I recently saw a Facebook post that said, “My brain has too many tabs open”. That was exactly how I felt when we set off for our short break in the Highlands recently: I had just been told that we had 4 weeks to find a new home, pack and move; our own tenants were about to move out of the cottage that we rent out; and I had just been offered a new job. My brain was in overdrive with all the things I needed to organise and the chance to switch off at a log cabin in the Highlands for a couple of days couldn’t have come at a better time.
We stayed at Eagle Brae, a luxury eco self-catering resort located in Strathglass, between Glen Affric and Glen Strathfarrar (organised through EmbraceScotland and the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, who I work for). I have written about our stay in this blog post and for my own blog I have decided to write two posts on the trip; this one on Eagle Brae itself and part 2 on the local area (including Beauly and the aforementioned – breathtaking – glens).
Arriving at Eagle Brae
We stopped for lunch at Beauly (keep an eye out for part 2 with my suggestions for visiting) and then drove towards Eagle Brae on the A831, which follows the rivers Beauly and Glass. Strathglass is just stunning, I loved the layers of colours of the trees and hills. We saw the log cabins perched above us and stopped the car as we then caught sight of red deer at the bottom of the ridge next to us. Instead of pulling straight into Eagle Brae we drove a bit further down the road as we were early and the sun had decided to make an appearance. We drove just south of Cannich, getting our first glimpse of Glen Affric and this scenery is less than a 10 minute drive from Eagle Brae.
I hopped out to take some photos of the sea of trees, with its waves of purple and greens, and beautiful ancient pine trees (Glen Affric is a National Nature Reserve and National Scenic Area with one of the largest Caledonian pinewoods in Scotland).
The first thing I saw at Eagle Brae were the intricate wooden signs and then one of the log cabins as we rounded the corner, with its grass roof and immense red cedar logs. What beautiful buildings they are. We were greeted first by Kyla, a Bernese mountain dog and a lovely gentle giant, and then by owners Mike and Pawana (pronounced Pubna) who were so friendly and welcoming. Whilst I tried to take in the surroundings, find my camera and make sure the littles didn’t go straight into the duck pond or spill hot chocolate all over the reception, I was hit by the complete peacefulness of the surroundings. A rainbow suddenly appeared over a log cabin but I missed the photo opportunity, only capturing the ghost of its colours. It was impossible not to immediately fall in love.
We stayed in Buteo (which means buzzard in latin) and I just loved being cocooned in wood, especially with the lovely scent of the cedar. All the cabins are hand crafted using Norwegian techniques and it definitely is the most beautiful building in which I’ve stayed, inside and out.
The decorative touches
The care and detail that has gone into everything at Eagle Brae is quite remarkable. The gorgeous carved panels were hand crafted in the Himalayas (where Mike and Pawana met) and in Buteo they depicted Highland wildife, the Lewis Chessmen and Celtic knots – they are absolutely stunning. In our busy modern, digital world it is such a joy to be surrounded by the wood, and nature, and the beauty of hand crafted decoration.
All the textiles are hand woven and everything has been planned and finished to the highest standard. I also adored the little touches of home made elderflower cordial and lovely handmade soaps. In Buteo there is a carved badger and salmon within the walls and these were carved in Canada (the cabins are made by Pioneer Log Homes of British Colombia).
Our cabin looked out over the ridge with beautiful views over the glen below and we spent a great deal of time just soaking up the views, sitting in front of the wood-burning stove, watching the red deer and exploring the grounds. We even had a dusting of snow on the first morning which made it all even more magical – and added to the somewhat Scandinavian feel of it all. (Where better to hygge?!).
The red deer
Within an hour of settling into the log cabin we spotted a red deer stag wandering by the reception. How lovely to be able to watch these magnificent creatures at such close range, both for the children and us. I spent a lot of time trying to photograph the deer (oh, for a steadier hand!) and I even got to see some rutting.
The peaceful surroundings make a wonderful setting for a digital detox holiday and it is an ideal place to completely switch off. I left – rather reluctantly! – with my usually busy mind that bit quieter.
My stay at Eagle Brae was complimentary but the opinions and gushing in this post are completely my own – Eagle Brae not only recharged my batteries, but swept me off my feet.