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Staying in An Acarsaid
This is the full information in the folder in the house.
1. Failte / Welcome
We hope you enjoy your stay in our family home of 58 years. Now that it is no longer fully occupied by the MacInnes family, we want you to get as much enjoyment out of the house and its surroundings as we did.
We hope the house retains a feel of a family house. During 2011 we invited a variety of friends, families and relations to stay here and test the water for us. The overwhelming reaction was ‘Don’t change it’
So we don’t go in for jacuzzis and saunas! We cannot even offer you Mobile Phone reception. But there is Wifi and there are plenty of books in the bookshelves and CDs to play. If you are really desperate there is Satellite TV and radio.
If there are things that need immediate attention tell us now. If you have suggestions to make the stay a better one, then please write them in the back of this folder.
From around 1950 our father, Raonull MacInnes, who had been born on Skye but lived in London, started bringing his wife Eileen and 3 young children to Skye for caravan holidays. By chance they landed up on Ord beach and this became the centre of holidays for many years.
In 1960 the first, two storey, part of An Acarsaid was built on a rocky hillside overlooking Ord Bay. By the late 1960s this had become the family home and the various single-storey extensions were completed by the mid-1970s. Raonull always included an end window, from which the next room could be added!
During this period the garden was built from scratch, extended and eventually opened to the public under the Scottish Gardens Scheme, raising funds for Crossroads Care and the RNLI.
Eileen was still living here when she died in January 2010 just a few weeks before her 98th birthday. Since then her sons, Neil and Duncan, have retained the house for holiday use.
Ord is a hamlet of over 20 houses. It was never a crofting community, but was based on the old Ord Farm, leased from the Macdonald estates by the Nicolson family during the mid 20th Century. Ord House was renowned as a Hotel into the 1970s, run by the two Nicolson sisters. The House is now privately owned and many new houses and chalets have gradually sprung up. Many are lived in full time and some are holiday houses. Make yourself known to others living here.
Staying in An Acarsaid
4. Contact us
Polly and Duncan MacInnes live in Ostaig House, 8 miles away on the south-east side of Sleat, two miles north of Armadale, and just down the road from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic College.
We are here for queries and socialising, so do call in.
Ring us for any queries or problems on
Or 07835 711637
Neil and Ann MacInnes live in Drumnadrochit and Oxford. If you cannot raise Duncan and need help, try Neil on 01456 476237 or 01865 510482 or 07709 534796.
An Acarsaid sleeps up to 8 people in four bedrooms:
1. main twin/double, downstairs, with attached bathroom,
2. guest room with double bed, downstairs, with the shared bathroom next door.
3. twin room upstairs
4. single/twin room upstairs
There is a kitchen, dining room, sun-room, sitting room, large entrance hall, and laundry.
The workshop is full of junk and has a leaky roof, and is not meant for public use. There are various cupboards (upstairs) labelled for family storage.
Sheets, duvets, pillows and towels are provided for all beds. You will find spares in the two airing cupboards, next to, or in, each bathroom. There are spare blankets in the second bedroom. There are some electric blanket and even a hot-water bottle.
There is a clothes washer and hanging space in the laundry, but no tumble drier.
The keys for all outside doors are hanging on hooks just inside the doors. If we did not give them to you direct and the front door is open on arrival, we should have left a bunch of keys on the dining-room table.
You can drive down the drive and park outside the house. If you need more space, you can also park in front of the garage.
You must let us know if you wish to bring a dog. Please do not allow dogs into bedrooms. If they be bedded down in the font hall only, that would be fine.
Dogs must be under total control at all times. There are others dogs in the community and sheep just outside the garden.
Explore the house and gardens.
If we have not done so, on arrival please read the electricity meter upstairs (see later in this folder). You can check this for a reading at the back of this folder.
Main rooms have night-storage electric heating. If these are switched off at the socket, switch on, and check the clock on the timer is at the right time. The little widgets that turn the night storage off and on should already be set on the timers.
There are some ancillary heaters and electric fires.
They are power hungry so do switch off unused heaters if you are out.
There is a log and coal fire in the sitting room. Please light it and make yourself cosy. There is extra wood in a store outside the back door. Choose whichever seems the most seasoned and burnable. If you run out let us know – or go scavenging in around the garden.
