How we built a yurt... with a little (a lot of) help.

It’s true. We built a yurt. But we certainly didn’t build it alone. And it certainly didn’t happen overnight.

Here’s what happened…

Last year, when we first had the idea to take over Kayak Cape Breton, we knew we wanted to create unique lodgings for adventurous travellers. We wanted to make sure that no two accommodations on our property were the same, and that everyone who stayed with us had enough land around them that they never had to see another soul if they didn’t want to.

So, when the time came to decide our first project, our bearded boss, Matt, took the lead. A few web searches (and a few glasses of wine) later, Matt discovered Little Foot Yurts and fell in love with their ideals, approach, and their product. So, he got the ball rolling.

Look how happy our yurt looks, up in its treehouse!

Look how happy our yurt looks, up in its treehouse!

The story behind how Alex and the Little Foot Crew ( sounds like a prog rock band from the early eighties) craft and create their yurts is pretty cool. They grow the wood, shape it, treat it, and assemble the yurts with as little hardware as possible. In fact, when Alex pulled up to Kayak Cape Breton & Cottages in his truck, the materials only took up about 1/3 of the back of his truck. But that’s jumping ahead.

Each year Little Foot only builds as many yurts as they wood they grow will allow. This year, for example, they built five yurts. And of those five, they kept keeping four of them. Lucky for Kayak Cape Breton, that we got the only yurt they released into the wild.

After some back and forth, we decided on the features we wanted, and the plan was set in motion. All we had to do was wait for the yurt to be completed.

One of the best parts of staying in the yurt is the amazing view!

One of the best parts of staying in the yurt is the amazing view!

In the fall of 2018, we searched our 70 acres for the PERFECT site for the yurt. And we found it - at the end of Urquhart’s pond, nestled in the woods. Close enough to the boathouse that guests can run up for a shower or grab a kayak, but far enough that you really feel like you’re away from it all.

With the site cleared just in time for winter, we had to play the waiting game until Spring when we could get to work again.

Winter brought its own challenges. The winter of 2018/2019 brought some pretty epic storms and the water levels in the pond got higher than they had been in decades. In fact, a depressing Christmas stroll around the property had us rethinking the entire Kayak Cape Breton plan… but luckily we stuck with it!

Cut to: April 2019. Conditions were clear enough that work could begin. It was time to build a platform for our yurt!

The platform had to be high enough to offer a great view, but not so high that you feel like you’re in a tree house (don’t worry… we have a tree house on our wish list over the next few years). We decided on about four feet tall and about 18 by 16 feet. This size means the yurt takes up a good chunk of platform, but there is still room for a couple of comfy chairs and tables.

And the view from those chairs? Perfection.

Muskoka chair and footstool? Check!

Muskoka chair and footstool? Check!

A tiny sliver of the view from the yurt platform.

A tiny sliver of the view from the yurt platform.

With the platform built, it was YURT TIME!

On May 17, Alex pulled up in his LFY truck and we transported the materials down to the site. The amazing thing was that all of the yurt pieces only took up about 1/3 of the back of a pickup truck. We were pretty amazed, but it makes sense because yurts are designed to be nomadic shelters, carried around from place to place. Our won’t be travelling very far, but the ingenuity, and clever crafting were still impressive!

On the day the yurt was delivered, there was a bit of rain, but nothing that would stop us from making our KCB yurt dreams come true! With the help of KCB founder, Eberhart Witt, Doug, Matt, Mike, Aaron, Katie, Rylan and Hobo the dog, we got to work!

First step was erecting the door. Then unfolding the accordian-style wooden walls. Then, we had to tie the wall pieces together. Then tie the walls to the door. Then we had to make sure the walls were evenly spaced.

One of the amazing things is that the yurt was built… and assembled… almost entirely without hardware. Just ropes, carefully crafted tapered ends, slots, and gravity!

Then, like the royalty it is, the yurt got its crown.

Then the rest of the crown supports were slotted in.

Then it was time for canvas. And more canvas. And a belt... and more canvas. This thing is weatherproof and incredibly durable… and did we mention it was all HAND CRAFTED. Littlefood Yurts, we stan!

Alex told us that once we got good at it, one person alone would be able to raise a yurt in about an hour. Clearly, we are NOT good at it yet. And we had a lot to learn along the way. But after about four hours, we had a yurt!

We were all pretty hyped about our new structure!

Then it REALLY started to rain… and our festivities were cut short… but the very next day, you better believe we came back to check out the fruits of our labour.

And, of course, we were in love.

Next up, we had to furnish the yurt and make sure it had all the comforts visitors might need.

By early June, the yurt was ready for guests and had its first bookings… and the reviews have been GREAT!


If you are interested in renting the yurt, here’s what you can look forward to:

  • 12 feet of glorious, handcrafted comfort

  • a comfy new double bed with snuggly sheets, blankets and towels

  • gorgeous views of Urquhart’s pond

  • comfy deck chairs

  • a picnic table and barbecue

  • a fire pit

  • an outhouse

  • solar powered LED lights to create the perfect nighttime ambience

  • easy access to the boathouse where you can use the washroom, shower, or rent canoes and kayaks

  • a quick walk to our private access beach with hundreds of metres of beach where you can choose to swim in either the Bras D’Or Lake or our spring fed freshwater pond (sure, you can’t see the bottom, but it gets as warm as bathwater in the summer)

  • and more!