Glen Affric EstateFirst Look – Glen Affric: Run for the Hills
While the Scottish Highlands are famous for their forested beauty, in the olden days of epic battle, they weren’t really known for their hospitable living conditions. Have you seen Braveheart? Enough said. Yes, the Highlands were a last resort for the Scottish, but today there is the Glen Affric Estate. Think of it as a bucket list destination for the impossible to impress. You’ll be the hunter, not the hunted, at this revamped Victorian estate set atop a rocky knoll overlooking Loch Affric in the middle of a 10,000-acre nature reserve. (There’s another 10,000 acres right next door at your disposal, too.) Brought to you by the owners of slice-of-heaven Eden Rock in St. Barths, it’s not exactly lacking in the luxe department, either. But here, instead of tanning and rosé, it’s all about deer hunting between serious sessions of whisky tasting. Though there is a lakeside beach if tanning is on your agenda.
Restored to a level of glory that you’ve come to expect from the owners of Villa Rockstar, Glen Affric Estate’s eight-bedroom lodge and three additional cabins are a hidden respite in the wilderness. The owners fell in love with the property at first sight, much like you will, and beyond the cozily furnished bedrooms (done up in tweed, tartan, and antiques like crystal heirloom chandeliers), they’ve created a plush downstairs sitting area, reading room, dining area and whisky room. That’s right, an entire room is dedicated to Scotland’s favorite spirit. And since hearty appetites are encouraged in this neck of the woods, there’s also an in-house team to cater all your meals, including afternoon tea and picnics. You want pheasant fricassee, just say the word. They happen to have a provision of pheasants on hand.
The estate – rentable only as a whole – is the ultimate spot for an all-out adventure-slash-hunting getaway with your entourage. One day you’ll be game shooting, scull racing across the lake, and gorging on juicy venison by the light of a roaring fire. The next, you’ll be wild brown trout fishing, kayaking, windsurfing, and horseback riding. Basically, if it involves sport and the great outdoors, chances are you can do it here. For rainy days – this is Scotland, after all – the lodge is equipped with a snooker table, board games, darts, table tennis, a cinema, and a gym. If there’s anything else you want, the team of at-your-service butlers will make it happen.
Start gathering your troops because it’s time to run for the Highland hills.
(Photos courtesy of Glen Affric Estate)