We hope you will enjoy your stay.
The Davies, Tibbetts, Robinson, and Costello families live at Doune and there is always someone available, either in the kitchen (adjoining the dining room) or at one of the houses. Due to Covid, this year we are only open for August and September so we have no additional helpers. Martin, Jane, Andy and Liz will be looking after you.
Wifi Access – Network: ‘Doune Guest’, Password: ‘gripper15’.
Information for Guests:
The gas fires in the room can be difficult to light unless you’re familiar with them. They have a safety device that cuts off the gas supply when the flame goes out. If they don’t light correctly in the first few attempts, they need to be left for 10-15 minutes to vent before they can be lit again. If you have any problems lighting the fires let us know soonest and we’ll light it for you.
- Press-in, hold-in, and turn control dial anti-clockwise.
- As you rotate past the Number II position you’ll hear the igniter click and the flame should light – continue to hold the dial in.
- If the flame doesn’t light when you hear the igniter trigger, continue to hold the dial in, and rotate the dial back, clockwise, past the Number II (igniter) position.
- Then, continuing to hold-in the control dial, turn the control anti-clockwise to strike the igniter again.
- Repeat this sequence (turning the dial clockwise then anti-clockwise) to strike the igniter until the flame lights and remains lit. You should be able to strike the igniter about once a second. It can take 4 or 5 (and sometimes as many as 10) ‘clicks’ until the fire lights.
- Once the flame is lit you will see it through the sight glass next to the control dial. Continue to hold-in the control dial for about 10-15 seconds until the safety device is warmed up.
- Let go of the control dial and the flame should remain lit.
- You can then adjust the control dial to set the level of heat required. ‘I’ minium setting, ‘II’ medium setting, ‘III’ maximum.
Note: the fires are of a ‘sealed, balance flue, convection’ type. The fumes vent through a chimney on the wall outside the room. They take a fair amount of time (15-20 minutes) to warm up and continue to hold their heat for about an hour once switched off. Please don’t put items to dry directly on top of the heater. They can get very hot and it could cause a fire. While they can remain safely lit, we recommend that you turn-off the fire overnight.
We run diesel generators - they differ from normal mains electricity in two ways:
- They have limited output. Hair driers and other high consumption appliances cannot be used; if in doubt PLEASE ask.
- They only run at certain hours of the day.
Normal generator time: 7:00am – 1:00pm and 5:00pm – 11:30pm (and occasionally outside these hours)
The main lighting will only operate when the generator is running.
Each room is equipped with a lantern and there is a Lantern is available in the lobby next to the dining room.
Tea and Coffee
The electric kettle is slow; being especially low wattage. If you would like to make tea or coffee outside generator times, please ask for a flask of hot water.
Smoking is not allowed indoors in the dining room or accommodation. Smoking is allowed outside, please use ash trays and be conscious of other guests and of the fire risk.
Breakfast 8:00am or 8:30am
Packed lunch provided at breakfast time
Evening dinner; usually 7:30pm or 8:00pm
We feel it is important that rigid meal times do not conflict with any activities that you plan for the day and are happy to fit in with your plans and to alter meal times to suit. We normally provide a set menu. Please let us know of any special diets, choices or preferences.
Walkers should be aware that this is a remote area, not easily reached be rescue services. Proper footwear and equipment are essential. Hill walking experience is essential if you intend to leave the public tracks.
At certain times of the year it is necessary to consult the local deer stalkers regarding access and planned routes. Please ask.
Please always let us know your plans.
Boat Trips and Mini-Bus
Our boat Gripper is available for use by guests staying in the Stone Lodges. You’ll find notes about the different trips and drop-off points later in this guide. We’ll discuss any requirements you might have for her use after dinner to make a plan for the following day. We also have a mini-bus available which we use on the track between Airor and Inverie. Dependent on the weather and tide we may use the mini-bus rather than the boat for trips between Doune and Inverie.
There is an intercom by the main front door which you can use to contact us when no one is around. Press the illuminated button and it will and it will telephone us.
Postcards (50p) and stamps are for sale.
Please ask if you would like us to post your mail next time we go out.
In case of emergency
There are torches and a lantern in each room. There is also a lantern in the dining room entrance hall, by the payphone.
