Ten of the best Scottish getaways
Country sports take us to some truly incredible places, and this is especially true when fishing, stalking or shooting in Scotland. From heather-clad hills to Highland lochs, it's a special place – that much is for sure. And it's made all the more special by the plethora of fine sporting accommodation – where sportsmen and women can relax, indulge and share their stories at the day's end. Here we take a closer look at 10 of the best...
1. Abbotsford’s Hope Scott Wing
Internationally renowned as an iconic stopping-off point on the Tweed, what’s perhaps less well-known is that visitors can now stay at Abbotsford in five-star luxury. Beautifully styled in a blending of the Scott Collection and modern design, the seven-bedroom wing comfortably accommodates 14 people (with up to three well-behaved dogs welcome, too!). It is predominantly self-catered, but flexible, award-winning catering can easily be arranged.
With 110 acres of grounds and woodlands, exclusive access to stunning walled gardens, three salmon and trout fishing beats, plus an impressive range of country pursuits all at hand – from shooting and stalking to championship golfing or hill-walking – you will never run out of things to do.
But don't just take our word for it – read the reviews left by guests...
“Scottish crown jewel discovered!” – Alistair T.
“Although we did make the Melrose Sevens, our greatest pleasure was simply the privilege of being at Abbotsford. Our biggest decision was in which room to have the next drink. One of my friends, who works on special projects for the late Duke of Westminster, reckoned he’d had his best night's sleep in years due to the peace and tranquillity of the place. I have no doubt he will be booking in for future shooting/fishing parties. A magical experience which we’ll all treasure as one of the best,” – Mark H.
The Abbotsford Trust
Tel. +44 (0)1896 752043
2. The Peat Inn
The Peat Inn, by St. Andrews, dates back to the 1700s. Today, it is a luxury five-star restaurant with rooms in peaceful rural surroundings. Renowned for its warm welcome and casual elegance, guests can enjoy exquisite meals in a setting full of character.
Michelin-starred chef proprietor Geoffrey Smeddle uses the finest Scottish ingredients to create delicious and contemporary cuisine. The restaurant comprises three dining areas, creating an intimate setting for a divine dining experience. The award-winning wine list is something to behold with over 400 specially selected wines, and last year won the AA restaurant guide wine list of the year.
The Residence provides luxurious accommodation with views overlooking the picturesque gardens and countryside – heavenly for a quiet getaway. Each suite has a double bedroom, bathroom and individual sitting room where you can relax and enjoy your fine breakfast in privacy.
The ultimate blend of comfort and luxury. The Peat Inn is the perfect setting for a Scottish escape for those who have a passion for exceptional food, fine wines and tranquillity.
The Peat Inn
By St Andrews
Tel. +44 (0)1334 840206
3. Fernie Castle Treehouse
Perched in six lofty sycamores, this suite appears to grow out of the trees. Entry is via a flight of stairs to a fairy light-festooned balcony where double doors with striking stained glass lead you into the bedroom.
Climbing up what appears to be the inside of a hollow tree, one emerges into an octagonal bathroom with walls painted twilight blue and a frieze of fairies who flit among trees overhanging pools of water. The ceiling is awash with stars and a pale moon shines onto grazing unicorns – in the centre sits a huge slipper bath under a chandelier of leaves and flowers.
Near St Andrews
Tel. +44 (0)1337 810381
4. East Haugh hotel
Located in the heart of Perthshire, East Haugh hotel has a lot to offer both the fieldsports enthusiast and the food lover. It is the sort of place where you feel relaxed and comfortable from the minute you arrive – a quality some luxury hotels fail to uphold. Enhanced by the comforting familiarity of walls adorned with mounted salmon and sporting art, the smell of woodsmoke and crackle of open fires and the background chime of a grandfather clock, the character and atmosphere of the place is exactly as a sporting hotel should be.
Located within a stone's throw of some of Perthshire's finest sporting estates, and with well-established estate partners, there is a wide range of sporting packages available to guests including walked-up and driven pheasant, partridge and grouse, deer stalking, and salmon fishing on the River Tay. And there is more than enough space for large parties, with 13 well-furnished bedrooms and sublime dining.
East Haugh Hotel
Tel. +44 (0)1796 473121
5. Ben Damph Estate
Ben Damph Estate has a lot to offer those who love outdoor pursuits. With 14,500 acres of land, it contains an awe-inspiring mixture of magnificent mountains and glens, sea lochs and inland lochs, with views constantly changing in colour and mood. Guests can indulge in ample stalking, rough shooting, hill walking and – in particular – fly fishing.
