The Cottage, Facilities and FAQs

We’ve put in everything we like to find when we stay somewhere ourselves.

The one thing we don’t have is little notes everywhere! We trust you to use your common sense and treat our place well.

Self-catering cottage on the NC500 - Attention to Detail

The wifi is good enough for Zoom or Teams meetings and for streaming TV. 

The broadband service is beyond our control so the wifi and broadband do not form part of our contract with you. If it is glitchy we will always do our best to fix it and keep you informed of service update.

  • Free Wifi (typically 7Mb-20Mb)
  • Smart TV with Netflix etc (in living room)
  • DVD player
  • Chromecast

We've cooked a Christmas dinner in the kitchen, so we know it's great for making family meals. 

Well equipped kitchen in our self-catering holiday cottage on the North Coast 500 in Scotland

Cooking and preparing food

  • Electric oven with grill and hob
  • Pots, pans, utensils
  • Knives and scissors, knife sharpener
  • Electric kettle
  • Microwave
  • Toaster
  • Liquidizer

Storing food

  • Fridge / freezer - 341 litres capacity (a tall fridge freezer, but not an "American" style one)
  • Picnic cool box (with cool blocks in the freezer, please make sure you return it to the cottage)
  • Bread bin

Washing and cleaning

  • Dishwasher with Smol dishwasher tablets
  • Washing machine with Smol laundry tabs
  • Tumble dryer

Making drinks

  • Cafetieres
  • Moka stove top espresso makers
  • Teapots
  • Kettle
  • We also provide some milk and a few tea bags and coffee bags to get you started

The cottage is a warm and cosy place to stay.

  • Central heating controlled by you
  • Organic bed linen and towels
  • Hair dryer

Sometimes you just want to chill inside or the family need some down time.

The Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage on the North Coast 500 has lots of thoughtful touches like books and DVDs

  • Books about lighthouses and lighthouse life
  • Walking guides
  • Birds and wildlife spotters’ guides
  • Binoculars
  • Family-favourite DVDSs (U, PG and 15)
  • Board games and card games for children and adults
  • Activity pack and toys for kids

Please bring your own charging plugs. There are a few spare sockets in every room.

Accidents happen, and sometimes you need to clean up during your stay.

Washing and drying is easy at the Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage on the NC500

  • Clear information about recycling
  • Cleaning equipment available in case you need it during your stay
    • Dustpan and brush
    • Eco-friendly cleaning materials
    • Henry vacuum
    • Mop and bucket
  • Laundry and clothes
    • Washer and tumble dryer in the kitchen
    • Ironing board and iron
    • Clothes pegs for line drying
    • Clothes airer for indoor drying

The cottage is surrounded by sea on three sides, and you have access to the whole Lighthouse compound. 

What's outside the Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage - a self-catering cottage on the North Coast 500 in Scotland

  • EV trickle charging available on request
  • Free on-site car parking
  • Open areas suitable for children and dogs
  • Picnic tables
  • Washing line (with clothes pegs inside)
  • Please supervise children and dogs outside – there are cliffs and open water immediately beyond the compound walls

 

What do I need to bring?

Little ones are very welcome. Please lest us know when you book or before you arrive if you would like us to put out any or all of these.

  • Travel cot (please bring your own bedding)
  • High chair
  • Child gate to keep small children out of the kitchen
  • Baby bath
  • Loo seat and stool
  • Children's plastic plates and cutlery
  • Selected toys

There's loads of things for families to do here in Caithness - see our Things to Do page for ideas. 

Things you'll find in the cottage:

  • Child-friendly games and DVDs
  • Spotter guides and binoculars
  • Rainy-day activity sheets
  • Kites

We love welcoming your pets and about half our guests bring their dogs. 

Caithness has some wonderful beaches and forest walks for dogs as well as enclosed spaces where even reactive dogs can run off-lead. Just ask for info - we live next door, and have dogs and cats ourselves.

Please do not leave your dog alone in the Cottage. If you need a local dog-sitter, we are happy to recommend Emma Taylor - contact her via Taylor Made Dog-sitting on Facebook or on WhatsApp. She's local to us and just loves looking after dogs.

Keeping your pet safe

  • The compound is large and not fully enclosed
  • There are cliffs and open water just beyond the walls
  • People walking up to the lighthouse may have dogs
  • Our neighbour may have sheep in the nearby fields

You know your dog best, but we recommend you keep them on a lead outside.

Please bring your dogs' own food bowls and toys with you, and your dog crate (if you have one).

