Find out more about The Crofter's Snug and Karina & Jo!
Karina & Jo
Our lovely Coachman caravan
We spent the first lockdown parked up on this spot in Sardinia!
In our previous life, Karina worked as a Farm Administrator and Jo as a Primary School Inclusion Leader. Following a camping trip to Ireland in 2015 we started to formulate a plan to enable us to leave the rat race for a life of travel and adventure. In October 2017, we hitched up our shiny new caravan and set off to catch the ferry to Santander coming back nine months later to trade it in for a motorhome. We toured again for seven months coming up to Scotland between trips (see here) and finally back in July 2020 following an amazing 12-month, 14-country tour of Europe (see here).
Having travelled full-time for three years, Jo and I were at a cross-roads. Brexit was looming and extended long term travel options looked full of complicated red tape. We spent the first lockdown (on the edge of a lake in Sardinia - see photo - poor us!) contemplating the idea of yet another change of lifestyle: Jo craved people to chat to and I missed having a desk for my laptop! We heard through friends that The Crofter's Snug was up for sale so we drove through the night in the autumn of 2020 to come and view. It was 'Wow!' at first sight. It ticked all the boxes - our fate was sealed. Five weeks later we got the keys and, roles reversed, we waved goodbye to the previous owners, Kirsty & Steve, towing their caravan as they set off to start the next chapter of their story.
Interestingly, when we were touring here in 2019, we too had intended to do the North Coast 500. We'd decided to travel anti-clockwise and so started our journey by coming up the east coast. However, when we found ourselves standing at Duncansby Head, pointing out to sea shouting "land ahoy!" ("We did not shout that!" says Jo), we spent the evening researching and boarded a ferry to the Orkneys the following day. We spent a few weeks touring a few of the islands then, seeing as we were on a roll, we decided to travel all the way to the Shetland Islands, finally coming back to Aberdeen - all without touching an inch of the west coast. How ironic that the NC500 is now on our doorstep - we are obviously meant to finish that trip! It will be great to hear your stories. I will take notes - I'm sure our gallivanting days aren't over yet :-)
In the meantime, we're very excited and thankful to be up here and hope we can live up to the amazing reviews that Steve and Kirsty enjoyed and that we can do justice to what they started here at The Crofter's Snug.
So.... happy travels and we hope they lead you here. Really, really looking forward to meeting you all.
Karina (the tall one who does most of the admin) & Jo (the short one who does most of everything else) :-) xx
The Crofter's Snug
The first photo is of the Crofter's Snug in 2015 when the previous owners (Kirsty and Steve) decided to begin creating what you see here today. We live on site in a typical 19th century crofting house, built over 100 years ago, set in over 4 acres.
Factoids! A croft is not a house but a unit of agricultural land and 'crofting' is a land tenure system of small scale food producers unique to the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Crofting provides tenants with security provided they pay their rent, live on or near their croft and work the land. Traditionally, crofts were situated on large estates. Landlords could have many crofts on their estate - in fact there are over 17,000 crofts in Scotland! They are a fenced or enclosed area of land, usually small and arable, and usually, but not always, with property. A crofter is the person who has use of the land, typically as a tenant farmer although many now are owner-occupiers.
The original part of the house at The Crofter's Snug was built c.1900 and is typical of the 'croft' style. Tiny but perfectly formed. The occupant of the Castle of Mey could quite likely have been the landlord many moons ago. We need to investigate and will update this information as we find out more!
About an hour south of us and visible from the A9, we have driven past the Laidhay Croft Museum a few times. Also, just a mile from Dunnet, there's Mary Ann’s Cottage – a living reminder of what life was like not so long ago in Caithness and a must see if you, like us, have an interest in old crofting lifestyles.