IN the age of inter-connectivity, can we ever really experience a genuine break from our day-to-day existence? Certainly, the idea of ‘getting away from it all’ can seem somewhat antiquated in 2022, with a ‘holiday’ simply meaning we have temporarily replaced our surroundings while maintaining the arduous juggle of emails, work responsibilities and social media addictions.

What constitutes a true escape from reality remains a pertinent question, however. Particularly in an era where anxiety stemming from our inability to effectively switch-off may be exacerbated by concerns over the carbon footprint we leave by jetting off to warmer climes.

However, not only is it still possible to avoid the blight of electromagnetic fields, but those of us who desire a break with sustainability in mind – and don’t mind the unpredictability of the Scottish weather – can opt for an off-grid holiday, which is an increasingly-popular choice for conscientious travellers who long for a genuine sense of freedom. Or those who want to be prepared for the circumstances any forthcoming global apocalypse may throw up.

Scotland undoubtedly boasts a wealth of such remote havens, whether you desire a memorable escape with friends, seek the perfect sanctuary for a romantic liaison or simply want to treat the family to a break they’ll never forget.

Going off-grid can be as luxurious or as earthy as your imagination and budget will allow, but all such experiences guarantee the opportunity to blissfully switch off then reconnect with nature and the people we love.

And if you begin to suffer separation anxiety from your shiny technology, fear not – phones can still be put to good use by capturing beautiful photos of some amazing locations …

CAIRNGORM LODGES AND BOTHIES

LOCATED deep in the picturesque Blelack Woods near Aboyne in Royal Deeside, Cairngorm Lodges and Bothies are neighbouring off-grid holiday developments set within some of the finest Scots Pine forest in the country at Cairngorms National Park.

HeraldScotland:

With the business recently securing a prestigious Gold Green Tourism Award – acknowledged globally as an indicator of best practice in sustainability – Cairngorm Lodges and Bothies have been attracting increasing numbers of eco-minded visitors enticed by the well-appointed accommodation and the opportunity to cut themselves off completely from the stresses and strains of the modern world.

HeraldScotland:

Having started off in 2013 with five off-grid timber lodges, business owner Dr Gordon Drummond has since expanded the original concept with the creation of six new Bothies set deep in the forest, all built with the philosophy to ‘keep nature in mind with everything that we do and to encourage our guests to do the same by always thinking green-living to create a more sustainable world’.

HeraldScotland:

The Bothies generate energy from a solar array, which in turn powers a water pump to purify the natural water supply. Wood burning stoves, supplied with logs from the estate, perform a multitude of tasks – from keeping the main living areas warm to heating a water circuit for towel rails, providing hot water for washing, and also powering a cooking range, complete with oven.

www.cairngormlodges.com and www.cairngormbothies.com

 

GUARDSWELL FARM

WITH nary a whiff of Wi-Fi detectable at Guardswell Farm in Perthshire, visitors have no choice but to switch off completely and spend quality time on this hilltop haven located between the tiny villages of Abernyte and Kinnaird.

HeraldScotland:

Offering a wealth of self-catering options from intimate cabins to a rustic farmhouse that can accommodate 10, Guardswell Farm properties utilise solar power for electricity and offer the choice of a hob, woodburner or outdoor firepit for cooking.

This scenic haven of lodges and cottages is set on a 150-acre grassland farm on a south-facing hillside with panoramic views extending along the River Tay over to the North of Fife, down to the Carse of Gowrie and all the way along to Glencarse. The wee ones will delight in the Hebridean sheep and Angora goats grazing the fields – and perhaps also spot some of the farm’s donkeys.

HeraldScotland:

Who says you get hee-haw for your money these days?

The site was created by the locally-based Lamotte and Wilson families, who promote Guardswell as a secret getaway ‘shared with those who want to fully immerse themselves into simple and bygone ways’.

HeraldScotland:

Undoubtedly, it’s a location that will suit escapees from the modern world who aim to forsake their digital dependence and fill their lungs with fresh Perthshire air and their feast their eyes on picturesque perfection.

www.guardswell.co.uk

 

CRAIG COTTAGE

Known simply as ‘Craig’, this single-storey stone cottage located on the shores of Loch Etive, Argyll, comes complete with a large garden which is a perfect spot for energetic children to play. They certainly won’t be able to play their games consoles, with no mains electricity or gas, but adequate heat is provided by a multi-fuel stove in the lounge, which circulates warm water in the pipes.

HeraldScotland:

Should this seem to be too basic a scenario, a small generator is also available for use to provide light in the evenings. A pump is also available to quickly and effectively circulate heat to the radiators throughout the cottage. The fridge and cooker are powered by gas and there is an abundance of LED lighting.

HeraldScotland:

The central room of the house is the sitting room, which boasts a multi-fuel stove, comfortable sofa seating plus a dining table. Large windows to the front and rear of the property offer the perfect vantage point to spot pine martens and an abundance of other small, cute critters – who needs TV when the kids can nosey on the locals as they congregate, feed and play?

www.fb.com/etivecottages

 

LAGGAN COTTAGE

Anyone in search of a truly off-grid staycation need look no further, as Laggan Cottage – set in splendid isolation on the beautiful Ardnish Peninsula in the Scottish Highlands – is only accessible by boat, despite technically being on the mainland.

HeraldScotland:

With zero access to the grid, the two-bedroom cottage is ideal for those seeking a escape from all mod cons – with paraffin lamps to light rooms and two wood-burning stoves for heat … yet there is a gas fridge and cooker.

Boasting some of the clearest skies in the country, guests can spend the evenings stargazing outside or simply curl up by the fire with a good book.

HeraldScotland:

Soundtracked to crashing waves and surrounded by rugged scenery, guests will feel they’ve got the whole peninsular to themselves – a sense of freedom that will be emboldened by use of a boat for the duration.

Seals and sea eagles enliven the spectacular views to the islands of Muck and Eigg, proving Laggan is the ideal spot for adventure seekers who desire solitude.

HeraldScotland:

With the nearest road a three-hour walk away, it’s certainly an isolated location where there’s no option but to ignore digital distractions and make the most of Laggan’s magnificent location on the awe-inspiring west coast.

www.independentcottages.co.uk/highland/laggan-ref3136

 

SHUNA

IT’s no insult to say Shuna is an island where time stands still. With no cars, telephones or roads, the population mainly consists of red deer, fallow deer, roe deer, otters, seals and eagles. And maybe a few holidaymakers.

HeraldScotland:

Reaching Shuna requires a rendezvous at a pier near the Argyll village of Arduaine, with a bright orange landing craft arriving to collect visitors for the exhilarating 20-minute crossing.

Owned and operated by the Gully family, who live on nearby Seil, Shuna is run as a sustainable holiday business, with seven holiday cottages on the island, including Boat House (a luxury apartment for six), Birchwood (a two-bedroom cottage with a deck overlooking a rocky cove), Garden Cottage (located next to the old walled gardens of the castle), Oakwood Cottage (sleeping 10 with its own track leading to a bay) and South End House (a secluded five-bedroom property with stunning views towards Jura).

HeraldScotland:

All have electricity from the island’s solar panels and small wind turbine, and each come with a wood-burning stove, gas-powered fridge and fresh spring water on tap from natural sources.

www.islandofshuna.co.uk