Northamptonshire couple win award for building dream cottage on their honeymoon island

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A couple from Northamptonshire who built themselves a dream home on a Scottish Island have won a top tourism award

Paul and Helen Honeywell, from near Spratton, have been presented with a 5* Quality Assurance self-catering award by Visit Scotland for their luxury cottage, Oran na Mara, located on the Isle of Harris.

The award recognises the property’s exceptional standards having taken two-and-a-half years to build.

The couple fell in love with the location after visiting the island for their honeymoon in 1997.

Mr Honeywell said: “Building the house was the realisation of a dream. Me and my wife wanted something more permanent on Harris.

“We didn’t want to build a regular square house. We wanted something that was in sync with the environment and more sympathetic with that spectacular, unique part of the world.”

Oran na Mara, gaelic for ‘Song of the Sea’, has many special features, including themed rooms inspired by the surrounding areas and a rowing boat-themed bathroom. The bath is an actual boat and the shells creating the wall border were collected from the local beach.

Once built, the couple held an open event for people to have a look at the property. Paul said: “Residents’ reactions were really positive too. We had an open afternoon when the house was finished and more than 100 people turned up.

“They had seen the house being built and they were delighted with the finished product.”

Paul and Helen are not living in the cottage at the moment but that is their plan in the future. Paul said: “We are renting the cottage for the time being, however when the time comes we would like to retire there.”

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