Susie Clark and her partner enjoy a relaxing weekend break in Kenmore
Like every weekend away, work and family contrived to delay departure. Two nights at the Kenmore Hotel Lodges would have been fabulous if we had only managed to leave after lunch. As it was, it was after five when we set off in the dark and rain!
Reaching Kenmore at night is a real treat; a long, tree-lined route, a sharp right hand bend and then a sudden pool of light that is the village at the end of Loch Tay, up the short hill and there – the picturesque Kenmore Hotel.
You can imagine generations finding this little haven on a cold, winter’s evening!
We were given directions to drive the car round to our lodge; The Boat House.
We were met there and guided round the corner of an old stone cottage. Inside, our first impression was of overwhelming heat.
Who would have thought that an unoccupied Scottish retreat could be so warmly Mediterranean! Although the entrance was a little cramped for our bags and dirty boots, it was well organised with a huge boot tray.
Past the utility room and downstairs shower-room we found the most fabulous kitchen, dining and living room.
Sumptuous sofas were separated from an inviting family dining table by a central chimney column. Against its back, to the kitchen and dining areas, was a bespoke sideboard, well equipped with plenty of storage.
A wood burning stove faced the living area, invitingly prepared for action! Upstairs, we picked the most luxurious bedroom (actually they were all luxurious), with the dormer window overlooking the river – not that there was much to see in the dark!
Across at the hotel, the dining room was full of parties and couples. The menu was tantalising which made choosing difficult. We shared everything, from the scallops and quail’s eggs to the steaks and puddings.
It would be wrong to single out a particular dish – check the website.
We loved everything we tried – and we really tried! Although we have both now forgotten what the house red was, we can recommend it!
Back to our own little castle, it didn’t take long before we were experimenting with the wood burning stove – and peeling off layers whilst hunting for the thermostat for the underfloor heating. With full tummies, alarming heat and inviting sofas, it was inevitable we would fall asleep. Even in the early hours when we woke and dragged ourselves upstairs, the cottage was toastily cosy.
Our dormer windows open to the clear air, we were greeted to a second Highland welcome on Saturday morning – a chorus of ducks living on the riverbank below us. Neither of us are breakfast people so we opened the French window onto our little patio and watched the ducks squabbling.
The path between the river and the lodges (daylight revealed we were in the middle of a row of three) is clearly a popular walking and cycle route. We felt quite smug with our ample mugs of real coffee; the kitchen is well stocked, including cafetière!
There is oodles to do around Kenmore. Although the weather was not on our side, a drive round Loch Tay proved inviting for photography and bird watching.
The rocks at Falls of Docherty were a geological fascination. It was the first time we had been there without children and so focus no longer had to be on preserving the life! The shapes worn out by billions of gallons of water seemed so precise it is hard to believe that Mother Nature has created this amazing waterfall. Ultimately, we spent time watching crows build their nests in the tall trees on the island which breaks the river’s approach to the bridge at Killin – and taking photographs.
A gentle run back to Kenmore took in the old yew tree at Fortingall Church. Well worth a visit, like almost everything we did over the weekend, our refrain was “we should come back and do this again when we have more time.”
A long lie on Sunday morning was inevitable then a jog over the bridge and down the forest path on the far side of the river which we had seen from our bedroom window. There had been plenty of rain and it was not easy going under foot but now the sun was shining and the views were spectacular.
The ducks were inevitable companions down that side of the river and unexpected monuments and wildlife were real treats. Red squirrels were abundant but shy, offering the perfect excuse to stop jogging! The only sadness was that the bridge linking the far side of the river to ours was under repair and so a circular route is not currently possible.
We were reluctant to leave The Boat House. The weekend had been wonderful. It’s great to pretend for a while – even when you are adults – and we thoroughly enjoyed pretending to be very special people. Well done to Gillian, Ross and the team at Kenmore Hotel. If there is any criticism it is that we could not work out how to turn down the heat – but we could have asked. Next time we will definitely enjoy self-catering – the quality and thoughtfulness of the kitchen was just too inviting!
The Boat House can accommodate up to eight people. Prices start at £1125 for seven nights viawww.kenmoreluxurylodges.co.uk