Aptly named the gateway to the highlands, Perthshire has always had a very special place in my heart. Each year as a child I would look forward to visiting this magical part of Scotland for a holiday, excited to play amongst its dramatic heather-cloaked hills, meandering rivers and never-ending pine forests. One of those special places that ignited my excitement was the white-clad walls of Blair Atholl Castle, which seemed to gleam brightly amongst the sea of green around it. Owned by Atholl Estates, a renowned Scottish estate that dates back to the 13th century, the castle is just one of the many things to enjoy in this area. Within the estates, 145,000 acres of land nestles an array of luxury self-catering holiday accommodations including lodges, cottages and shepherd huts. I was recently invited to stay in one of their cottages and having such a history with this place, I simply couldn’t resist. I was staying in the recently renovated Blairinraish West, a one-bedroom cottage in the heart of the Tulliemet Valley.
Located just under a two hours drive from Edinburgh , the cottage is perfectly located to enjoy the serenity of the countryside yet be within proximity to nearby picturesque villages and towns. As you leave the main motorway and make your way up the snaking country road (which is sure to test your suspension) it’s clear to see why this place is so special. Amongst the expanse of countryside, the stunning cottage comes into sight, perched peacefully on an elevated position overlooking the endearing Tulliemet farm and beyond. Adjoining another cottage (Blairinraish East) the typical charming Victorian stone exterior is highlighted with pops of pale blue on its wooden doorway. Each cottage has its little private garden with tables and chairs that take in those stretching views out towards StrathTay.
I have nothing against some highland accommodation, but it is not uncommon to be greeted with the dreaded magnolia and hints of tartan, albeit this is charming I often crave something a little different. Blairinraish West satisfies this with an excellent choice of vibrant yet cleverly curated colours, intricately selected furniture and quirky accessories. This is evident from the moment you open the door, where you are met with an eye-catching shade of green in the entranceway, just a little taste of things to come. The intimate lounge awash with the cosiest hue of terracotta, immediately makes you want to curl up with a good book and a glass of wine. This warming colour is accented with pops of blues and green from the sumptuous sofa, scattered cushions and an array of antique furnishings. The highlight of course (with me being a townie) is the log-burning fire, which brings a warm ambience and glows as the light of the day seeps from the winter sky. For those of you who like to get away but refuse to switch off from the world (don’t worry I am one of them) a smart TV is also included along with a very good WiFi signal. But if you do want to fully embrace the off the grid lifestyle then there are an array of books and games to keep you entertained along with unlimited outdoor space of course. Adjoining the lounge is a small toilet adorned with the most beautiful cast of blue, so much so that I need to find out the colour for use in my own home.
Wandering into the kitchen/dining area its stark white walls were a surprise, nevertheless colour wasn’t too far away with bright orange tiles, red cushions and pops of artwork. The kitchen was impressive in size and has all the mod cons you need for the perfect self-catering holiday. I was particularly enamoured with a tempting hamper which included a selection of Blair Atholl biscuits, chocolates, jams, gifts and my favourite addition of a little highland coo (I’ve named him Blair). A small supply of condiments is available as well as fully stocked cupboards of cutlery, dinnerware and cookware. An adjacent wooden table is a perfect place to dine whilst looking out the sash windows into nature in addition to a casual comfortable bench for lounging back with a warming cup of tea.
Located up the small narrow stairs is the impressive double bedroom, which was disappointingly rather demure compared to the rest of the house. But then I had to remind myself that this is a room for relaxing and sleeping and the pale pink and creams were rather soothing. I especially loved the large carved antique bed, embellished with a cosy duvet, plush pillows and a delicate throw. It was extremely warm and comfortable and along with the silence of the night, I had the most restful sleep. A Velux roof window allows light in during the day and I often loved to stand upon the fluffy lambskin rug and gaze out upon the land below, feeling like one of the hawks you could see circling the sky.
Adjacent to the bedroom was an exceptionally large bathroom with twin sinks, a separate bath and shower and an additional window overlooking those views. Dusted in the most beautiful pale pink the bathroom was such a tranquil space to start your morning. Although I didn’t have the chance to enjoy a bath, the rainfall shower was perfectly warm with adequate water pressure, which is not often the case in these parts. My only small gripe would be that no shower gel or shampoo was provided which is surprising in such luxurious accommodations, however, a small bar of soap for hand washing was provided in each of the sink areas.
Included in your stay is free entry to Blair Atholl castle, and although on this occasion it was closed due to the time of year, I have gone in the past and it is well worth the visit. Even so, there is an abundance of beautiful walks and scenic spots right on your doorstep so don’t worry if you do choose to visit outwit the season. Some of my favourites are the nearby Hermitage Walk adjacent to Dunkeld, a stroll through the quaint town of Pitlochry, a visit to Killiecrankie Visitor centre or a trip to the renowned House of Bruar. Further afield is the impressive Queens View, the quiet shores of Loch Rannoch or if you are feeling energetic a climb up the dramatic Ben Vrackie.
Since the usual place that I used to holiday as child sadly does not exist anymore, I had been continuously on the lookout for another cottage or lodge that I could escape to in the area. Blairinraish West was exactly what I was looking for, secluded yet accessible, comfortable yet stylish and most importantly it still has soul, which a lot of self-catering accommodations can sometimes lack. I can only imagine that as summer approaches, sitting in the private garden with a glass of wine on a warm evening would be spectacular here. It only gives me another reason to return to this endearing and beautiful property.
Blu Blazer Guy Rating:
Location – 4/5
Interior and Style – 4/5
Facilities – 4/5
Cleanliness – 4/5
Blu Blazer Guy Highlights: Outstanding Views, Log Fire, Exceptional bathroom, Colourful decor, Hamper Gift.
Available to book on the Atholl Estates Website.
PR Stay – All views are my own