Blue Reef Cottages are committed to providing a good quality service while also minimising the environmental impact of our activities. A symbol of this commitment is our membership of the Scottish Tourist Board’s Green Tourism Business Scheme. This Scheme provides accreditation and encouragement for tourism businesses to reduce the environmental impact of their activities. By encouraging sustainable practice it ensures the continued enjoyment of the environment of Harris for future generations.
Set in the beautiful village of Scarista, Blue Reef Cottages consists of two turf roofed stone cottages designed to blend into the rugged coastal landscape, drawing on traditional island building techniques and incorporating unique touches. The pièce de la rèsistance is a glass fronted observation area, which has stunning panoramic views of idyllic beaches and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.
In its May 2009 article the top 12 Ethical Hideaways, Harper’s Bazaar named Blue Reef Cottages, “Best for watching the midnight sun.” Hard to get to, but the magazine says it’s worth ‘the trip’ to enjoy these remote cottages offering spectacular beach views and gourmet food on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides. Each eco sensitive cottage comes with a sauna and Jacuzzi. “Glorious countryside,” a great restaurant is a 10 minute-walk away.
The whole of Harris is designated as a National Scenic Area and is administered by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Harris is ideal for observing some of the British Isles rarer species, such as otters, seals and eagles. There are many walking and cycling routes to enjoy, and the island’s beaches offer unforgettable views. Blue Reef Cottages are committed to an environmentally-friendly practice and since we opened in 2003, we have received the Gold Award from the Green Business Tourism Scheme. “We are proud to have achieved this award and we are committed to reducing the impact we have on the environment”.
At Blue Reef cottages our Green activities include – recycling waste, using low energy light bulbs, using local, fair trade and environmentally friendly cleaning products. Additionally we provide detailed information for those interested in cycling, walking and outdoor activities. We also encourage our guests to use local suppliers, who source locally and seasonally available foods. All this contributes to keeping money within the local economy and supports local businesses. There is plenty of information available in the cottage on local transport, walking and cycling(electric bikes are available for use) and every consideration is given to the needs of the tourist during their stay.
These provide a good wildlife habitat where ‘Machair’ flowers can be seen growing out of the roof during the summer months. A green roof can absorb up to 75% of the rainwater that falls on it, also the insulating properties of a turf roof enable it to effectively regulate the temperature inside the cottages.
Wind Turbine/Air Source
In October 2011 we installed two 5 kw wind turbines at the base of the hill behind the house – 300 meters away. One serves the house and one serves the cottages. We are probably one of the few people on Harris who now appreciate our windy weather! They are currently producing sufficient energy for all three properties. You can now relax in the sauna in the knowledge that it is not increasing our carbon footprint.
The Evance R9000 5kW wind turbine has been engineered to ensure maximum energy yield by generating energy at low wind speeds, and by running continuously and safely at high wind speeds – the most efficient 5KW turbine available. A key design criteria of the R9000 wind turbine was the visual aesthetics of the system. The result is a modern and visually pleasing wind turbine which has a minimum visual impact on its surroundings.
ISHGA – The name ishga is derived from the Gaelic word for water.
Extract from Ishga website – “The Outer Hebrides have some of the cleanest waters in the world where we sustainably hand harvest our seaweed to produce our 100% organic ingredient for our skincare range. Scientific tests have shown that Hebridean seaweed contains natural anti-oxidants that have anti-ageing properties which help protect the skin. As a result of our processes, the seaweed content in our products are extremely high. By harnessing the potent powers of the finest Scottish seaweed, ishga products work on every skin type. They really can make a positive difference to the health and appearance of your skin.
Fresh hand-harvested Hebridean seaweed is used to prepare the extracts and powders used in ishga skincare products. The extracts are produced using a low temperature extraction process and the powders are produced by gently drying and milling the seaweed. The harvesting methods used are both environmentally friendly and sustainable Fresh hand-harvested Hebridean seaweed is used to prepare the extracts and powders used in ishga skincare products. The extracts are produced using a low temperature extraction process and the powders are produced by gently drying and milling the seaweed. The harvesting methods used are both environmentally friendly and sustainable”
To compliment our environmental ethos, we at Blue Reef cottages will be phasing out the 30ml bottles of toiletries and replacing them with Isghga locally produced Bodywash and Shampoo.
From April 2019 we will have the Bodywash in our cottages and the Shampoo will be replaced once our existing stocks are used up. These are “high end products manufactured on the island with island ingredients“. We are delighted to be supporting this innovative and successful, award winning venture.