At its heart sits the the Log House, a handcrafted construction made entirely of 100-year-old Scots pine, Douglas fir and European larch. Comfort and seclusion are granted as soon as you walk through its doors.
There is an additional lodge, Thrail House, situated on the banks of the estate's intricate salmon river, The Thril, which flows into the Torridon River near where it meets the sea at Upper Loch Torridon. It has some fantastic pools, and decent salmon have been caught on this stretch.
The estate's pièce de résistance, however, is Loch Damph. At over three and a half miles long, it is the largest inland loch on the estate and can boast some of the best brown trout fishing in Scotland.
The Log House
Tel. +44 (0)1241 830258
6. Ardtalla Novar Estate, Ross-shire
Sitting at the heart of the 20,000-acre sporting estate, is the Ardtalla building – the conversion of the original 18th-century stable square was the efficacious opus of owners Ronald and Erica Munro Ferguson. Inside, unabashed comfort is a given. Little wonder that the house also plays host to numerous weddings and parties throughout the year. Nine en suite bedrooms ensure space for a large party, which, given the huge variety of sport available with rod and gun, is just as well.
Adjacent to the building is Novar's immaculate five-acre walled garden, complete with tennis court and croquet lawn, where much of the produce for the lodge is grown. In addition to Ardtalla, Novar also has three smaller holiday cottages from which to explore the estate.
Within just a handful of miles, there is so much sport to be had; from stalking on the hill, walked-up or driven shooting, to fishing for salmon on Novar’s beats on the River Alness. But, if it is not sport you are after, there are many local monuments and castles to visit and miles of trails to be trekked.
Tel. +44 (0)1349 831062
7. Rua Reidh Lighthouse
Rua Reidh Lighthouse stands at the entrance to Loch Ewe, at one of the most dramatic locations on the north-west coast of Scotland, with stunning views across the Minch to the Isle of Skye, the Shiant Isles and the Outer Hebrides.
Built in 1912 by the famous Stevenson family, Rua Reidh is still a working lighthouse, but the original Keepers' Quarters are now converted to a comfortable home and a three-bedroom self-catering apartment sleeping five.
Roger and Tracy McLachlan
Rua Reidh Lighthouse
Tel. +44 (0)1445 771263
8. Soval Lodge
Soval Estate is situated on the Isle of Lewis, the most northerly of the Western Isles, so it takes some getting to. But it's worth the journey.
Soval Lodge sits on the side of a hill on its own 500-acre farm one mile from the road and commands uninterrupted sweeping views of the sea loch and the Harris hills beyond. It consists of seven bedrooms, six bathrooms and a number of other accessible rooms with panoramic views such as a conservatory and cosy living room. And the dining – breakfast through to a three-course dinner – is top-notch, too.
The estate provides some excellent sporting opportunities. From salmon and sea trout fishing on the whole of the Laxay River, and wild brown trout fishing on over 100 lochs, to walked-up snipe and grouse shooting over pointers on their 75,000 acres of moorland or red deer stalking on 50,000 acres, there’s something for everyone.
Tel. +44 (0)7870 675342
9. Dryburgh Abbey Hotel
Set within 11 acres of private grounds, the four-star hotel is adjacent to the majestic Dryburgh Abbey – nominally founded in 1150 and burial place of Sir Walter Scott. Inside the baronial country house, guests are able to enjoy an indoor pool and refined comfort in all of the 38 bedrooms.
The hotel is neatly positioned a 20-second walk from the Lower Dryburgh beat, a stretch of river with impressive salmon and sea trout catch averages year on year. It's so close, in fact, that you can dine with a view of the riffles. The hotel also provides packed lunches, and has flexible meal times to suit anglers. But you'd be foolish to miss the incredible cuisine streaming from the AA Rosette restaurant.
There is a well-appointed gunroom for the secure storage of guns and cartridges, and sporting access to 100,000 acres with a number of quality estates providing rampant variety in terms of countryside and quarry.
And if you have a dog, bring it along. The hotel has also been awarded Dog Friendly Hotel of the Year a number of times, and also played host to the Spaniel Championship in January, 2015.
Dryburgh Abbey Hotel
Tel: +44 (0)1835 822261
10. West Coast Game Cruise
A very different sporting getaway, the West Coast Game Cruise provides incomparable stalking, fishing and shooting opportunities through the use of unique, charming and traditional wooden fishing vessels – Glen Tarsan or Glen Massan. This adventure offered by Charles Brownlow Ltd, in partnership with Majestic Line, takes you off the beaten track to experience the true wilderness and beauty of Argyll and the Hebrides.
Tel: +44 (0)7805 250131