Eagle Brae, where we spent a few nights in October, is a log village resort in the Scottish Highlands. The owners’ vision (Mike and Pawana) was to avoid impacting too much on the environment and creating a lasting legacy, for holidays that have environmental good practice at their heart.
Mike, whose family are from Scotland, fell in love with the Himalayan regions of India while travelling there during a gap year. When he went back in 1998, he met Pawana (pronounced Pubna) in her home village between Kashmir and Nepal.
“The 8,000 acre Struy Estate, in Inverness-shire, where Eagle Brae is located has been owned by Mike’s family since the 1930s. In 2005 Mike and Pawana decided to leave Jersey where they lived to move there, and set up the ultimate Scottish Highland self-catering experience.
They recognised a market over-saturation of machine-cut kit ‘chalets’ and decided to try and break with all conventions and create a unique, personal and wild self-catering destination.
The cabins are all well-spaced out, each with their own privacy and each hand-made with every log a different shape and size.
The owners’ strong ties with the Himalayas are represented in the log homes, with material from the area used in all of them. Pawana’s sister is married to a master wood carver, who with a team of expert carvers has hand carved the decorative panels throughout the cabins.”
As you arrive at Eagle Brae, you will spot the beautiful hand-carved wooden road signs.
The Cedar logs used for the cabins came from a completely sustainable source in Canada. Shipping the logs on a bulk carrier helped to minimise transport emissions.
The cabins have a hand-crafted feel. This was achieved by enrolling local and artisan craftsmen to create features such as the bespoke carved wood panels or deer antler chandeliers.
The 7 cabins are named after birds:
Parus – crested tit, coal tit, blue tit
Loxia – crossbill
Sylvia – blackcap and garden warbler
Aquila – golden eagle
Strix – Tawny Owl
Tringa – greenshank
Buteo – buzzard
Each cabin has a green roof, sown with the seeds of 3 grasses and over 25 wildflower species. They help with biodiversity, provide natural insulation and avoid overwhelming drains by slowing the rate of rain run-off.
Electricity and heat in the log cabins are sourced from renewable sources. Hot water and underfloor heating are produced by efficient biomass systems that burn wood pellets.
The hydro electricity generated on site powers appliances and lighting.
It also pumps water up from 200 feet below ground. There is no need for chemical treatments since the water has been naturally filtered by rocks.
The bespoke water treatment facility at Eagle Brae is so efficient; they are allowed to pipe the treated water into a local river.
The fridge, freezer and washing machine in each cabin are at least A-rated for energy efficiency, and therefore use the least amount of energy to operate.
At Eagle Brae, they use soaps and cleaning products that have a low impact on the environment. I fell in love with their soaps, sourced from Eco Soaps. They smell heavenly and although I am normally a shower gel kind of girl, I have been using their soaps since we got back from Eagle Brae. The ingredients they are made with are natural: water, cold pressed Scottish rapeseed oil, coconut oil, natural essential oils, natural herbal extracts and sodium hydroxide (a salt).
The cleaning products are from Jangro’s Enviro range.
Last but not least, eco-tourism, especially when it is high-end, can be perceived as pretentious. You will not get any of that at Eagle Brae. Pawana is so welcoming I would just feel like popping in for a chat if I lived in the area.
When Wriggly spilt an entire cup of steaming hot chocolate all over Pawana’s beautifully displayed magazines and Himalayan rug, she did not even flinch. Hubby was busily trying to clean the damage our little one had caused, but Pawana kept telling us not to worry, emphasising the fact she was a mummy too and things like that were just normal..
Disclosure: We spent three nights at Eagle Brae free of charge. I wrote this post because I really admire Mike and Pawana’s decision to create a log village that would be as eco-friendly as possible. All opinions are my own.
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