Mar Lodge, Clatt

ABERDEENSHIRE

Booking

About Mar Lodge

Mar Lodge is a charming, secluded cottage hidden away in the 300 acre Knockespoch Estate with superb uninterrupted views over the Aberdeenshire countryside to the prominent peak of the Tap o’ Noth, site of the second highest hill fort in Scotland (and a ‘must do’ walk during your stay). The cottage has been renovated from a traditional Victorian dwelling to provide wonderfully spacious holiday accommodation. Knockespoch Estate is close to the village of Clatt, in the lee of the Correen Hills, and makes an ideal holiday base for exploring this unspoilt area of north east Scotland.

The cottage is single storey and the sitting room with its high ceiling is a characterful and bright room featuring a wood burning stove, comfy sofas and delightful furnishings. It is a great setting to enjoy a relaxing evening. The kitchen is fully equipped and is ideal for informal dining while enjoying the views. The bedroom, with its king sized bed and open fire, is truly a haven for a peaceful night’s sleep. The sun porch enables guests to enjoy the views on chillier days and also to spot the abundant wildlife, which includes many varieties of bird, red squirrels and both roe and red deer.

Outside the cottage there is only peaceful seclusion, bird song and the rustle of leaves in the trees. Guests can choose to wander the lovely walks within the estate or venture further afield.

Availability and booking

Mar Lodge is available for rent from Friday to Friday (but with some flexibility). It can also be taken for short breaks from Friday to Monday or Monday to Friday (except Christmas and New Year).

For booking enquiries call 01464 831462 or email caroline@marlodge.com.

Local facilities

Shopping

Garages, groceries and other shopping (starting with the closest)

Rhynie (4 miles) Small village shop, open 7 days per week, includes post office open Tuesday 1115-1515 and Thursday 9am-1pm.

Alford (7 miles) Large village with two Co-op supermarkets – one small, one medium size, baker, pharmacy, Graham Barber excellent butcher; half-day closing Wednesday. ½ mile east of Alford on A944 is Lonenwell Garage for petrol, with 24-hour payment with credit card.

Insch (8 miles) Modest facilities, small Costcutter and Co-op, baker, pharmacy; half-day closing Thursday.

Huntly (11 miles) Local market town, broad range of stores including Tesco (on A96 towards Inverness) and Asda (on A96 roundabout) both selling petrol, Forbes Raeburn very good butcher, Largue Pharmacy very good; half day closing Thursday. Tourist office in main square. Tesco and Asda can offer home delivery, enquire online.

Next stop Inverurie (17 miles) then Aberdeen (28 miles)

Interesting shopping for gifts

Mostly with café/restaurant as well (and please let us know of any additions)

Kellockbank, on A96 (2 miles north of Insch). Garden centre and gift shop, with adjacent café.

Morgan McVeigh, on A96 (in the Glens of Foundland, 12 miles north of Inverurie). Country foods and ladies’ fashion, coffee shop.

Boogie Woogie, Keith (21 miles). Small gift shop and boutique, characterful café.

Johnstons of Elgin, (38 miles). Making cashmere and fine woollen cloth, knitwear and accessories in Scotland since 1797; very high quality, well worth a visit. Café/restaurant.

Restaurants

£££s

Kildrummy Inn On the A944 towards Strathdon (12 miles). Traditional inn, very good food with a Scottish focus. Tel 019755 71227.

Fjord Inn, Fisherford (15 miles) Small family run restaurant, not grand but well rated by locals. Tel 01464 841232.

Fennel Restaurant, Inverurie (17 miles) Modern cuisine, local produce, well rated by many. Tel 01467 670065.

Raemoir House Hotel, north of Banchory (24 miles) Traditional country house hotel, can be slow at times but well presented food in a fine location. Tel 01330 824884.

Eat on the Green, Udny Green (25 miles) Fine dining, highly thought of if expensive. Tel 01651 842337.

Copper Dog at Cragellachie Hotel (29 miles) Pub atmosphere, very good food. Tel 01340 881204.

Falls of Feugh Restaurant, just south of Banchory (30 miles) Attractive location on the River Feugh, stop for coffee or a full meal, good food.
Tel 01330 822123.

Gallery Waterfront Café and Seafood Restaurant, Whitehills (31 miles) Well rated local restaurant serving local fare. Tel 01261 861116.