There is a little coal on the far side of the wood-store.
The air-vent controller at the front, bottom of the sitting room fire in the sitting-room does not work – it makes no difference which way it is set!
12. Hot Water
Hot water is heated by electricity.
The switch for the immersion heater for the en-suite bathroom is inside the bathroom cupboard, and around to the left. The second switch in there is for the towel rail.
There are two switches outside the other bathroom, high up in the corridor. One marked ‘sink’ provides enough hot-water for kitchen use and a bath. For more water than that, switch on the second switch.
The second bathroom has an electric power shower. The switch is outside the bathroom door.
Please switch them all off when you leave.
Please read the electricity meter when you arrive, unless we have told you we have already read it - and before leaving.
The meter is on the wall upstairs, next the bedroom door. Note the two readings – one high rate and one low or off-peak. Write these on the electricity sheet at the back of this folder. You can then do some calculations to work out the amount of electricity used.
The current rate, set by our supplier, is given on the electric sheet in this folder.
It is an all-electric house, so electricity costs can easily be £5 - £10 per day depending on use. In the winter with all heating on full time it can also easily go over £25 per day.
This is a shared community resource and comes from a hillside burn.
This is filtered and goes through a UV unit but there is no other, ie it has no Chlorine or other additives in it.
Even with the filter, at certain times of the year the water might be a little brown – this is merely very fine peat particles and of no cause for concern.
The UV and filter system is in the wooden box by the stone arch. It will be on and there is no need for you to adjust it or change anything. If the UV bulb fails a quiet alarm might sound. Get in touch with any queries.
There is an electric cooker, dish-washer, fridge and microwave in the Kitchen. There is an upright freezer in the workroom by the back door if you need longer-term storage.
There is a full compliment of cooking implements, pots and pans; eating cutlery and crockery. Some cupboards are marked not for use, but everything you need should be there somewhere!
Various drawers are either unmarked of marked for general use. You will eventually find everything! Some drawers and cupboards are marked not for use – this is private family stuff.
There are wine-glasses in the cupboard in the dining-room and there are more in the corner cupboard at the entrance to the sitting room.
Dish-washer. The blue tablets are in the cupboard under the sink. Please try and replenish them if used. Instruction manuals for nearly everything are in one of the drawers.
There are cupboards marked Food for Use – please do use it up!
There is some alcohol behind the low yellow door in the back porch. If you use some of this, please replace it.
The washing machine, iron, ironing board, drying rack and another sink are in the laundry room off the back porch. As are brushes, the vacuum cleaner and spare bags.
The washing machine drains into the sink via the grey outflow pipe. Make sure it is in the sink and the plug is out.
For a regular wash use setting #5, for light wash use setting #7 or 8.
Compost rubbish (no meat please) can be put in the bin under the sink, and then into a black plastic compost bin at the back of the garage.
General rubbish – into the pedal-bin by the sink. At the end of your stay please take your rubbish away with you as we have no bin collection here. We are happy to put it with our personal rubbish at Ostaig House or there are public bins at Armadale Pier and in Broadford.
Recyclable rubbish – plastic bottles, newspaper and cardboard and aluminium tins. Again please take this away with you if possible and place in public recycling bins, eg at Armadale Pier or at the petrol station in Broadford. In emergency leave it in the back porch and we will take it away.
Glass – please take glass bottles to a local recycle bins – in the car-park of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (down the drive and on the right), at Armadale Pier, or near the Co-op petrol station in Broadford.
There is a telephone in the house - 01471 855218.
Do use it. If you first dial the prefix 18866 before the number, it costs a flat rate of 5p each call (not International!). Leave a suitable donation next the phone.
If it rings, do answer it – it might be us asking if everything is okay. Do check all phones are correctly back on their hooks, so as not to block the line.
There is no Mobile signal Ord. You can get a connection just beyond the top of the steep hill, half way to the road end. Once you get over the to main road on the east side of Sleat there is a consistent signal south towards Armadale. Going north it gets patchy up towards Broadford.
There is Broadband in the house. The router is on the little table in the front hall. If it is working there should be blue lights showing. Let us know if it is not. You can either plug an RS232 cable in direct, or link by wi-fi. The password key is on the bottom of the router. There should be around 2 Mbs so don’t expect to download films.
