First impressions matter. With a private road sweeping quarter of a mile down and up a valley, visitors have plenty of time to appreciate the splendour of Birniehill Farmhouse.
The house I’m visiting sits on the hilltop opposite, the sun glancing off its white walls. I turn off the remote rural lane I’m on, drive down a steeply sloping road – the farmhouse disappearing from view momentarily – then up the other side where I’m deposited on the driveway of Birniehill Farmhouse.
It’s nestled in the countryside between Glenfarg and Milnathort in Perth and Kinross.
Owner Alison Page steps out to greet me, while cat Humphrey immediately begins twisting himself between my legs, asking for affection.
Alison (51) and her husband Phillip (54) have lived there since 2011. The sprawling farmhouse was sympathetically extended in the 1990s and now has four large bedrooms over two wings.
At the heart of the home is the kitchen. An oil Aga casts a warming spell across the room, while Belfast sinks and granite work surfaces add to the quality.
The living/dining room is used mainly for formal occasions and has an open fire along with triple aspect windows. “It’s a fantastic room for getting friends and family together,” Alison says. “Especially at Christmas when we have a huge tree as a centrepiece.”
A more everyday room is the snug, which has a wood burning stove and is used for relaxing and watching television. Next door is Alison’s study, which has another wood burner and glazed doors out onto the patio.
Along with its secluded privacy, the views are one of Birniehill’s big selling points. Loch Leven glitters to the south, while the Lomond hills are to the east. Many rooms in the house have views over one or both of these landmarks.
Upstairs are four bedrooms, the master having its own bathroom and dressing area.
Birniehill surrounded by nearly three acres of grounds, split into lawn, terraces, vegetable garden, paddock, and a lovely slice of woodland in one corner, into which the couple have cut paths.
There’s a large stone barn, while a borehole provides water for the property.
According to Alison, the local farmer is willing to sell up to 100 acres surrounding the property, so anyone looking to run a smallholding from the farmhouse may be in luck.
The Pages received a pleasant surprise in the post around two years ago. “I got a letter from a man who had lived here as a young child,” she explains. “He sent me four photographs of the house his mother had taken during the winter of 1943 or 1944. It showed the house surrounded by snow with an outbuilding that has since been knocked down, chicken huts. Of course, it’s before the house was extended so you can see what it was like originally.
Alison is taking a career break while Phillip – a former game ranger in South Africa – works as an audiologist in Edinburgh.
Riding is Alison’s chief passion and she and Phillip have bought a smaller home in Falkland, closer to Ceres where she keeps her horses.
“I’ll certainly miss the view and the space here,” she says. “But it’s on the big side for just the two of us.”
Birniehill Farmhouse is on sale through CKD Galbraith for offers over £595,000.