Royal Deeside self-catering brands to capitalise on demand for eco-friendly retreats this summer
- £¾ million investment builds upon previous success by Cairngorm Lodges & Cairngorm Bothies, with the generation of new jobs and new energy in to the area
As we look forward to a summer staycation season where getting “back to nature” will be to the fore, two green tourism brands based deep in the heart of ancient woodland in the Cairngorm National Park, are gearing up to re-open with a wider choice of unique properties.
Cairngorm Lodges, near Aboyne, in Royal Deeside, set within some of the finest Scots Pine Forest in the country, has offered five, individual, architecturally designed timber lodges for let since 2013, whilst its sister business, Cairngorm Bothies, deep in the Blelach Woods, debuted six “off road and off grid” woodland bothies last summer, with twelve more joining its portfolio later this year.
Marketed to those that seek the most luxurious stay in the forest, whilst having sustainability at their heart, Cairngorm Lodges feature organic fair-trade bed linen and towels, low energy lightbulbs, and green household products. Heating in the properties, which includes Red Squirrel Lodge, Capercaillie Lodge, which overlooks a lochan, and Woodcutter Cabin, is achieved with radiators powered by wood burning stoves.
Set even deeper into the forest than the lodges, to allow for maximum engagement with the flora and fauna, Cairngorm Bothies has seen the creation of a unique, off grid holiday scheme, which may well be the first of its kind in Scotland. Since its debut last summer, it has proved very popular with those looking to holiday with a lower carbon footprint, in a very secluded environment.
Using solar panels to generate power, the stored energy drives a water pump to purify water. Wood burning stoves, supplied with logs from the estate, perform a multitude of tasks, from heating the main living areas, to heating a water circuit for towel rails, providing hot water for washing, and powering a cooking range, complete with oven.
“Our philosophy here is to promote renewable energy, together with the sustainable procurement of fabrics, furnishings, and consumables,” said Dr Gordon Drummond, who owns and runs both businesses. “This makes Cairngorm Bothies a novel and extra-ordinary new proposition for the market. It gives the customer a flavour of the considerations of sustainable living, integrated into nature, in the spectacular setting of an ancient woodland.”
“We deliberately cited the Bothies as far from tie in points to existing infrastructure, such as phone, water and electric.”
“If you’re seeking peace and tranquillity, complete with the space and freedom to roam within mature woodlands on a Scottish Highland estate, both the Lodges and the Bothies will give you the break you’re looking for as you shake free from the confines of lockdown. And please remember to bring your dog as both developments are dog friendly!” said Gordon.
Following on from the success of the initial market test of six Bothies and their launch last summer, Gordon explained that his plans were now for twelve more bothies to be added this forthcoming winter.
He was also looking forward to the self-catering sector getting moving again.
“We’re looking to secure bookings for both the Lodges and the Bothies,” he said. “This summer will hopefully bring about a rejuvenation of Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms as it wakes from the hibernation and stagnation brought about by the pandemic. We’re also delighted to announce that our new Bothies are creating three new jobs.”
“It would be fantastic if, this year, we have large groups taking on a number of Bothies or Lodges, using these as a vehicle to re-engage in family units. This permits households to remain as discrete units, but yet come together to eat outside at BBQs. We’re all desperate to reconnect, with best covid practises in place.”
Gordon finished by saying: “Businesses like us are ready for the future and to lead the recovery,” finished Gordon. “We have made a significant investment in the new Bothies as we look towards recovery, and, of course, to welcoming new and returning guests.”