We have Sky Freesat in the Sun Room. Give the controllers to a small child – they will work out how to turn it on!
An Acarsaid was well known for its 4-acre garden which was established from a rocky hillside from 1960 onwards. It was open to visitors for many years, for donations to charity, but we no longer advertise this.
It includes the Shrubbery, through the gate near the stone arch by the back door.
While you are here, it is your garden – enjoy it!
You will see it has minimal upkeep now. If you are a gardener and feel a great urge to do something then please go ahead, we will be delighted!
24. ‘An Oiseann’ next door cottage
Just beyond the garage is a cottage we rent long-term. Stewart and Julia Dawber are not involved in the running of An Acarsaid, but if you are interested in a wildlife photography tour go and find Stewart.
25. Sheep and Cows
You will come across the Ord herd of cattle on the road. They are quite harmless. If you need to drive past them just push in gently – they will take no notice of a car-horn.
The same with sheep. There are sheep around Ord village. Very occasionally sheep get into the garden, usually by one of the small gates, especially to the cottage next door. Do not try to get them out across the cattle grid of the main gate.
If you have a dog keep it well under control.
We cannot make any guarantee nor comment about the weather. Come prepared, for hot sunshine and heavy rain!
As that quote says – “There is no such thing as Bad Weather – only Bad Clothing!”
Hmm . . .
Swimming is very safe and the water as warm as Cornwall! The sandy bay shelves gently out. There are no strong currents and the only occasional jelly fish. The purple ones are harmless, only the ones with reddish tentacles sting.
High and Low tides are about 6¼ hours apart. So each High tide (two a day) are around 12 hours 25 mins apart and occurs 50 mins later each day.
High/Low tides become more extreme every 14 days – these are the 'Spring' tides with a range of around 5 metres height.
The least extreme 'Neaps' each intervening 2 weeks have a range of around 2 metres.
It so happens that Spring high water tends to happen around 7-8 am/pm (BST) and Spring low tides around 1-2 am/pm – the best time to go exploring the low tide beaches.
Mid-tide is indicated when the rock around 500 metres offshore, outside the bay, just covers or uncovers.
29. Boats and Seashore
There is access to the sea for kayaks and small boats. The jetty and slip-way at the bottom of the garden was built by the MacInneses for community use, but on land now actually owned by Ord House. The jetty is really a pile of stone so please be careful when clambering over it.
Please keep the shore road, access and the slipway clear for other users.
The concrete floored storage area above the track is part of An Acarsaid, so you can keep stuff there.
The beach is quite firm enough to take a car down to launch a boat.
Scotland has a general policy of open access - there is full public access on all non-garden land and the sea-shore around Ord (and everywhere else). See 38 Walking.
Shops and Services
30. Fuel and car services
Sleat Community Trading sells petrol and diesel in Armadale, 10 miles away.
Next door is MacGillivray Motors which offers a complete vehicle service.
There is also fuel in the Broadford Co-op, 16 miles north.
The local food store is in Armadale, 11 miles away. This is part of the Sleat Community Trust complex, with the Post office, fuel and a garage.
There is a Co-op and other shops in Broadford.
Trun left at the end of the Ord road and over the hill, on the left, is the new community hub of An Crùbh. This has a café, shop and post office.
32. Post Offices
Sleat Community Trust, Armadale; An Crùbh, djuisdale; and in Broadford.
33. Eating Out
You can get bar meals or eat in the dining room in Isleornsay Hotel / Taigh-Osda Eilean Iarmain. This is a delightful spot anyway. Turn left at the Ord road end, go a few miles over the hill and turn right down to the little harbour.
Gasda in The Stables at Armadale Castle is open for light meals during the day. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday it is open for Tapas style food in the evening.
Try the tiny but tasty Pasta Shed at Armadale Pier.
Ardvasar Hotel also offers bar meals and has a dining room.
Luxury meals are available in the Toravaig Hotel and its sister hotel at Duisdale. Or splash out with Lady Claire Macdonald at Kinloch Lodge Hotel.
We also recommend any of the eating places in Broadford and particularly the 'Red Skye' restaurant in Breakish. Near Kyleakin is an Indian Restaurant that appears always to be open!
Midges – yes they will be around from June to late September, especially on damp, still evenings. The only cure is to come inside, or immerse yourself in smoke, whisky or under water. You can buy several anti-midge creams locally.
