FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD

The health ben­e­fits of be­ing out­doors are well known, so tak­ing a break where you have ac­cess to glo­ri­ous coun­try­side is sure to make you feel fab­u­lous

Scottish Field - - CONTENTS -

SF's sub­scribers get back to na­ture on hol­i­days with ac­cess to the great out­doors

Macleod House & Lodge RE­VIEWED BY ZOË & ANDY BING FROM FOR­FAR

What­ever your po­lit­i­cal views, I don’t think you could fault Don­ald Trump for pick­ing the wild and beau­ti­ful Aberdeen­shire coast­line to site his golf course and ho­tel. Set on Me­nie Es­tate, MacLeod House is a for­mer vic­to­rian shoot­ing lodge which has been trans­formed into a watch­word for lux­ury.

Once we’d driven round the ‘Ver­saille’ type foun­tain at the front and squeezed in next to an As­ton Martin, we thought we had a pretty good idea of what to ex­pect. But this wasn’t quite the big, brash ex­pe­ri­ence we were an­tic­i­pat­ing; much more in­ti­mate, much less in­tim­i­dat­ing and less gilt.

As soon as we ar­rived, smil­ing staff were on hand to whisk our lug­gage up to our room which was spa­cious and ridicu­lously com­fort­able. The bed was so large and sump­tu­ous if you took a run at it you might not resur­face un­til next Tues­day. The shower, if fit­ted out with some fur­ni­ture, could prob­a­bly dou­ble as a spare room. All beau­ti­fully ap­pointed in mar­ble with white fluffy tow­els to match and, joy of joy, some Trump mono­grammed slip­pers.

We be­gan our evening with some de­li­cious, lo­cally dis­tilled gin and ton­ics in the renowned whisky bar and then moved on to the re­laxed but sump­tu­ously fur­nished din­ing room for the six-course taster menu. The loin of Ross-shire lamb with al­mond mousse, smoked shal­lot purée, pomme dauphin and leeks and red wine jus was a high­light for us. Af­ter a hearty break­fast, one fi­nal treat; a tour of the golf course. Beau­ti­ful rolling sand dunes and sea views. Hard to trump it re­ally.

West­side Wood­shed RE­VIEWED BY MADDIE SMITH & AN­DREW PRICE FROM ED­IN­BURGH

Al­though East­side Farm is only a short drive from Ed­in­burgh, it re­ally feels like an es­cape to the coun­try­side. Af­ter slowly driv­ing along the bumpy farm road to the West­side Wood­shed, you are deep in the heart of the Pent­lands with scenic views in every di­rec­tion. We ar­rived on a Fri­day evening to a tray of de­li­cious scones with but­ter and jam and quickly made our­selves at home in our lux­u­ri­ous sur­round­ings.

The Scandi-chic tim­ber cot­tage is dec­o­rated to an ex­cep­tion­ally high stan­dard with un­der­floor heat­ing and a welle­quipped open-plan kitchen. The white­washed wooden walls and glass doors mean it is bright and airy and al­lows beau­ti­ful views of the sur­round­ing coun­try­side. The cabin is ideally sit­u­ated as a jump­ing-off point to some of the best Pent­land hills walk­ing routes, but for those who pre­fer to re­lax, it comes equipped with an out­door wood-fired hot tub. It re­quires light­ing and main­tain­ing a fire to heat the wa­ter but ev­ery­thing you need is pro­vided along with a handy set of in­struc­tions.

It takes about three to four hours to get the tub to a suit­able tem­per­a­ture. My boyfriend was in his el­e­ment out in the sun, tend­ing the fire, beer in hand with only the sound of sheep and chick­ens for com­pany. He en­joyed it so much that by the time we tried to get into the tub, the wa­ter was more suit­able for cook­ing spaghetti than a re­lax­ing dip. How­ever, it wasn’t long un­til it cooled down to the per­fect tem­per­a­ture and we stayed out there for hours. It was the per­fect get­away.

EAST­SIDE COTTAGES, PENICUIK, MID­LOTH­IAN EH26 9LN www.east­side cottages.co.uk Prices from £550 per week

Balme­die, Aberdeen­shire AB23 8YE www.trump­golf scot­land.com/ ho­tel Prices from £125 per per­son

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