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Remote and rural locations to live in Scotland

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These remote and rural locations to live in Scotland offer a break of pace, with stunning views, tightknit communities and homes full of character and charm

 words Adrianne Webster 

Sometimes we want to seek out a bit of tranquility, natural beauty, and a slower pace of life when it comes to moving home, especially if we’re not tied to a certain location for work and family.

The following areas are renowned for their stunning landscapes, historic charm, and sense of rugged isolation, which offer a retreat from the hustle and bustle of urban living and offer an oasis of calm in our modern times.

1. The Isle of Mull

remote and rural locations to live in Scotland
Photography © Alexander Baxter for Harford-Cross Architects

Located on the west coast of Scotland in the Inner Hebridean chain of islands, the Isle of Mull is a destination with unique charm that will appeal to those seeking a change in lifestyle.

Perhaps most famous for its colourful houses in the capital of Tobermory, the island offers character in spades. The main town boasts a healthy community of independent businesses and benefits from tourism throughout the summer and winter months, meaning there’s always a steady stream of new people to meet and to shop at any businesses you might want to start up.

There’s a stunning stone-built 7-bedroom property for sale in Dervaig, Tobermory for £675,000 that comes with an adjoining two-bed cottage that could be turned into a thriving holiday home (the family currently living there have had success with holiday letting). Sitting over 1.3 acres of gardens, it would make the perfect space for a countryside retreat.

And wild swimmers, take note; there’s also a quaint 2-bedroom cottage on RightMove in the small village of Knocknafenaig, Bunessan that’s within walking distance of a white, sandy beach for the price of £385,000.

2. Sleat Peninsula, Isle of Skye

Journey south from the dramatic peaks of the Isle of Skye and you’ll come across the Sleat Peninsula, often referred to as the “Garden of Skye”.

This part of the island benefits from flatter ground, which makes it perfect for long walks. The peninsula is also more lush with local plants and flowers due to its unique microclimate — the Gulf Stream influences the weather, leading to slightly warmer temperatures and milder winters, making it a more temperate and comfortable place to live.

History buffs will love the local sights, including ruined castles, geological sites and abandoned Clearance-era villages, a poignant reminder of the not too distant past.

Property prices in the area range from £200,000-£350,000 for a family-size home, and depend on whether you’re staying in a more rural location or centrally in the busier towns of Broadford and Portree.

3. Lerwick, Shetland Islands

Lerwick, the capital of the Shetland Islands, offers a unique and distinctive living experience that might appeal to those seeking a blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and a sense of community.

It boasts a distinct culture influenced by a combination of Scottish and Norse heritage — the latter is seen evidently through Shetland’s celebrations and festivals, like Up Helly Aa fire festival, which marks the end of Yule.

And being an island community, you’ll be provided with breathtaking views of the North Sea, and the coastal landscapes, cliffs, and nearby islands, too.

But aside from off-the-beaten-track sights, there’s also plenty of opportunity to take in some arts and culture. There’s a state-of-the-art cinema and arts complex, which shows new release films and hosts gigs from musical acts, as well as a network of museums and busy community halls. The food and drink scene is thriving, too, with fresh seafood and local produce making up the menus.

A four-bed property in the town’s old town is currently on sale for offers around £335,000, which has retained the original exterior but has been completely renovated inside with full gas central heating and decorated in a contemporary style — the perfect blank canvas.

4. Glenbuchat, Aberdeenshire

remote and rural locations to live in Scotland
Photography by Dapple Photography

Rural property and land in Aberdeenshire is a competitive market as home to the country’s largest farmlands. Farm properties and the accompanying land is aplenty, but is often snapped up quickly by farmers looking to expand their businesses, so it pays to know what you’re looking for.

The Aberdeenshire area has seen a 4.5% dip in house prices in recent months — bad news for sellers, but could provide the opportunity for a bargain for buyers.

The quiet area of Glenbuchat offers movers many benefits beyond simply peace and quiet; historic castles, locally-produced food, wildlife and plenty of nature walks to enjoy.

5. Culross, Fife

 

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Fans of Outlander will recognise the whimsical cottages of the former royal burgh of Culross, Fife.

Named by The Times as one of the best places to live in the UK in 2022, the picture-perfect town balances tranquility with stunning beauty, with its cobbled streets and colourful rows of houses.

Buyers can enjoy a close proximity to nature, with opportunities for walks along the Fife Coastal Path and explorations of nearby woodlands.

It’s also a great choice for commuters, being around an hour to the two major cities in Scotland; Edinburgh and Glasgow.

6. Ballachulish, Lochaber, Highlands 

In the heart of Glencoe, nothing says ‘remote and rural’ like the idyllic and ancient village of Ballachulish. The area is steeped in such rich and bloody history, dating back to 600 B.C., and is most famously known for the Glencoe Massacre.

But in modern day Ballachulish you’ll find natural beauty at every turn. Known for its dramatic mountains and glacial valleys there’s plenty of stunning views and opportunities for outdoor activities.

The average house price in the area is £286,875, up 16% since 2019. But with that, you get plenty of bang for your buck, with more space — both inside and out — and cottages offering original features.

7. Dunkeld, Perthshire

 

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Dunkeld in Perthshire has been listed as one of the Sunday Times’s Best Places to Live in the UK 2023, with the paper naming it as having “the best and most bountiful high streets in the country”.

On the A9 between Perth and Pitlochry you’ll find the thriving town centre of Dunkeld, where the shops of Atholl Street are well worth a visit.

And you’re in luck if you love a woodland walk. The Hermitage, a nearby woodland managed by the National Trust for Scotland, offers picturesque walks among tall Douglas fir trees. The highlight is the impressive Ossian’s Hall and the Black Linn Falls.

Property prices in the area sit at an average of £356,800.

Wonder what it’s like to live in a rural property?

This stunning renovation project in the Highlands gives insight and inspiration

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