To call us, press one of the buttons at the base of the payphone. No money is needed; the phone will ring directly to us.
In case of fire
If it is possible to tackle the fire without personal risk, use the extinguisher in the porch. Vacate the building and assemble on the stone track in front of it.
Sound the fire alarm by pressing the button on one of the two Fire Alarm Call Points. One of these is located externally on the fire hose cabinet between the Stone Lodge rooms and Kitchen. The second is located next to the payphone in the Entrance Hall for the Dining Room. If the intercom is no-where in the region of the fire press the illuminated button to contact us.
If the intercom is inaccessible, find us at one of the houses.
There is a map of the local area in the dining room.
There is an OS map on the dining room bookshelf.
Please discuss your plans with us as we can provide considerable local knowledge.
If you have any problems or comments, or if you find things broken or not working, please let us know so that we can sort it out as quickly as possible.
Possible boat drop off by arrangement :
All prices are for drop off and collection unless otherwise stated. (see map on following pages for numbered locations)
- Sandaig Bay
Only in very good conditions by dinghy. £15.00 drop off
- Plastic Mary
Landing possible in reasonable conditions, probably by dinghy. £15.00 drop off
Landing at pier in most conditions. £15.00 drop off, £20.00 return
There is a Tea Room and Pottery open weekdays. And a post office open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
There is a pub (Tel 462267).
Landing possible in reasonable conditions by dinghy.
Good footpath and beautiful walk along shores of Loch Morar to Tarbet. £40.00
- “Mica Mine Jetty”
Now derelict. Drop off by dinghy. Overgrown pony track to open cast quarry and mining machinery at about 2000ft. Geological and historical interest. Beinn Buidhe. £40.00
Landing by dinghy. £40.00
- Chaolais Cockle Beach
Landing by dinghy. Cockles and razor shells to be found. £40.00
Good footpath walk from Camusrory to Inverie via Glen Meadail. Pickup in Inverie by minibus. £40.00 per person.
Alternatively, possible access to Sgurr na Ciche. £60.00 per person (min 6 persons) or £360.00 whole boat.
- Kinloch Hourn
Boat can only get this far at high tide. £60.00 per person (min 6 people) or £360.00 whole boat.
Beautiful boat trip with excellent coast path to Barrisdale.
Landing (usually alongside without need of dinghy).
Good footpath to Inverie via Mam Barrisdale. Pickup by minibus. £40.00
- Li: “The Pool”
Landing usually by dinghy.
Access to North ridges of Ladhar Bheinn. Pickup by minibus. £40.00
Also route to Mam Li and footpath from Mam Li to Folach.
Access to Beinn Sgritheall £40.00
- Cnoc Gorm and Croulin
Landing by dinghy in good conditions.
Lovely coastal footpath to Doune if conditions are suitable to ford the Guiserein River. £20.00 or £30.00 with pickup in Inverie by minibus.
- Sandaig (Camusfearna) (off map)
Gavin Maxwell wrote “Ring of Bright Water” about his otters here. £40.00
- Isle Ornsay (Skye) (off map)
Landing at pier (high tide) or by dinghy. £40.00
Pub, shop and sculpture.
Landing at pier or by dinghy. £15.00
Mallaig (off map)
A variety of pubs and shops. £34.00
Armadale (off map)
Pubs and shops. Designer knitwear.
The MacDonald Centre near Armadale and Sobhal Mor for occasional concert.
Whenever possible, drop-offs and pickups in Inverie will be by boat, unless due to weather conditions or other commitments, when we will use our minibus. Travel times are the same in either case.
The oldest historical site (3-4000 years old) on Knoydart is to be found at Doune. It is an Iron Age (Pictish) vitrified fort on Dun Head. The Dun (from where Doune gets its name) now consists of the remains of a defensive wall around the upper part of the headland. The wall itself is largely buried, but is visible in a couple of places. It is made of small rocks fused together by heat (vitrified), although there is much argument about how this was done. It would certainly have required an enormous amount of wood to be burnt.
