Travel to Mallaig
Car: The drive is spectacular from the south is spectacular, taking you along the length of Loch Lomond and later crossing the southern end of Rannoch Moor before entering the magnificent Glen Coe.
Between Fort William and Mallaig you pass more fabulous places. Loch Eilt will be on the left-hand side and includes the island that was used for Dumbledore’s grave in the Harry Potter films. You’ll also pass the curving Glenfinnan Viaduct, which also features heavily in Harry Potter films, part of the journey taken by The Hogwarts Express. At Arisaig the road turns north toward Mallaig; if you have time you can come off the main road and follow the coast past the famous Silver Sands of Morar where the walking and views are breath-taking.
On entering Mallaig you’ll find a long-stay car park on the left-hand side. Currently, there’s no charge, but payment machines have been installed and you should check carefully any restrictions or costs. Further parking that remains free can be found on the other side of the harbour; turn right at the roundabout and follow the road round.
Train: Our favourite method! The Caledonian Sleeper will whisk you overnight from London all the way to Fort William in remarkable comfort. Alternatively, you can get a day train via Glasgow and Fort William. The best part of the journey by train is north of Helensburgh, so a nice idea could be to drive to there, park up and then travel by train for the rest of the way north. You’ll pass Loch Lomond, travel across Rannoch Moor and then enjoy The Hogwarts Express line from Fort William to Mallaig (Don’t be fooled, it’s anything but ‘express’).
Plane: There are airports at Glasgow and Inverness, but neither are particularly convenient for the onward journey. From Glasgow Airport you’d get a bus into the city centre and the train north. From Inverness Airport it would be a bus to Fort William. You could of course hire a car and complete the journey that way.
Once in Mallaig
Mallaig is a small fishing town and you can easily while away a couple of hours in the tea rooms, The Steam Inn and an interesting little Heritage Centre next to the railway station. However, if you have lots of spare time then we recommend stopping at the various amazing places on the journey north of Glasgow.
We depart for Doune from the small boats pontoon as opposed to the CalMac pier, you can find it marked with a green circle on the map below. We typically leave from Mallaig on Gripper II at 2.30pm on Tuesdays and 3pm on Saturdays. From time to time this can be affected by the tide, so we’ll be in touch separately if we need to set off a little later.
The crossing takes about 40 minutes and is a perfect chance for you to relax into the beautiful surroundings. It can be a little choppy, so we advise guests to take a sea sickness pill an hour before. The skipper is responsible for the safety of everyone on board and their decision is final in all matters relating to the boat. They reserve the right to refuse to put to sea in unsuitable conditions, albeit this is a very rare occurrence.
We have a small container on the pier at Mallaig for deliveries. Please let us know if you’d like to leave any bags inside while you’re in Mallaig and we can send you the code for the key box.
What to bring
There is no dress code for dinner, in fact it would be unusual to get ‘dressed up’– one guest commented on how getting dressed for dinner was untucking his trousers from his walking socks! We do however strongly recommend good waterproofs and sturdy walking shoes or boots and a pair of wellies if you can fit them in. We do have facilities to dry clothes if the unimaginable happens and it rains here in on the West Coast!
Other items to consider bringing are your toiletries – we provide soap in all our rooms but encourage guests to bring any other toiletries they might need. We have tick tweezers for just in case but recommend you bring your own midgie repellent if visiting in summer.
When packing please remember that Doune is a remote and rugged location and bags need to be transported from the pier along a 200m shoreside path. We can do this for you, so don’t feel you have to travel ultra-light, but it’s worth considering.
TV & Internet
There are no televisions in our rooms, but we do have good WiFi and 4G mobile coverage. We have a selection of games and books, but you might also like to bring your own.
The Stone Lodge rooms are en-suite. The Bothy is a single room that shares bathroom facilities with the restaurant.
The Stone Lodges will be made up with Super King Size beds unless you advise us that you’d prefer two singles.
Doune is entirely off grid. We generate our own power and the supply is limited, so we ask guests not to bring hair dryers or other power-thirsty electrical appliances. Phone/camera chargers and electric shavers are fine. We’ll advise you on arrival the hours that electricity is available (generally morning and evening) and you will be given a lantern to use overnight when the power is off.
Our water supply is from the burn that runs down the hill, we’re not connected to the mains supply. All the water for the restaurant and guest rooms is filtered and UV treated to comply with standards.
Well-behaved dogs are very welcome when visiting in Stone Lodge 2 and the Bothy, though we ask they are not allowed on furniture. Please note that we have free roaming poultry so they must be always kept under close control around Doune. Only assistance dogs are allowed in the dining room, so please ensure your dog is content being left alone in your room. We have a rigid dog bed, bedding and dog bowls for you to use during your stay but ask that you bring food for your dog. Please make sure your dog is up to date with flea and tick treatment and we advise using a good quality tick collar whilst here as an added precaution. We highly recommend a Seresto tick collar; our own dog has remained almost tick free since we fitted one.
Food & drink
Our Doune Dining Room is fully licenced and we stock a good selection of beers, wines, spirits and soft/alcohol free drinks. There will be the facility to run a tab for your drinks and we will invoice you for any extras at the end of your stay.
Dining at Doune is a communal affair with breakfast served at 8am and dinner at 7.30pm. If you would like a leisurely morning, we can provide you with a breakfast tray for your room and a flask of tea and coffee. If you have any specific dietary requirements, please complete the attached form so that we can plan our menus accordingly– there’s no need to complete this form if you’re an ‘eat anything’ person!
We will provide you with a lunch box for your stay to avoid the use of clingfilm and other plastics, and we encourage all guests to bring their own water bottles. We’ll be happy to fill flasks for anyone who brings one along.
Things to do
The opportunities at Doune are endless, whether you want to relax on the beach, explore the local wildlife (we can direct you to a perfect viewing point to watch our resident otters) or are looking forward to days walking the hills and coastline of Knoydart. Hill walkers are responsible for their own safety, but we’re on hand to offer help and advice.
There will also be opportunities for boat access to start walks from Loch Nevis and Loch Hourn and to visit local bays and Inverie. Prices for these trips will be provided in your room.
We are lucky to have a ranger service in Knoydart offering expertly-guided nature walks. Finally, we work closely with Lee Anderson, a Mallaig based Mountain Guide, who offers guided climbing and hiking across Knoydart and who can start the day at Doune or join us here for a boat accessed walk. Further details are available at https://not-about-the-summit.business.site
Facilities in Inverie
Inverie is about six miles, so about two hours walk, 45 minutes by boat or 20 minutes in our car (following a 20 minute walk up the hill to the road). There are good facilities in Inverie including The Old Forge which has recently been bought by the Knoydart Community. There is also the Tea Rooms where Isla and Rhona will look after you and the local shop which sells many of the essentials you might need.
The end of your stay
When the sad time comes to leave Doune, we will set off at 9am sharp to allow time for guests to catch the first train. Please remove the duvet covers, sheets and pillowcases from your bedding, place it in the bag provided along with your towels and leave it in the porch before you go for breakfast.
We hope that this has given you all the information you need for your stay with us, but if you need to know anything else please email email@example.com or call +44 (0)1687 462667.