GIVE YOURSELF A HIGHLAND TREAT
You don’t so much ‘check in’ at Inverlochy Castle as ‘arrive’. Your car sweeps under the porte-cochere, the studded castle doors swing open and a staff member comes out to greet you. Your bags are whisked away, you’re offered a drink or tea in the Great Hall, and you’re home in the Highlands.
Inverlochy Castle, at the foot of Ben Nevis, was built by the first Lord Abinger in the mid-1800s. Moors and forests, streams and Lochs surround it; Queen Victoria, who once spent a week sketching at the castle, wrote in her diary that she had ‘never seen a lovelier or more romantic spot’.
In1969, the castle became a country house hotel with 17 palatial bedrooms. It has welcomed royalty as well as celebrities including Sean Connery, Mel Gibson and Robert Redford. Visitors can sample traditional highland activities; fly fishing for brown trout on the castle’s private Loch, deerstalking, grouse, pheasant and duck shooting- or simply enjoy golf, pony trekking or guided walks.
Vegetables and fruit from the estate’s walled garden, scallops from the Isle of Skye, wild mushrooms and game all feature in the castle’s Michelin star cuisine. Each of the three exquisite dining rooms is furnished with period furniture, a gift of the King of Norway.
What’s the best thing?
Living like a Laird! Phoning through your dinner choices in advance for a seamlessly presented gourmet meal. Leaving your walking boots in the foyer knowing they wil be returned, spotless, to your room. Considering a game of billiards in the evening or just relaxing by the fire in the Great Hall, a book from the castle’s library in one hand and a wee glass of the local whisky (Ben Nevis ‘Dew’) in the other.
Nearest airport? Inverness, a picturesque 90-minute drive to Torlundy. From Glasgow International, the 2 1/2 hour drive skirts Loch Lomond. Alternatively, take the Glasgow train to Fort William. The castle’s Rolls Royce will be sent to meet you.
Want to know more? Inverlochy Castle Hotel, Torlundy, Fort William, ;email firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.inverlochycastlehotel.com
This article first appeared in the Sunday Tribune