££s

Alford Golf Club, Alford (7 miles) Well rated by a number of our guests.

Muggarthaugh Hotel, Muir of Fowlis (9 miles). Plenty of positive comments on the food, if the place is a little shabby. Tel 01975 581227

The Bank Café and Restaurant, Huntly (11 miles). Recently opened, bistro style café open Thu-Sun. Reports please! Tel 07955 710755.

White Cottage Bistro, east of Aboyne on A93 (19 miles). Open 11am-8pm Wed-Sun, good bistro food and takeaway. Tel 01339 885757.

Platform 22, Torphins (19 miles). Family run pottery, gallery and coffee house, well regarded. Tel 01339 882807.

Formartine’s, Tarves (23 miles). If you are visiting historic Haddo House, this is an excellent place for lunch. If only others could provide the same quality of food! Only a café, you can’t book – but it’s certainly one of our favourites. Delicatessen next door. Tel 01651 851123.

Malt Barn Restaurant at Glenfiddich, Dufftown (25 miles). Well run as part of the distillery, light snacks or full meals. Tel 01340 820373.

Rockpool Café, Cullen (32 miles). Not smart, open lunches only, excellent local fare. Tel 01542 841397.

£s

Double Happiness, Kennethmont (3 miles). Chinese takeaway, simple but viewed by most as being ok.

Alford Bistro, Alford (7 miles). A good little café on the main street. Tel 019755 63154.

Jolly Friar, Alford (7 miles). Fish and chips are often done well in these parts, and this is no exception.

Dean’s Café & Bistro, Huntly (11 miles). Dean’s shortbread factory has a pleasant café attached.

Huntly Chip Shop, Huntly (11 miles). Another fine fish and chip shop.

Activities

Castle Country

Knockespoch makes an excellent base from which to explore the castles of Aberdeenshire.  The North East really is “castle country” – thanks to the belligerent ways of the powerful families of the 15th and 16th Centuries in particular, many houses during that period were built for comfort and domesticity but also for protection from others, and there is some wonderful history to explore. Some are still privately owned, some in the care of National Trust Scotland, and some managed by Government agencies.

Particular favourites of ours include Craigievar, Crathes and Fyvie Castles, while there are also a variety of fine later houses well worth visiting, including Haddo and nearby Leith Hall, and in certain months HM The Queen’s residence at Balmoral Castle. Then further afield you might choose to visit Cawdor Castle near Nairn, or Brodie near Forres.

See http://www.visitscotland.com/download/scotlands-castle-trail-pdf

The Whisky Trail

The North East and Speyside have a great array of distilleries, with the small town of Dufftown having a remarkable 11! Many are open to the public, and of the best to visit you might consider Glenfiddich in Dufftown, Glendronach near Huntly and Royal Lochnagar near Ballater. You should also consider visiting the Speyside Cooperage at Craigellachie where the whisky barrels are made. For those on Speyside:

See http;//www.maltwhiskytrail.com

Walking

Then of course there are huge opportunities for those who enjoy walking. There are several leaflets in the cottage explaining the main walks in the area and Knockespoch is a perfect base from which to explore the many routes in the North East. For instance, the Gordon Way runs from the nearby Suie Hill, just above the mansion, and runs some 12 miles to Bennachie Leisure Centre.

Golf

Scotland is of course renowned as the home of golf, and the facilities nearby range from a delightful local course at Alford, where incidentally the food in the clubhouse is very good, there is also a good course at Kemnay, then further afield are Aboyne, Ballater and Braemar, while the top courses are Royal Aberdeen, Cruden Bay and of course the new and world class Trump International.

See http://www.scottishgolfcourses.com/northeast

Fishing

The rivers of the North East are renowned for their salmon fishing, while on a more modest scale there is a stocked trout lake on the estate, and fly fishers are welcome, you just need to ask at the house where to go.

Riding, cycling and mountain biking

There are various riding centres in the area, for instance nearby Corrylair Trekking Centre (T. 01466 720379), while just beyond Aboyne is Glen Tanar Equestrian Centre (T. 013398 86448). Cycling and mountain biking are both popular (see http://www.cyclegrampian.co.uk and for bike hire http://www.bikestationballater.co.uk)

General

See http://www.upperdonside.org.uk

While some of course may choose simply to stay at Mar Lodge and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the cottage, reading a good book, strolling through the surrounding woods and admiring the local wildlife!

Location