It’s the little touches that matter. And the Quoy of Houton is not short of them. I decided to spend a week of the Christmas  holidays on an island. It didn’t really matter which island. I just wanted to be somewhere remote and interesting. I’m not a fan of the commercial or Christmas and New Year traditions. But I am a fan of spending quality time with my boys and I am a huge fan of photographing remote landscapes and Scottish Islands.
As part of an ongoing project I also have an interest in archaeological sites on the islands so Orkney was an obvious choice because it is packed full of the historical.
I love the outdoors and am happy being frozen and soaked and exhausted whilst out walking. But as you probably know by now,  I do love a bit of luxury indoors. So I began the search for a lovely self catering house on Orkney and found The Quoy of Houton.  My expectations were far surpassed when we arrived just after christmas. 

I can honestly say that I loved everything about Orkney as well as the self catering accommodation. I loved the fact that it was contemporary. I find the contemporary style can feel a bit sparse and not welcoming. However Carolyn managed to find exactly the right balance between modern and traditional. From the heavy tartan curtains, sumptuous colours of the cosy main bedroom, the exposed beams to the open fire and to the the clean lines of the welcoming bathroom featuring a whirlpool bath.
 There were also so many little things we didn’t expect – from the Christmas card to our home address before we arrived to the amazing home baked banana bread on arrival. Neither did I expect all the wonderful Christmas decorations. I am beginning to wonder at the sanity of staying at home next Christmas when you can come somewhere like this and just relax instead!  The whole cottage made me feel instantly relaxed and remain this way throughout our  holiday. It was a perfect space for us to spend some time together as a family.

The added bonus was that it was January on Orkney. Devoid of tourists, with some of the best light you can see.  During the course of the week we visited the Stones of Stenness,  the Broch of Furness, walked over to the Island of Birsay, saw the most incredible waves at Marwick head and were pretty much bowled over by the sights at Yesnaby cliffs. More pictures to follow of these amazing locations.
I’ll definitely be back to Orkney, definitely in the winter months and most likely for longer next time.

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