Up the glen behind the Lodge, is the remains of Doune village, which existed up until 1853, when it was cleared for sheep, (along with most of the other villages along the Western shore of Knoydart). The people left, thinking they were on their way to Australia, only to find themselves deposited in Nova Scotia, where there is now a village called Knoydart.
Before the clearance, Doune was the largest village on Knoydart with over 130 people living here. But by 1860, there were only 8 people, all one family, brought in to look after the sheep.
At this time, the people lived in “blackhouses”, so called because they had no chimneys or windows, the smoke from the peat fires finding its way out through gaps in the roof and walls. There are many ruined examples of these houses around Doune. The dining room walls were built using the stone from one such building.
Immediately to the North of Doune, and about ½ mile to the South are caves which were used as shelter by people evicted from their homes during the clearances.
Also around Doune and anywhere where there was habitation, there are “lazy beds”, the hand turned furrows on which all crops were grown. There were very few animals and the ground was unsuitable to horse drawn ploughs (if they had been available), so all were turned by hand, using the “gas-chrom” or foot plough.
Over towards the bay immediately South of Doune, there is a corn kiln. A shallow, stone dish some 8ft in diameter, with room for a fire beneath, it lies to the shore side of a tall pillar of natural stone.
Beyond the corn kiln, on the South side of the bay, is a sheep fank, built in the later part of the 1800’s, perhaps by the same Irish dykers who built the white house.
To the South of Dun Head, is An Faochag (the winkle), known locally as Marianne’s Point. Renamed by local fishermen after an old lady who would provide cups of tea to passing boats. Where, or exactly when Marianne lived is uncertain.
After occupation by many shepherds and their families, Doune laid empty until in 1982 the now ruined house was taken on by Alan and Mary Robinson and their two young sons, Toby and Jamie. Over the next few years, they rebuilt the white house, built a pier, a slipway and Gripper (now superseded by Gripper II). When Jamie and Toby left school and could devote more time to the business, they built the Lodge (1989) and Mary Doune (1990).
By 1992, Doune was continuing to expand and after starting on the rebuild of Eda Frandsen (the 60ft decommissioned fishing boat they brought back from Denmark), the Robinsons decided to ask Andy and Liz Tibbetts to join them.
Then in 1993, disaster struck, with the fire that gutted Eda and destroyed the boatshed with all our tools. It took a whole year to come to terms with this, before we could start again . We replaced the old wooden boat shed with the purpose built workshop we have now and in 1994 the Stone Lodges and the Dining room were completed. Then with Toby’s expert management, a band of volunteers replaced Eda’s damaged planking and decking, and at last in 1996, she was re-launched.
Since then, expansion at Doune has been a more personal affair, with Toby marrying Kath and Jamie marrying Marion. Then it was the baby boom; in 1998 a son, Finn to Kath and Toby and a son, Ewan to Andy and Liz; in 2000 another son, Lachie to Toby and Kath and a son, Lewis to Jamie and Marion; and in 2001 another son, Coll to Toby and Kath and a son Duncan to Jamie and Marion.
2003 saw Doune developing into a proper community. Alan and Mary retired and have now built a lovely home here at Doune. And we were delighted to welcome Martin and Jane Davies and their two daughters Alexandra and Pippa who moved into the White House to run the Stone Lodges and the Dining room.
2004 proved a more challenging year - Marion decided to leave Doune, and Coll was diagnosed as autistic. Kath and Toby have since started a Son-Rise home based treatment programme, for which they have temporarily moved to Inverie. .If you’d like to know more about Coll’s programme, please have a look at his web site at www.collrobinson.org.uk or talk to Liz.
2005 was the start of a settled few years with Alex and Pippa weekly boarding at Mallaig High School and Ewan walking up the hill daily for primary school in Inverie.
By 2009 both girls had left school (!) and joined us working full time for the season. And October 2009 saw a wonderful Doune celebration for Jamie and Penny’s wedding.
2012 marked the end of an era as Eda Frandsen left Doune for the last time. Both Jamie and Penny have started new businesses, Jamie providing ‘alternative engineering solutions’ for renewable energy and Penny running cookery courses at the ‘Galley on the Hill’.
In 2018, Jamie moved to a leading role working with T.Nielsen & Co. one of the World’s leading specialists in building and restoring traditional ships, and Penny and Jamie departed Doune to live in Gloucester.