We'll provide the following:

  • Throws for the furniture
  • Dog towels
  • Water bowl
  • Calming plug-in
  • Emergency poo bags

Please leave these things for future guests!

We make our beds up with 100% Organic Cotton bedlinen and feather-free pillows and duvets. We also provide 100% Organic Cotton towels.

In the kitchen you will find tea towels and oven gloves.

There is soap in the kitchen and bathroom, but you know what shampoo and shower gels you prefer so we don't provide those.

 

Welcoming everyone

Dog-friendly self-catering holiday cottage on the NC500

I am glad to be able to sponsor Highland Pride.

  • LGBT+ friendly
  • Welcoming to non-conventional families
  • Holder of the Scottish LGBTI+ Rainbow Mark
  • Proud Certified by booking.com

The cottage is all on one level, so it's suitable for people with some mobility issues. 

However, we are not suitable for wheel-chairs or mobility scooters because there are two shallow steps into the porch and two more into the cottage. However, if you are a bit unsteady on your legs, we may well be suitable. Contact Ben if you would like more information.

  • Accommodation on one floor
  • Access with two separate shallow steps
  • Extra large shower with shower stool available
  • Service dogs welcome - and of course there is no charge

There are different kinds of neurodiversity on both sides of the family, so I know one size does not fit all. But here are the things that may help you decide if we are suitable for you and your family. 

  • Contact-free check-in and check-out
  • Black-out blinds in two bedrooms and living room
  • Quiet location with no through road (about half a dozen vehicles most days, and some walkers)
  • Quieter appliances
  • Instruction videos for appliances
  • Instruction books for appliances
  • Open shelves in kitchen

  • Service dogs are welcome at no extra charge (we do make a small charge for adult pet dogs)

  • Vegan / Dairy-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Nut-free

 

Green tourism and buying local

Self=catering holiday cottage with a Gold Award for Green Tourism on the NC500 in Scotland

We support your green choices in the cottage.

  • EV Trickle Charging on site by arrangement
  • Fast EV Chargers within 5 miles
  • Organic towels and bed linen
  • Recycled yarn throws and dog towels
  • Eco-friendly cleaning materials
  • Who Gives a Crap recycled paper loo roll
  • Recycling and compost containers and guidance in cottage
  • Single use plastics - we avoid these wherever we can
  • Drying  line drying, indoor airer and tumble dryer
  • Water saving - shower head

We made as many green choices as we could when we refurbished the cottage

  • Green electricity
  • Wall and ceiling insulation
  • LED lightbulbs
  • Pre-loved curtains - shortened by a local upholsterer
  • Pre-owned and upcycled furniture (except the beds)
  • Pictures by local artists

Our priorities when buying are green options and local suppliers:

  • Reids biscuits - made here in Caithness
  • Chocolate - from Caithness Chocolate
  • Highland Tea - from Edinburgh Tea and Coffee Company
  • Taylors Coffee - from Taylors of Harrogate
  • Our books - are mostly about lighthouses, Scottish History and Lighthouses, and many are second hand - we love a recycled book!
  • Our pictures - are all by original artists, and most of them from Caithness or Sutherland
  • Lampshades and cushions - by Scottish artists
  • Our main housekeeping suppliers are Smol, Ethical Superstore, Who Gives a Crap, and Out of Eden

The headland is a haven for wildlife, and our neighbour is an organic farmer.

  • Wildflower-friendly and insect-friendly: we cut our grass at most twice a year, and do not use pesticides.
  • Planting programme for native species, starting with wild daffodils.

We are not resting on our green laurels; we have plans for further improvements.

  • Plan to install smart heating controls.
  • Investigating EV charging points for electric vehicles - in the meantime speak to us about electric charging, we are happy to help.
  • Investigating buying a small slice of a co-operatively owned wind-farm in 2024 because the lighthouse compound is not suitable for wind or solar.

 

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Self-catering cottage on the North Coast 500 - photos at night and the Northern Lights

Tell us straight away!

We want your stay to be perfect, so we'll fix anything that's wrong as fast as we can.

Phone, text, or WhatsApp Ben and I'll pop round. I am just next door so it's no bother.

Yes - we have a 13 amp socket outside, which you are welcome to with your own cable by arrangement.

You can pay us directly, or we can deduct the cost from your housekeeping deposit.

There are EV fast chargers in Wick.

There are two or three really good shows a year, and Noss Head is a good place to see them. Your best chances of seeing the Northern Lights are between September and April.  Read my blog post on seeing and photographing the Northern Lights.  They are a sight like no other, but photographs are often much brighter than the Aurora is in real life.

