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Our Journey

  • 1977 First visit to Harris
  • 2000Land purchased
  • 2012 Building begins
  • 2015 Òran na Mara completed

"A Fulfillment of the Dream for Both of Us"

Òran na Mara really is a dream brought to life. We’ve taken the time to expertly design the interior space; high domed ceilings flood with light during the day and make it warm and cosy at night.

We’ve come a long way from our first visit to Harris to the completion of this truly iconic house.

Every part of the house celebrates a different part of the culture of Harris” Jane Blanchard, Interior Designer 


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A Unique House with a Unique Story

Designing and building Òran na Mara has taken us on a wonderfully fulfilling journey. There have been plenty of challenges to overcome, but they’ve led to the creation of a beautiful house. We worked through many different plans over the years before settling on the unique design you see today. On the way, we made a commitment to using the finest local materials and traditional construction techniques. .

chapter one

The Dream

Our love affair with Harris began on our honeymoon in 1977. After 10 glorious, cloudless days watching spectacular sunsets blend into velvet nights, we were smitten.

chapter two

False Starts and Dead Ends

Having a vision and bringing it to life are very different things. Building a house on an island is not a challenge for the faint-hearted!

chapter three


Finding a way to turn the Òran na Mara dream into a reality comes one step closer. Chartered civil engineer Jonathan Bridge helps us move forwards.

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Every Challenge Takes us a Step Closer

When you’re building something that has never been built before, you encounter the unexpected every day. From blasting the foundations to finding the right materials for the thatch, each new challenge led us to a new solution. And to a gloriously unique luxury escape.

Balancing bespoke interior design that reflects the natural environment with our desire to create an amazing visitor experience inspired us through the build process. We hope the outcome inspires you too.

chapter four

Blasted Foundations!

It is surprising how much work (and money) goes into the ground. When you’re dealing with gneiss, the hardest rock on the planet, laying foundations is tricky.

chapter five

Walls and Roofs

A curved building is an extremely challenging thing to build. Add a thatched roof, crafted using traditional materials and techniques, and the challenges multiply. For more a more in depth look at the roof, Pasquill have written a blog


chapter six

Bringing the Outside In

We decided to work with an interior designer as it was obvious that this unique house needed to be considered holistically. What a great idea that was!

chapter seven

Creating the Experience

From the outset, it was our desire to create an amazing visitor experience. We began by defining the layout, then considered the construction and interior design.

Recent News

Keep up to date with Òran na Mara’s informative blog 

Dog friendly holiday

Dog friendly holiday

Dog friendly holidays mean that you can enjoy your time together with man’s best friend. It was many years before we had a dog of our own.  Poppy, a Norfolk Terrier, was born locally to us in Northamptonshire, and quickly became part of our family.  Dog Friendly...

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Mo Thompson Photography

Mo Thompson Photography

This blog is written by Mo Thompson, a brilliant photographer who loves Harris and has stayed at Òran na Mara a number of times. We hope you enjoy learning a bit more about how to take photos of the night sky.  Imagine a dark winter night, arriving at the ferry port...

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Island Light

Island Light

The Autumn heralds the longer nights for stargazing as well as fantastic light for photographers.   Dramatic seascapes, rainbows, clouds and shafts of light abound, bringing an ethereal beauty that will stir your soul and moments that you will remember for ever....

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