They often say in life “it is not what you know but who you know” and that is how I came across an invitation to stay in the stunning newly completed Wildcat Lodge close to Ruthven Barracks near Kingussie. A beautifully furnished lodge, Wildcat is part of a 200 year old coach house and steading, which once served as a local country house. This wonderful steading was completely refurbished in 2015 into 6 semi- detached luxury lodges. The grassed courtyard area at the entrance gives a welcoming feel and a hot tub and BBQ sit on the private patio area at the rear overlooking the open moor and woodlands.
Arriving at the door there was a really quirky wood pecker door knocker and this was a real taste for things to come. A lovely warm atmosphere greeted us as we entered and the kids explored the rooms with shrieks of excitement when they spotted the hot tub outside on the patio.
The kitchen felt like the centre of the home with an antique bakers table to sit round. The ‘Sportsman’s lounge was just off the kitchen featuring tweed cuddle chairs, a 50inch TV, sound system, log burner and giant sized games of dominoes and knots and crosses which our wee boy loved. The larger lounge at the other end of the lodge had a dining table and two stylish almost retro looking leather sofas to relax on and watch the other 50inch TV. Netflix is available to sign into on the tv’s for the tele-addicts out there. Little features such as a collection of Scottish Field, cookery books and the local What’s On guides would keep you in reading materials for days and were a really nice touch.
With three very comfortable, beautifully decorated bedrooms and a further sofa bed in one of the large sitting rooms (the lodge boasts two) the lodge sleeps 8. If for once you are lucky enough to get the sofa bed you can wake up to a beautiful room with a log burning stove. During the recent wild weather you could get your supplies in and stay for a week with all the comforts you could need just venturing out for the odd walk.
There was a gallery space at the top of the stairs outside the bedrooms where you could escape for some quiet time and to sit and view the artwork including a large wildcat stalking along which kept you in check as you went up and down the stairs.
Dogs are catered for too with a wicker bed in the Sportsman’s Lounge if you can keep them from hogging the front of the fire!
It is funny how kids can suddenly get dressed/undressed so fast when they want to go swimming or something and it was no surprise that no sooner than we had arrived and got settled they were in their swimmers ready to jump in the hot tub which was all ready to go at the perfect temperature. They loved how the coloured bulbs shone through the water as they sat outside all cosy breathing in the cold air.
It being the weekend before Burn’s Night we felt the need for a once a year feed of local haggis, neeps and tatties which all the kids tucked into exclaiming it really was pretty tasty. The grown-ups then enjoyed a wee nightcap of the local distillery’s finest SPEY Tenne Single Malt Whisky and then Speyside Distillery’s newest product the Beinn Dubh. Speyside Distillery sits within sniffing distance just across the fields looking towards the Cairngorms.
Once the kids were all tucked up in their beds and fast asleep it was our turn to get in the hot tub and sit back, gossip and enjoy the cold winter air with the lights of Kingussie in the distance across the fields.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a stay at Wildcat Lodge. It has everything you would expect and then bucket loads more for an escape from reality.
Wildcat Lodge is close to the Badenoch Way and RSPB Insh Marshes so a great base for walkers and bird watchers. It is a great lodge for exploring the Cairngorms National Park and all which that offers. See more at www.visitcairngorms.com
For more information on Wildcat Lodge see http://greatnorthlodges.co.uk/our-lodges/sleeping-up-to-8/wildcat-lodge
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