26th September 2019
The Scottish highlands and islands have long been a beloved destination for tourists from all over the UK, Europe and beyond. People from every country in the world flock to our beautiful coastlines and countryside year after year.
With so many visitors choosing Scotland as their preferred destination, it’s no wonder that competition for the Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards is fierce, with established and famous hotels and destinations from across the North of Scotland competing for deserved recognition.
But this year, a brand new venue will be challenging past winners and hoping to win an award at the first time of asking. Noss Head Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage is aiming to bring a coveted prize home to Caithness in their very first year of trading.
Benedicta Makin (known as Ben) is owner of the recently-refurbished three bedroomed holiday cottage just outside Wick. Now, less than 12 months since welcoming its very first guests, the self-catered holiday cottage is up for the prestigious Best Self Catering Accommodation Experience prize.
“People love the idea of staying in a lighthouse keeper’s cottage, but not everyone knows just how different each Scottish lighthouse is. We give our guests the chance to learn more about the history of our lighthouse, explore the headland, the landscape and the wildlife, and understand a little more about the people who’ve lived and worked here for centuries.”
Noss Head has also been granted a Green Tourism Silver Award, and Ben and her team hope that their superb average reviews (5/5 on Trip Advisor, 5/5 on Airbnb, 9.8/10 on Booking.com) will bring another piece of silverware to Caithness.
Ben agrees that comfort and attention to detail have been the secret to the cottage’s success, along with a choice to keep things local and sustainable by using local trades-people and suppliers. Her team has also been inspired by Noss Head’s maritime history:
“The Stevensons (designers of many of Scotland’s lighthouses) constantly innovated to keep mariners safe, and we’re inspired to do the same. Along with the cottage’s manager Joy and our two housekeepers Tracy and Kim, we’re constantly testing and trying different things, listening to feedback and making improvements. That’s how we help guests form happy memories that’ll last decades.”
Noss Head Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage will hope to win the Best Self Catering Accommodation Experience prize at the awards ceremony to be held on November 1st. The lighthouse cottage will be joined by Wick neighbours Mackays Hotel, which is nominated in the Best Hotel Experience category.