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   Writing Retreat  



Solus Or is currently closed to guests. Despite the loosening of the lockdown restrictions, we feel that the social distancing requirements still applying in Scotland would prevent us from providing the level of hospitality, service and welcome that our guests expect. Our intention is that we will reopen as soon as we feel it's safe and practical to do so, and we still plan to reschedule any postponed retreats to a future date.  We'll make further announcements as events develop. 

As many of you will have seen, over the past months we've run a series of virtual retreats that you can join from the comfort of your own homes and we'll continue to do this while we remain closed. Sadly, we won't be able to provide our usual food or views (except through the odd photograph!) but we hope to offer an enjoyable and productive way of passing the time. Details of our next virtual retreat are given below. 


Solus Or is a writing retreat established by Helen and Mike Walters in the Scottish Highlands. Helen is a well-known short-story writer, columnist and tutor, who has contributed regular columns to Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum. Mike is better known as the crime-writer Alex Walters and is the author of thirteen published novels.

The retreat is based in our home in the Black Isle in the Highlands, set in a spectacular location with views over the Cromarty Firth and Ben Wyvis. It's a tranquil spot but also very accessible - close to Inverness Airport (with flights to many UK airports), Inverness and Dingwall railway stations (with the Caledonian Sleeper running from London to Inverness), and the A9 and North Coast 500 . We can arrange transport from the airport or stations. 


We currently have five well-appointed retreat rooms, all of which have either en-suite facilities or an immediately adjacent bathroom. All our retreat rooms have private balconies which offer the same views out over Cromarty Firth and the mountains. We also have a self-contained flat available (with bedroom, sitting/writing room, kitchenette and shower room) for those seeking a more independent retreat  - more details soon.


We have extensive and private gardens for those seeking inspiration outdoors and, if you’re looking to relax after a long day’s writing, we even have a sauna and steam shower.

We run a mix of scheduled taught/structured retreats (led by ourselves and guest tutors), private group retreats, and individual retreats. If you wish to visit with a group of friends or colleagues or simply come by yourself, we’ll be happy to accommodate your needs. All retreats will be fully catered to enable you to give maximum focus to your writing.



Our retreat rooms are all themed around famous authors - some Scottish, some less so. We can offer you the choice of the Brontë room, the Conan Doyle room, the Robert Louis Stevenson room, the John Buchan room or the Agatha Christie room. Three of the rooms have en-suite facilities, while the other two have an immediate adjacent bathroom. 



Taught Retreats


We have a schedule of taught retreats over the year, led by Helen, Mike and a range of invited guest tutors. These are typically structured to offer a mix  of taught input, one to one critiques and feedback, and free writing time. 

Group Retreats


If you'd like to come and use our facilities with a group of fellow writers, we'll be delighted to accommodate you. We can provide all catering, leaving you free to write, share ideas or simply socialise. Retreats can be as long or short as you wish, and we're happy to be flexible to meet your needs. We can also design customised taught retreats if the group has a particular interest or focus.

Individual Retreats


If you wish to come by yourself just to get away and write, we can accommodate you for as long (or short) as you wish. We can provide the catering you require to focus on your writing, privacy when you want it, and some sociability when you don't! If you'd like feedback or input on your work or to discuss writing issues, we'll be happy to help. 



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For private individual or group retreats, we charge £105 pppn for the en-suite rooms and £95pppn for rooms without en-suite facilities. This is based on single occupancy (although three of our rooms are doubles). 
Taught retreats are priced as a package, depending on the nature and length of the retreat. 
We can offer discounts for longer stays, double occupancy or for larger group retreats. 
We normally ask for a 10% deposit to secure the booking, with the balance payable two weeks before arrival. 



For all individual, group and taught retreats, we provide full-board catering including:

Breakfast - with the Full Scottish available along with a good selection of cereals, porridge, fruits and pastries

Lunch - typically home-made soup and a selection of savouries, local cheeses and cold meats

Dinner - a three course meal to suit participants' dietary requirements and preferences. 

We aim to provide high quality home cooking, using local produce where possible to take full advantage of our Highland location. 

We can accommodate most dietary requirements if you advise us in advance. 

Our retreat rooms all have tea and coffee making facilities, with tea, fresh and instant coffee, fresh milk, biscuits and a few surprises. 

Our bathrooms and shower rooms are stocked with a good selection of toiletries, fluffy towels, and some rogue rubber ducks. 

We offer free wifi throughout the house (though happy to withhold the password if you want to avoid distractions!). 

The retreat rooms each contain a well-stocked bookshelf including books by and about the themed authors as well as a selection of general fiction, and there are innumerable books scattered around the rest of the house. You're welcome to borrow and read any of our books, and we're happy to sell many of them for a nominal amount if you'd like to take them away - please just ask us!

Guests are free to make use of our extensive gardens to work, relax or just take a walk. At the front, we have a furnished decking area and lawn offering views over Cromarty Firth and Ben Wyvis. At the rear, there is a a large, secluded wooded area. In the summer, we can take advantage of the outdoor areas as teaching or writing spaces. 

At the end (or the beginning) of a long day's writing, you can also make use of our sauna and steam shower for additional relaxation. Oh, and our three cats are also available for therapeutic cuddling!



A NEW PROGRAMME OF RETREATS WILL BE PUBLISHED AS SOON AS WE ARE ABLE TO REOPEN - PLEASE KEEP WATCHING THIS SPACE AND OUR FACEBOOK PAGE (https://www.facebook.com/solusorwritingretreat/). In the meantime, details of our next virtual retreat are given below. 


Novel Writing Retreat - Friday 18 September to Sunday 20 September.

Are you writing, revising or wanting to start writing a novel?

This weekend retreat will provide exercises and activities to help you

with whatever stage of novel writing you are at.

The retreat will cost £25.

This will cover all handouts, feedback on exercises throughout the weekend,

and a full critique of a piece of work of up to 2,500 words.

For more details, please contact us as shown under contact details below. 



“A fantastic atmospheric and beautiful setting totally conducive to firing the imagination to produce the best written/creative work”