DUNLIATH     No 1 Drinan, Elgol, Isle of Skye

Welcome to the Dunliath web page.

This is our holiday house, which we share with visitors when we’re not using it.

If you look on Google Earth, search for 'Dunliath self catering' and you will see exactly where the house is.

I have been coming here for my own holidays for over 50 years, and now we come every summer with our 3 children. I am very happy to share it with others who appreciate its unique situation and surroundings. It’s good for the house to be used and appreciated when we can’t be there, and the money helps us to maintain and improve it.

It also helps the local economy when people visit this area of Skye: the people who look after the house, local shops, cafes, restaurants and boat trips.

The house is situated in its own private land (78 acres), mainly below the house and either side of the glen. Elgol is about 2 miles away and has a small shop, cafe etc - see this link. The nearest serious shops pubs etc are in Broadford, about 25 minutes drive away.

Bear in mind that this is a 50-year-old family holiday house, and not one that has been 'built to let' in the last couple of years. It's also in a very remote location, which makes any kind of maintenance quite difficult. We love it, but it's very important that visitors get a good and honest description of it - see below - to make sure that it suits them.



Dunliath is available for holiday lets all the year round. It sleeps 7 people, pets are allowed, and the prices per week are:

£480 - £650 low season : £700 - £950 high season.

Rates include bed linen (beds are made up), gas and electricity.

'Short breaks' are welcome, with a discount on the weekly rate.

We offer discounts for couples / small groups in off-peak times. This is to encourage people to visit outside the school holidays (May, June and September are some of the best months to be there).


Due to the new Scottish Government licencing regulations for short term lets, we are not taking bookings at this time.


Contact: Bill Johnson, +353 (0) 59 97 26982, +353 85 2493511.

Address: Warmhill, Baurnafea, Castlewarren, Co. Kilkenny, Rep. of Ireland  

E-mail: bill.johnson@aztecsailing.co.uk


About the area

The natural woodlands below the house, the Glasnakillie Woods, are unique in this area of Skye, where most of the landscape is pretty bare. These woods are home to roe deer, and red deer who move down from the moor.


Occasionally we are lucky enough to see these animals very close to the house. (Be warned , though: it is possible to get too excited. One lady who rented the house with a group of friends woke everyone up at about 6am ‘because she could hear deer outside the windows’ only to discover that they were cattle!)


There are carpets of bluebells in the woods in spring, and many species of wild orchid on the ungrazed area around the house in early July. It is an absolute joy to wander through the woods in any weather at any time of year, and when I first get here I always walk down through the woods to the sea shore at the earliest opportunity. If you’re lucky, you may even spot sea otters in the cove.



The sea shore is rocky. It's an amazingly rugged coastline, and it’s well worth a scramble along the coast at low tide, below Glasnakillie, to see the high cliffs from the bottom, with the huge and colourful variety of fallen rocks and the algae that coat them. Watch that you don’t get caught out by the tide though!


The view is across to the the Point of Sleat, which is part of Skye. Beyond that and to the south (i.e. to the right) you can see the mainland coast near Arisaig and the north side of the Ardnamurchan Pininsula (with Ben Mhor on Mull in the distance on a clear day) and finally the island of Eigg. (If you go up a hill you will see, to the right of Eigg, Muck Rhum and Canna; and on a very clear day Coll, Tiree and Barra in the distance. )




OUR VIEW AT ABOUT 11.00 pm on 22nd June:

SOME VISITORS (30th October 2013):


View of the Strathaird peninsula, Cuillin and Blaven from Ord (Sleat). Dunliath is situated below the curved mountain on the left.

History of Dunliath

The Johnson connection with Strathaird started in about 1917, when the Strathaird Estate (now owned by the John Muir Trust) was bought by the family. My father and my two uncles came up here every summer holiday from boyhood, and of course I and my brother and cousins did the same. We stayed in Kilmarie House and at Camasunary, where the seatrout fishing was legendary, and got to know every mile of the land and coastline.

When the estate was sold in about 1972, my father Stephen, who had chosen this spot many years earlier, decided to build this house, and we all contributed our ideas for its design. It was built by George Lamond, a neighbour in Glasnakillie the other side of the glen. It was literally designed and built around the wonderful view.