Alas, no. It is a working lighthouse, run remotely by the Northern Lighthouse Board, and we do not have the keys.

Some days the compound is very quiet, and sometimes there is a lot going on.

We live on site (along with our cat and our Newfoundland dog) so if you have any questions, we can help you straight away.

Noss Head is a working lighthouse, but we do not have the keys so we cannot show you round. Contractors sometimes come up to do maintenance work. And remember, everyone loves a lighthouse! In good weather, walkers may come up to the compound. We always ask them to keep their dogs on leads.

Wick is about five miles away.

  • Shops: there is a big Tesco, a Co-op and a Lidl, also an off-licence and other independent shops.
  • Restaurants: the places to eat in Wick are fairly traditional, and TripAdvisor is the best place to look for details.
  • Take-aways and deliveries: this can vary by time of year, it is best to phone and ask

 

Transport options in Wick

  • Taxis: there are several taxi firms in Wick, see our Guest Guide for details
  • Car Hire: from Hertz / Autoquip Motors or Richard Garage both in Wick.
  • Buses: buses leave Wick to go to Thurso, John o'Groats, Inverness, and places in between
  • Trains: trains from Wick to Inverness take about four hours - the bus is quicker but less comfortable and less scenic
  • Flights from Wick: you can fly to Wick from Aberdeen and the airport is about five miles from the cottage

Transport options further afield

Our wifi usually runs between 7Mb and 20Mb which is good enough for Zoom or Teams calls or for streaming to the TV, but not good enough for multiple people streaming or for gaming.  Please note that we cannot guarantee the wifi, and though we will always do our best to fix it, the wifi does not form part of our contract.

Our family / dining room has a large table which is good for working at, and a blank wall with wildlife pictures which provides a professional background.

Please make sure you have travel insurance, even if you are in the UK.

We cannot provide refunds you if you are unable to come due to illness, cancelled flights, etc.

If you book direct, you will be asked to pay a deposit of 25% when you book, and to pay the balance 6 weeks before you arrive.  If you book via another platform such as Airbnb, the cancellation terms are similar but may not be identical.

More than 6 weeks before you arrive
• Your deposit of 25% is non-refundable though we will return any balance already paid
• You may use your deposit of 25% to make a future booking

4-6 weeks before you arrive
• We will refund 50% of the full amount
• You may use the 50% we are unable to refund to make a future booking

2-4 weeks before you arrive
• We will refund 25% of the full amount
• You may use the 50% of the cost of your holiday to make a future booking

Less than 2 weeks before you arrive
• We are unable to provide a refund
• You may use 50% of what you have paid to make a future booking

See our Terms of Booking for full details.

We want you to have a safe and happy stay with no surprises, so tour terms are designed with fairness and safety in mind.

Read our full Terms of Booking here.

 

I’ve not booked self-catering before, how do I know it will be ok?

The new Short Term Let licence in Scotland has been put in place to confirm that self-catering properties are safe. The main part of it is our fire risk assessment, confirming that our electrical installations and equipment are safe to use, but it also covers things like our insurance policies and water supply.

That would be me. I am Ben, I own the Cottage, and I live next door, so I can't hide!

If you book via Airbnb, Booking.com or VRBO, it is still ultimately down to me to fix any problems, though they will step in to mediate. You are very welcome to book via them if you prefer that security.

 

Payments and refunds are handled via Stripe so I never see your card details or bank account details, and you never see mine.

Yes. Our payments are all handled via Stripe and they will manage the currency conversion for you. We charge and make refunds in pounds, so if we do need to refund you, you may receive a different amount than you paid if the currency exchange rates have changed. Sometimes you'll get more back, other times you might get less back.

Sure. The best thing to do is WhatsApp me first, and then we can speak on the phone.  I work flexible hours so we can speak at a time that suits us both.

 

Business to Business

I am always happy to talk about this subject! It's hard work, there's a lot of legislation, but I love welcoming people to the area and making sure they have a wonderful time.  If you are serious, here are some invaluable resources.

There are many, many more resources, but these are my go-to places.

Good luck!

I love working with other people! I am a great believer that "if you win, then I win".

Let me know if you would like to explore ways we can

  • help you create compelling content
  • work together to reach the same audiences
  • inspire - and may be host - writers, artists or other creative groups
  • support local community activities
  • explore the heritage of lighthouses and the people who lived and worked in them
  • record and share the story of Caithness, past and present

The simplest thing is to drop me a line or send me a WhatsApp.

 

 

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