Tics – check yourself for them, especially if walking through grassy hillsides. They can be tiny. Remove them carefully but make sure there are no bits left behind. A bite might only give you a temporary itch, but if allowed to become inflamed can lead to Lyme’s disease. If you see discolouration spreading out from a bite, over several days, see a doctor.
35. Medical Services
There is an excellent medical centre for Sleat. Turn right at the end of the Ord road. After about 3 miles look out for the Medical Centre on the left, immediately after Bun-sgoil Shlèite, Sleat Primary School. Tel 01471 844283.
The MacKinnon Memorial Hospital is at the far end of Broadford on the right, about 16 miles drive. Tel 01471 822491.
NHS 24 for medical advice is on 111
All Emergency Services are available on 999.
The address here is An Acarsaid, Ord, Teangue, Isle of Skye IV44 8RN
Telephone 01471 855218
Things to do in Sleat
36. Visit Sleat
Pick up one of the Visit Sleat leaflets with a detailed map. And visit www.visitsleat.org
37. Events and Festivals
‘SEALL’ is Scotland’s liveliest award-winning rural arts promoting group and has events most weeks, usually in Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic College. SEALL is led by Duncan with a small team and many volunteers. Information on 01471 844207 and www.seall.co.uk
SEALL also runs 'The Skye Festival' or 'Fèis an Eilein' during July and August, alongside a wide variety of community events.
Look out for posters for all these and other local events.
Scotland runs a policy of responsible open-access walking. So feel free to walk anywhere so long as you respect privacy around houses and keep dogs under tight control, especially when near sheep or cows.
Open access allows free walking across hills – you do not have to keep to tracks.
* There is good walking around Ord to the coves and islands a mile or so along the coast to the north. Turn left at the gate and walk up to Ord House. Follow the track to the right and then bear right on the dirt track at the first of the chalets.
All the usual wild-life are lurking around: otters, deer, foxes, golden eagles, buzzards, herons. There is a sightings list on the Community Notice Board opposite Ord House gate.
Our neighbour in An Oiseann the cottage within our gardens, Stewart Dawber, leads wild-life photography walks and is the local expert.
There are lots of other good walks in Sleat:
* Tormore Forest is owned by the Sleat community and there is a growing set of forest tracks and walks. There are also fantastic views of the Scottish coast down to Ardnamurchan and the Small Isles. Park at the entrance about 1 miles south of Ardvasar, on the way to -
* Drive to Aird of Sleat in the south and walk the 2 miles to the Point of Sleat, (Tim Godfrey who until late 2010 was the Ord gardener, lives in the cottage on the harbour).
* Follow the Forest track on the left just before the end of the Ord road.
* Walk to Leiterfura, the abandoned village once occupied by MacInneses beyond Kinloch. Turn into the forest off the main road, north of Kinloch. Drive 1 mile along the dirt track and park.
* Exploring Tokavaig, Dunscaith Castle, and Tarskavaig on the other part of the loop road.
* Walk down to Dalavil, starting about two miles up the road from Ostaig to Tarskavaig.
* Armadale Castle Visitor Centre has 19th C gardens, and several miles of nature trails.
At Armadale Castle, there is the Museum of the Isles, a play area, cafe and shop.
There is good shopping around Armadale Pier.
There are great potteries in Armadale, Saasaig and Caligarry.
In the summer, there is an art gallery at Isleornsay / Eilean Iarmain.
The Calmac ferries are in a state of chaos and have been for a couple of years! If you are planning to leave by the ferry, book ahead, double check the timetable because of some days it is disrupted by the low tides.
You can also take a day-trip, over to Mallaig, (steam train to Fort William and back?) or onwards to Knoydart, or the Small Isles of Eigg, Rum, Canna and Muck.
At the End
41. When you leave
Please switch off all lights, immersion heaters and radiators.
Note the Electricity meter reading upstairs – and write it in the Electricity page in this folder.
Lock all doors and leave the keys on the hooks next each door.
Leave the main bunch of keys on the dining-room table.
Leave the front door unlocked.
Or whatever else has been arranged . . . .
We do not need payment until the end of your stay.
We will have agreed a ‘donation towards costs’ as well as the electricity, which we can settle at the end.