up from Edinburgh in July 2016, where Mike worked as a joiner and I was studying Textile Design at Glasgow School of Art.
As we approach our second season, we feel very fortunate to have met so many colourful and enthusiastic guests and been welcomed into the local community, with gifts of venison, lobster, gin and laughter. There have been times where we have missed our family so much it hurts, but when they visit we climb hills, discover hidden waterfalls, walk along empty beaches and go out on our wee boat looking for seals and otters.
At heart we are problem solvers, we love the shape of the lodges but feel they would fit into the landscape better if clad with Scottish Larch. We’re halfway there, but we have to work with the weather, so last winter on sunny days we larched and on stormy days we decorated. All the bathrooms need renovated so that is our priority for this winter. One of the great things about being so far away from everything is you have to be resourceful, so we rescued vintage chairs from the recycling centre in Lochinver, we reworked bed slats into headboards and up cycled pallets into wall coverings. Eventually we want to be open longer in the year and put stoves into some of the lodges. And we have great plans for a communal space further down the hill for all sorts of activities like yoga retreats, printing workshops and a cinema.
We want to share this amazing place with you and we hope you will come with your family, your friends or just yourself. Come and explore, breathe the freshest of air, switch off your phone and enjoy all the wildlife, views, hidden treasures and fabulous food. See you soon, Cath and Mike.