Back in October, we were lucky enough to spend three nights at Eagle Brae, an award-winning log village resort in the Scottish Highlands renowned for its environmental good practice.
As we were driving to Eagle Brae, I asked my Geographer husband what would make a good eco-friendly holiday in his view. He was quite sceptical about Eagle Brae being as amazing as I had described it and answered with a sarcastic tone: “No impact on the environment whatsoever. Well, the fact we’ve come all the way up here in a big diesel car doesn’t help…”
OK, not a great start but he had a point. What else? He also said that he would not want ‘eco-friendly pushed to the limit’ like we had experienced in Rwanda, with outdoor toilets, bucket showers, no hot water or fridge.
Once Mister Sarcastic had been tamed, I managed to get a decent description from him as to what in his mind would make a sustainable, eco-friendly holiday. To him, the place where we were to stay should meet our needs without harming future generations.
Buildings should be made of local, natural materials and sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, HEP (Hydro Electric Power) should be used. Ideally, there would be a small holding on site where they would keep animals. He was also hoping we would be getting modern commodities like hot running water, a television and Wi-Fi.
Let me tell you something: reality of a stay at Eagle Brae exceeded our expectations! It really was eco-tourism at its best, and I will be publishing a post detailing it all next week (watch this space!).
There are no words to describe what I felt when we first approached Eagle Brae. I immediately fell in love with the place, with the trees and their beautiful autumnal colours, the deer grazing in the background, the stunning log cabins with “hair on” (Beanie’s words), or to you and me, grass.
My first impression was that the cabins blended perfectly with the strikingly beautiful landscape on which they were built.
Eagle Brae really is a place like I have never seen one before. It is a hand-crafted log village, set in breath-taking scenery. Mike and Pawana, who own the lodges and developed the concept, have thought of everything: at Eagle Brae, luxury cohabits with sustainability.
Mike is from Scotland and his wife Pawana is from the Indian part of the Himalayas. The cabins really display a great mix of Scottish and Himalayan features and the wood carvings in and around the lodges are impressively detailed and beautiful.
We stayed in two of the cabins. Sylvia, which is meant for a couple, was a lot more spacious than we had anticipated.
As soon as we got in and took our shoes off, the underfloor heating kept us cosy and we were wowed by the stunning place Pawana was showing us.
It was homey, full of sublime, solid furniture, ornaments that complemented the style of the cabin, giving it a unique feel.
The cabin was clean and contained everything we could wish for, from cooking utensils to a Sangenic bin to dishwasher tablets and eco-washing powder to eco-soaps. They had even left a complimentary hamper full of goodies (some homemade by Pawana!) for us to take home, books for us to read and board games for the family to play together.
Pawana’s attention to detail made me think her and Mike must have spent a few days in the lodge before having their first guests, so that they knew it would have anything they would want should they stay in there themselves.
The views were to die for and we quickly started seeing red deer graze close to the log cabins.
We were in love with this magical place and as we were reading all comments on the guest book, it was clear were not the only satisfied customers! So many people were already on their second visit, mentioning the wild animals they had spotted and how happy they had felt at Eagle Brae.
Before bed that night, we ordered a curry made by Pawana through the online concierge service.
We also organised for a couple of friends (Susan from ‘Mess in the Ness’ and her husband) to come and have dinner with us the following night. The following morning, we went to the office for a chat with Pawana and to borrow a muffin pan from her. Crevette and I baked some chocolate muffins for our guests and we had a lovely night all together.
The day after, we had a long walk around Eagle Brae.
We then moved to a larger cabin, Loxia.
Oh my goodness, it was stunning!
Check our bedroom!
Not only were there beds for the children within the logs, but we also had our very own private pond.
Had we stayed any longer, we would probably have taken part in some of the activities organised through Eagle Brae: fishing, pony trekking, sled-dog rides, canoeing, waling and many more. On a cold, clear night, you can even spot the Northern Lights if you are lucky. Here is a photo taken at Eagle Brae last November.
On our first night, I went outside on my own with a glass of wine at around 10 p.m. to soak it all in. It was darker than I am used to. There was no light pollution whatsoever and I felt completely alone, surrounded by nature.
I wanted to see if I could spot a constellation or two, but there were no stars to be seen. Even the moon was blurred by the thick clouds overhead. About two minutes after I went outside, I heard a couple of stags bellowing in the distance. I was astounded!
Being there was incredibly humbling. I have never questioned my lifestyle in a busy city, but being there honestly made me think I could live there and be happier than I have even been, living life like it is meant to be rather than rushing around in some sort of rat race. What is life all about? It is all about family, being together, enjoying each other.
I felt deeply contented, inspired and alive and imagined what our life would be like if we could stay at Eagle Brae.
What is your ideal lifestyle?
Disclosure: We spent three nights at Eagle Brae free of charge it was the best family holiday we have ever had. All opinions are my own. My camera broke before we arrived at Eagle Brae so my own photos, taken on my phone, do not do the place justice and Mike was kind enough to let me use some of his photos. Unless they have my logo on them, photo credit: Eagle Brae.
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