WHERE AM I HEADING?
The Scottish Highlands are calling. The seven lodges of Eagle Brae perch on a hillside up a secluded track a few miles from the handsome riverside town of Beauly, with far-reaching views out over the valley of Strathglass.
WHAT WILL I FIND THERE?
Eagle Brae takes its commitment to the log cabin of popular imagination very seriously. Each of its lodges is a veritable festival of wood. The sturdy walls and staircases are hewn from the giant trunks of red cedars hand-crafted in British Columbia, and each celebrates the quirks of their natural state, retaining the hollows and branches of the trees from which they came. New, manmade additions come in the form of fish, eagles and deer carved into their surfaces. The terrace is also an all-wood affair, and is likely where you'll spend much of your time, endlessly staring at the landscape. The look may be ‘pioneer’ but the lifestyle most certainly is not; the cabins come with fully-equipped kitchens, Smart TVs, wifi, a wood-burning stove and underfloor heating. A welcome basket that includes whisky, Highland crackers, shortbread and Black Isle beer comes as standard, and venison burgers, pork and lamb are available to buy from the reception.
Peer out at any moment and you’ll very often come face-to-face with red deer, who descend from the surrounding forests to drink at the site’s pond. There are plenty of walking trails winding out from Eagle Brae, and local fishing trips, photo safaris and kayaking can be arranged too. Guests should take the advice of owners Pawanna and Mike and leave their hillside domain to drive to Glen Stathfarrar, a private valley that’s home to golden eagles and very few humans. The lodge will provide binoculars and Thermos flasks for the endeavour. For dinner, head to the Struy Inn a couple of miles from Eagle Brae; do not miss out the Wellington of haggis and Isle of Mull cheddar, and quite possibly the best chips in Scotland. (various price options, including two-person cabin £580 for two nights and six-person cabin £1,426 for one week; three new lodges are being built between May and November 2018, with a 20% discount on all cabins at this time; eaglebrae.co.uk)