Loch-ed in time at ho­tel with its own con­tem­po­rary art Andy Cronshaw

Finds a nice blend at The Four Sea­sons

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL -

THE Four Sea­sons Ho­tel in St Fil­lans, Perthshire, sits at the east­ern cor­ner of Loch Earn.

Be­cause of the way the ho­tel was built, many rooms stare out over the loch.

It’s a strik­ing scene that be­comes brood­ing un­der cloud and, al­though we vis­ited in the green­ery of sum­mer, I can imag­ine that it is even more spec­tac­u­lar in the win­ter.

Stand­ing knee high in the wa­ter just yards from the shore, next to a jetty, was a ‘sea­sonal in­stal­la­tion’ en­ti­tled Still, by an artist called Rob Mul­hol­land, and com­mis­sioned by An­drew Low – who is none other than the ho­tel owner.

‘Still’ is the fig­ure of a man who stares im­pla­ca­bly from the shore­line back to the land­scape as if rooted in the still­ness of the loch it­self. From any view in the ho­tel, the eyes are al­ways drawn to his mys­te­ri­ous gaze.

It’s telling that Mr Low has left his mark on the land­scape be­cause, al­though he was wasn’t around at the time we vis­ited, his pres­ence can be de­tected all over the Four Sea­sons.

Ex­ten­sive trav­els, es­pe­cially to the east, are doc­u­mented by pho­to­graphs hung here and there, while there are au­then­tic Ti­betan moun­tain coats hang­ing from the walls.

The ho­tel has a 70s feel, with decor that has a retro charm – even the room’s tele­phone is a bit old school. Sec­ond­hand books fill nooks and cran­nies and there’s a room filled with board games I re­mem­ber from my 70s child­hood such as Mas­ter­mind and Panic!

In the din­ing rooms it’s ob­vi­ous that Mr Low’s in­ter­ests ex­tend to the charms of French wine, and, along with the stan­dard menu and wine list, is a hand­writ­ten cat­a­logue of fine vin­tages.

The list in­cludes some no­table ex­am­ples of very fine Bordeaux, such as a Chateau La­tour Pauil­lac 1989, avail­able at lower prices than would be charged by a rare wine mer­chant.

Hap­pily the stan­dard list con­tains a good few half-bot­tles, which means you can chop and change for dif­fer­ent cour­ses with­out too much fi­nan­cial dis­tress.

For our meal we opted for the less el­e­vated heights of a tangy Ma­con-Vil­lages white and an el­e­gant Tus­can red from pro­ducer Anti­nori.

The wines were a lovely fit for dishes such as He­bridean King Scal­lops and chorizo or a prime fil­let of An­gus beef.

Ser­vice was ex­em­plary and the din­ing room, with its view across the loch, a plea­sure.

Need­less to say, the lo­ca­tion is the per­fect spring-board for High­land ac­tiv­i­ties such as walk­ing, climb­ing or sail­ing.

An in­for­ma­tion board close to the loch ad­vises that would-be swim­mers should speak to lo­cals about the shal­lower ar­eas.

Nearby is the Iron Age Pic­tish hill fort of Dun­durn and it is thought Saint Fil­lan, an Ir­ish mis­sion­ary, lived there. At the base of the hill is the mag­i­cal Allt Ghoinean burn, re­port­edly the same de­scribed in Sir Wal­ter Scott’s poem The Lady Of The Lake.

For the ad­ven­tur­ous, the near­est munro is Ben Vor­lich and the nearby scram­ble of sum­mit Stuc a’ Chroin. The peak, ap­par­ently gives far­reach­ing views across to the low­lands.

Head in the other di­rec­tions to the north and west of Loch Earn and things get wilder.

But with a three-yearold in tow, other des­ti­na­tions were sought.

Within 20 min­utes’ drive lies Auchin­gar­rich Wildlife Cen­tre.

A kids’ play cen­tre and minia­ture zoo, it’s the per­fect spot to let your wee bairns run free.

It boasts what I would es­ti­mate must be one of the finest views at such an es­tab­lish­ment with turfy moun­tains fill­ing the panorama.

●● Still by An­drew Mul­hol­land at Loch Earn and, in­set, the jetty that leads out to the lake

●● Scal­lops at the Four Sea­sons Ho­tel

●● The ‘tar­tan’ sheep

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.