Matenderere is in Kilchoan, the largest settlement of West Ardnamurchan. This view looks along the coast of the Ardnamurchan peninsula towards Ardnamurchan Point, the most westerly point of the British mainland. To the left is the Sound of Mull. The house is marked with an arrow.

Looking east along Ormsaigbeg
The site on which Matenderere stands is in the crofting township of Ormsaigbeg. In this picture, Matenderere is marked with the arrow. The house is built on decrofted land, with the township's common grazings to the left and Kilchoan Bay, which opens out to the Sound of Mull, to the right. The main village of Kilchoan is in the middle distance.

Matenderere in February
The house was completed in 2005 on a plot with commanding views down the Sound of Mull. It was designed by our architect to take full advantage of both site and views. The concept was to create a house which blended with the local croft architecture yet maximised the scenic and southeast-facing opportunities of the site. Thus all living rooms, including bedrooms, face the front; further, all these rooms have at least one window in a minimum of two walls, so they enjoy as much natural light as possible.
December Sunrise
This is the view from living rooms. The picture was taken in December looking down the Sound of Mull, just before sunrise. To the left is Drimnin, to the right, the Isle of Mull.

View from the conservatory
The main living room is L-shaped and includes sitting area with multi-fuel stove and window facing the front, kitchen with electric hob and oven and a multi-fuel Rayburn which provides cooking, heating and hot water, and a large conservatory/dining area (this picture looks through it from the kitchen) which has windows on three sides and a double door out onto the front terrace. There are three bedrooms and a study which is easily converted to a further bedroom, a downstairs shower room and an upstairs bathroom, three walk-in storage cupboards, and a pantry. The front entrance leads into a large and airy vestibule with hanging area, shelving and bench, while a utility room runs along the back of the house.

Front terrace & conservatory
The front garden slopes up from a gravel car park. It is laid to shrubs and small trees and is designed to be easily maintained. A paved path winds up to a front terrace and then around the side of the house to a paved area which runs all along the back of the building. Much of this is covered with polypropylene roofing to form a sheltered working and clothes-drying area. A traditional 'coal hole' is accessed from here, delivering coal directly to the kitchen. Also in this area is a small tool/work shed and a wood store.

The vegetable garden
From the back terrace, steps lead up to a well-established vegetable and fruit garden. At the top of this there is a greenhouse and another paved terrace which offers exceptional views over the house roof to the Sound of Mull and the mountains of Morvern and Mull. By this is a gate which leads out onto croft land and thence to miles of unfenced moorland.

Looking southeast down the Sound of Mull from the back of the house.
Matenderere, which means 'the wanderer', was designed after ten years' experience of the local climate. The west coast of Scotland is warm, wet and windy, with snow and frosts relatively rare in winter. Gales are not infrequent, so the house is tucked into the hillside. In the event of a power outage, cooking, central heating and hot water are all provided by the multifuel Rayburn, and the electric circuits can easily be switched to a generator, housed at the the rear of the building, which provides lighting and power for fridges and freezers.

Hundreds of ships, of all descriptions, pass up and down the Sound of Mull every year and in all weathers. One of the pleasures of the house is being able to watch them - this is the Arklow Forest, photographed from the house, making headway into a full westerly gale.

The beach below the house
The house, right in this picture, has gates at the back and side which open straight onto croft land and thence onto moorland. By permission of the croft holder, we keep our kayaks at the back of the beach in the bay below the house, from where we can paddle to the west, towards Ardnamurchan Point, or east into the more sheltered Loch Sunart. Adjacent houses have summer moorings in this bay for power boats and yachts.

The beaches at Sanna
Most of the area surrounding Kilchoan is either croft common grazings or Ardnamurchan Estate land, both of which offer miles of hill walking largely unimpeded by fences: Scotland's 'right to roam' legislation makes this fully accessible to all. There are white sand beaches at Sanna, seven miles away (above), and the lighthouse at the most westerly point of the British mainland, Ardnamurchan Point, is about eight miles away by road.

Young sea eagle over Matenderere
The local wildlife includes sea and golden eagles, buzzards, pine martens, badgers, foxes and red deer, while the Sound of Mull has cetaceans including dolphins and minke whales, seals, otters and basking sharks.

Kilchoan is far enough north for the northern lights to be visible on fine winter nights. This picture was taken shortly before midnight on a March night earlier this year.

Winter view from the hill at the back of the house
Internet access is good - the download speed at time of writing was 7.06Mb/s and upload 0.35Mb/s. Superfast broadband is due to come to the area during 2017. Consistently good connection speeds have enabled the present owner to keep a blog about West Ardnamurchan, A Kilchoan Diary, where there's plenty more about West Ardnamurchan.

The house is in the hands of estate agent Jennifer Forsyth at MacArthur Stewart in Fort William - website here or telephone 01397 702 455.

There's more about Kilchoan and West Ardnamurchan here.

No comments:

Post a Comment