At the end of 2019, Doune welcomed new residents as David and Louise Costello moved to make their home here taking over Penny and Jamie’s house. Bringing new skills to Doune, David is running the local Knoydart maintenance company and Louise is working as administrator for the Knoydart Foundation.
Food at Doune
Eating in Doune Dining Room is a major part of your holiday with us. We have always been proud of our food and we try very, very hard to consistently live up to the excellent reputation we have built up over time. In 2008, for the second year running, we were given a coveted Silver Award by ‘Eat Scotland’ food grading standards. And in 2009 we were delighted to win the ‘Taste of Scotland Thistle Award’ by Visit Scotland. It’s great that our food philosophy is being recognised by ‘higher places’ but it’s even better knowing that it has been appreciated by the most important people, our guests, for many years!
Local and seasonal are todays buzzwords but they have always been the natural choice for us. Venison and Lamb are from local producers. (Our other butcher meats are sourced from a quality family butcher who produce their own Quality Assured beef and source rare breed pork and ‘free to roam’ chicken.) Our prawns are always fresh, and creel caught and come from a local fisherman. Jane relishes being the main crab catcher and although Jamie and Andy no longer dive for scallops themselves, we always buy from local divers. Our cheeseboard comes entirely from two local artisan cheese makers. Jane and Liz’s gardens are run on organic principles and provide most of our soft fruit and fresh herbs. A big proportion of our other ingredients are also organic, especially our bread flours and most nuts and dried fruits.
We will seat our guests together as a group unless you request otherwise. Dress code for dinner is informal and entirely up to you. Doune is remote and rugged, offering unpretentious comfort and a warm and personal welcome. The food in Doune Dining Room is entirely appropriate to that. This is not the setting for cheap fast food or fancy ‘fine dining’. It is the perfect place for real ‘slow’ food, skilfully and freshly prepared every day. We pay huge attention to menu planning … The aim is that each dish is spot on, that it works within a perfectly balanced menu and that the weeks menus build up to a great overall experience.
Having a carefully chosen single menu, with everyone dining at the same time, means we are able to concentrate on using the freshest ingredients and cooking them to perfection. Of course if you have a special dietary requirement or allergy we are more than happy to produce an alternative for you. Please do talk to us about your needs. Maybe you would appreciate us letting you know if a dish contains a certain ingredient or is particularly rich. Most dishes are presented for self-service so you can take as much or as little as you like and we can always offer cheese or fresh fruit as an alternative to dessert.
Please relax, trust us, and enjoy this real, wholesome food. You are on holiday after all!
Breakfast is at 8.00 or 8.30am depending on your plans for the day. Everything is presented as a buffet so you can have as much or as little of whatever you like. There is always plenty of choice and we ring the changes daily in both the cold and hot buffets.
Our home-made bread makes lovely crunchy toast and we have a selection of home-made preserves. We source the best quality meats from our butcher, but if the hot buffet doesn’t tempt you and you would like a simple boiled egg instead, just let us know. (Remember to leave room for the fruit loaf, pancakes, or scones straight from the oven!)
Packed lunches will be ready to collect after breakfast. We use our own rolls and home baking and quantities are generous. If you find the lunch too big, do let us know in the kitchen the night before and we can tailor the quantity accordingly. Packed lunches are not usually provided on the day of departure, but if you would like to order one as an extra, please speak to us the day before.
We aim to start dinner at about 7.30pm but if you are planning a long day we can usually make a special arrangement. Please come in a few minutes early to get a pre-dinner drink and smell the bread rolls baking! This is a good chance for us to hear about your day and we can help you with the best choice of wine for the meal. A couple of times a week we offer our Scottish Cheeseboard. As always, quality and variety is paramount and we source some beautiful cheeses in perfect condition. We know most people are pretty full by the time the cheese arrives, so we purposely cut small pieces, but if your table needs more just ask! At coffee time we discuss plans for the following day and decide on a time for breakfast.
We hope this has given you some background to our food philosophy and an idea of what to expect in the Dining Room. If you have any questions or comments, we would love to discuss them with you. Bon Appetit!