Last summer I had a yearning to travel after being constrained by the first lockdown. As soon as we could, we made plans to go to Scotland. We have great friends, Marion and Henry, who live in Aberfeldy, Perthshire, and we knew the had an AirBnb, Kerrycroy, next door to their own property. What better way to reconnect with good pals and have our own home base for a few days.
Perched high above the town of Aberfeldy, their cottage proved to the best place for a bit of R&R. If we hadn’t planned to be out in the fresh air to do some walking, I think Dougie and I would have happily sat all day on the comfy chairs in the living room, looking out at the view from the huge picture window. Bird tables and feeders surround the property so we spent many hours just watching the local wildlife. All manner of tits and finches came to the garden, along with red squirrels and pheasants.
Once we were able to tear ourselves away from our favourite room with a view, the rest of the property was warm, comfortable and spacious. The main bedroom can be configured as a king size double bed or two singles. There’s another lovely twin room available too. The colour scheme is calming, with gorgeous fleece rugs to tickle your toes by the bed each morning. The kitchen is kitted out with everything you need: dishwasher, coffee machine, washing machine, microwave etc plus plenty of cutlery and crockery. Free WiFi included and there’s even a charging point for everyone’s phones. The bathroom is very contemporary, designed as a wet room. In fact the whole property is very accessible: once you’ve reached the house by car, everything else is on the flat so it’s ideal for wheelchair use.
Kerrycroy is ideally situated for walkers. There are 30 acres of woodland above the property to explore, plus several marked routes on the surrounding hillside. Other walks in the area take you along the River Tay to the lakeside village of Kenmore where you can buy provisions (try the homemade fudge!) at the super Mains of Taymouth Courtyard Shop.
If you don’t want to take the car to reach Aberfeldy, the walk to the town centre is a simple one: down the track, then across the golf course. It seemed very odd to us to saunter over the fairways while people were playing but I gather it’s perfectly permissible because of Scotland’s Right to Roam policy: you just have to be observant and listen for any shouts of ‘Fore!”
Once in town, those keen to continue their exercise can head to the Birks of Aberfeldy, a circular walk through the woodlands up to the Falls of Moness. Just off the main street, it’s incredible to be so close to nature.
While Aberfeldy is a great base for walkers and climbers it also has the added advantage of being a super little town in itself. There are plenty of independent shops and cafes in the town and surrounding villages. We made a beeline for The Watermill, a previous UK Independent Bookshop of the Year. As well as the books, there’s a lovely cafe, a floor of art plus, next door, Homer, a chic homeware shop.
For lunch one day we picked up scrummy flatbreads from a new eatery, Piece. I love this name, as the Scottish word ‘piece’ refers to your lunch, usually a sandwich of some kind. So this little takeaway is very aptly-named.
Back at Kerrycroy, there’s yet another tick in the box for its location within staggering distance of the local pub, the Ailean Chraggan. A regular for locals, it was an idyllic spot to sit outside for our evening meal on one of the nights, with our friends. Haggis bon-bons, my favourites, were on the menu.
I’d recommend visitors to the area try out the Highland Chocolatier in the nearby village of Grandtully. If you have a taste for luxurious chocolate, it’s a must. Iain Burnett, the Highland Chocolatier in the name, trained under master chocolatiers and is famous for his exquisite velvet truffles. In this tiny village in Perthshire everyone is welcome to indulge in some very serious chocolate consumption. We hadn’t booked in advance but were given a table in the ‘chocolate lounge’ – Willy Wonka, eat your heart out! We chose a couple of truffles each to try, together with two special hot chocolate drinks.
We couldn’t have picked a better place to start our Scottish road trip. Perthshire is a great favourite of ours as there’s always so much to do in the area. But on this particular trip, our AirBnB accommodation on the hillside above Aberfeldy was the icing on the cake…or marshmallow on the hot chocolate.
I think our friends might well have to put up with us on a regular basis – there’s a comfy sofa with our name on it and a picture window with a view that I could never tire of seeing.
To find out more about Kerrycroy and booking via AirBnb visit their website, www.kerrycroy.com