2017 was a good year for us at Oystercatchers.  I have sadly neglected this blog in favour of posting a lot more on Facebook and Twitter and we have begun to make a foray into Instagram, but I need to chase the teenager up on that one!  Please go to Oystercatchers Cottage (@oystercatchers1422) to see some of the samples of her photographs taken throughout the year or just click on the link above.  We also now have a YouTube Channel which we are experimenting with each time we go up to Skye – you can either click on the link above or search for “Oystercatchers Cottage, Skye” – we would love to have some followers on this!!  Some of the clips I just put on without much thought, but the ones with added music do much to show off our little piece of heaven.

We welcomed 106 guests this year from as far afield as Canada and the Netherlands, Italy and New Zealand, plus of course all over the UK, and including several return guests from both home and overseas.

We continued to make improvements to the cottage – having painted the outside in Summer 2016, we added some tiling to both bathrooms, replaced the upstairs shower, added a timer to the upstairs towel rail, installed an outside tap along with a water meter, upgraded to superfast broadband just in time for Christmas, replaced the old food processor and pressure cooker and replaced some of the “using” crockery with much higher standard.  Wehave added to the range of guide books and maps available for visitor use, and changed our in-house booklets to make them much more user-friendly.  Just to let you see what we have done, please click on this link to see what the interior looks like at present:

We were pleased to pass our 4 Star inspection from Visit Scotland with flying colours in the Easter break, having laid down new gravel around the house (and plan to do the same to the drive later in 2018.  We had worked particularly hard on improving kerb appeal  – the bottom garden was looking at its best so far, and the pots surrounding the house full of flowers and herbs for the use of guests and having brought in some high quality wooden seating for the upper garden.  Unfortunately, BT’s work on the island’s Superfast Broadband has created some ongoing flooding problems in the upper garden, rendering much of it virtually unusable, so we are in continued negotiations with them to make good what they have done.

My own New Year’s Resolution is to try to use this News feature more regularly, however, real life often gets in the way, so it may well be that Facebook and Twitter continue to see more traffic from me than our own website.  I have new photos to get uploaded to this site; I would like to see if we can add links to Instagram and YouTube; and we have a few ideas in store for the cottage itself.  We have had to raise our prices a little for the 2018 season as electricity continues to be a huge cost, as is the services of a good housekeeper, but we are ploughing the money back into the cottage with plans for further work on the bathrooms, hopefully increasing TV coverage to the upstairs twin room and continuing with regular decorative improvements. Plus we have had so much pleasure watching the birds from our garden that we are planning to replace some of the bird feeders with more suitable containers – we were pleased to see we had finally manged to attract back several Goldfinches this winter so providing them with food whenever we visit will be well worthwhile (and requesting visitors to do the same – mind you they will eat you out of house and home – it can seem a little like a scene from Hitchcock’s “The Birds” when they get going!)  

One final thing I have been playing with – making jigsaws of some of our favourite pictures.  Have a go if you want to while away a little time over the winter before you get to come and see out lovely cottage.  Just press the link to jigsaws

I hope you enjoy our reflections on 2017.  We look forward to adding more for 2018.

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