Ever since then we have been maintaining and improving it: recent changes include redoing the bathroom, the sun room at the west end of the house, and carpets throughout. The kitchen has also been upgraded very recently, and we're delighted with it.

But that's not to say that the house is perfect - it isn't, and there will always be other improvements on my list. If you come here we ask you to bear with us, because this superb remoteness comes with an understandable penalty: instead of popping down to all the usual conveniences, including major hardware shops, in a town some 15 minutes away, you may need to go as far as Fort William, Inverness or even Glasgow for quite ordinary things (there are, for example, no dry cleaners on the island.) Every project takes at least 4 months …

Apart from these improvements, the paintings and furniture are largely unchanged from when the house was used exclusively as a private holiday home.


The surrounding area

I think the area around Strathaird (including Loch Coruisk and the Cuilin) is far the most dramatic part of Skye. The rest of the island is well worth exploring, but as soon as you get back to the high mountain range and lochs you know you are in the ‘best’ bit of the island. There, I’m biased, I know! So, where can you walk from here?

You can walk down to the sea in about 10 minutes by following a woodland path. For longer excursions Ben Meabost is about a mile away and can be climbed in a fairly energetic hour; it is about a four mile walk to Camasunary Bay which lies at the foot of the Cuillin mountains, and of course here the walking and climbing is legendary. Loch Coruisk is about 3 miles further on around the coast path, over the "Bad Step" which can provide some anxious moments unless you know the way.

For the less energetic, a boat trip from Elgol across Loch Scavaig to Loch Coruisk is probably preferable!

The walk to Strathaird point through Glasnakille is easy - just follow the track past the house. Just as easy is the coast walk to Kilmarie - follow the road back to where a track branches to the right (by a cattle grid) - this turns into an easy path along the coast.

It's a great walk to Sligachan - about 12 miles - which takes you right through the middle of the island, at the foot of the Cuillin mountains. Just walk to Camasunary and follow the path north though Camasunary Glen past Loch Na Creitheach and Loch An Athain. Don't forget your wallet for a well-earned drink at Sligahan, and arrange for someone to meet you there in the car.


Selection of comments from the visitors' book and letters

Spectacular views, midges reasonable, wonderful weather, excellent exercise and relaxation.  Thank you! 


Great place and magnificant island.  Thank you!

Fantastic week had by all.

What a beautiful place!  Moist but lovely!

A phenomenal visit with exquisite views.

Spent two nice weeks here now going to Loch Ness and Edinburgh.  Thanks and best wishes!

Very lucky with weather.  Amazing views and great base for outdoor holiday.

Special week with our friends.  Spacious and warm accommodation.  Hope to come back.

Inspiring.  Spectacular.  Ideal.

Inside the gate ‘twas really great and we enjoyed the views.  But further out we trembled at the fearsome hielan’ coos!

Very well-equipped house with beautiful scenery.  (Shame the weather wasn’t up to it!)  LOVE the ping-pong table!

Thank you so much we would recommend the cottage to anyone

We had a really wonderful time in your house, which was much bigger, much more beautiful and which had a much more beautiful view even than we had imagined! Skye = Heaven on Earth

thank you very much for a great stay at your fabulous place. Everybody enjoyed the “ short-break” at this wonderful place , as I said : “ this is close to paradise”. Hope I get a chance, someday, coming back!!!


Sleeps 7

1 double bedroom

1 family room (double bed + single bed)

2 single rooms

2 bathrooms (bath + basin + shower + WC, and bath + basin with separate WC)

large hall with table tennis table

very comfortable lounge with open fire, 43" flat-screen 4K smart TV with Freesat, radio, CD player; sofa and 2 armchairs

wireless broadband

sun room

spacious and well-equipped kitchen and larder: fridge, freezer, dishwasher, washing machine, microwave, toaster, gas hob (5 rings), electric oven/grill, bread maker

separate dining area with table, 6 chairs + high chair

utility area and tumble dryer

heating by electricity and gas (fuel charges are included in the rental) and open fire (fuel not included)

ample parking

78 acres own land adjacent to the sea

private water supply

linen included (no towels)

pets by arrangement

no smoking (indoors!)




Google Earth Views:

High definition of this area, have a look for yourself!

and, incredibly, street view gets this close!