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Parkreview Wigwam glam With breathtaking views, quirky accommodation and friendly local wildlife, Loch Tay Highland Lodges is a glamper’s dream, writes Sally Hampton Pictures Courtesy of LoCh tay vaCations (right, top and bottom); saLLy hampton Scotland waS enjoying ‘weather for ducks’ when I visited Loch Tay Highland Lodges to try their glamping facilities. The friendly local ducks certainly seemed very happy with it as they waddled past my front door at regular intervals. They gather in numbers at breakfast-time, obviously confident that spare breadcrumbs will be coming their way. I was also thrilled to spot several red squirrels darting between the trees. The Loch Tay Highland Lodges estate, owned and run by Largo Leisure Parks, is situated on a beautiful spot at the west end of Loch Tay, near Killin. Visitors can enjoy the best of both worlds: hills and water. The park’s own three-mile circular hill track, near the main entrance, is suitable for walking and mountain-biking. From here you can enjoy amazing views of loch and mountains. More adventurous walkers can also access the paths network on the Ben Lawers national Trust area from the track. At the lower end of the park, on the shores of Loch Tay, you can rent a pebble boat for fishing or watching the swans and ducks at closer quarters. Prices, from £40, include fishing permit, fuel and lifejackets, with fishing Nearby attractions The park is situated in a beautiful part of the country, with the stunning Falls of Dochart and Killin on the doorstep plus Doune, Stirling, Callander and the Trossachs National Park within easy reach. Nae Limits outdoor activity centre offers land and water thrills. Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre and Highland Safaris get you close to the animals. On a rainy day, head to Deanston Distillery or the beautifully restored Castle Menzies. Clockwise from above: Interiors are comfortable; my wigwam had cooking facilities, but the Tay Bistro was too tempting; the park runs down to the loch; wigwams include outdoor space rods for hire separately. Other activities include a putting green, disc golf, children’s play area and boat trips. Also nestling by the water’s edge is the Loch Tay Bistro, serving delicious Italian-themed meals. You can relax in the comfy bar area or pick up logs for your fire pit here. There’s a touching story behind the bistro’s current management: the family in charge ran an independent restaurant in Callander until it suffered extensive water damage as a result of a fire in the flat above. While their own premises are being renovated, they’ve been invited to run the bistro at Loch Tay. With just four units available, Ready Camp doesn’t feel crowded and the site facilities are nearby Visions of nature I caught up with Largo Leisure Group’s Marketing Manager, Jon Morley, who explained that, while traditional lodges are still very popular, glamping is a big growth area for the business. ‘Of course, the views are a great attraction,’ says Jon. ‘You’d never get permission to build a huge hotel in such a scenic spot, but come glamping and you can look out on one of the 64 Scottish Caravans & Motorhomes winter 2017 www.scottishcaravansandmotorhomes.co.uk
most magnificent vistas in the whole world from your own front door.’ And, even on a damp September day, I have to confess the view from my Premium Wigwam was simply breathtaking. What makes it premium? I had my own compact shower room, so I didn’t have to run for the facilities block to go to the loo in the middle of the night! There’s also a compact but very comfortable double bed, plus a bed settee that can be made up into additional sleeping accommodation for two more. It would be very cosy for four adults, but perfect for a family. All the properties at Loch Tay have their own fire pit with outdoor seating, and holidaymakers sit around the fire long into the evening, enjoying a barbecue and watching the sun set over the loch. Prices for the premium wigwams start at £80 a night. Or you could trade up to one of Loch Tay Highland Lodges Milton Morenish Estate, by Killin, Loch Tay, Perthshire FK21 8TY Telephone 01567 820323 Website www.lochtayvacations.co.uk Open all year round. Check-in from 4pm, check-out 10am three that also boasts a hot tub for £110 per night. My wigwam didn’t have the hot tub, but it did boast a microwave, cooker hob, fridge, TV and convector heater, plus rudimentary wifi. No better place Who needs to be connected to the outside world, though, when you can relax on the doorstep of your own wigwam, enjoying the stunning views over loch and mountain? Only bird noises and the rustling of trees break the silence. One night here left me feeling wonderfully restored and relaxed. It’s not surprising, then, that Loch Tay Highland Lodges won Best Scottish Glamping Site in the 2016 Scottish Outdoor and Leisure Awards, or that they were shortlisted again in this category and two more (Best Scottish Self Catering Site and Best Scottish Family Holiday Park) in 2017. As well as standard and premium wigwams, Loch Tay Highland Lodges offers glamping domes and the Stable Bothy bunkhouse. One step up (or down, depending on your perspective) are the more traditional Scandinavian Lodges, Woodland Cabins, Houses and Cottages. winter 2017 Scottish Caravans & Motorhomes 65
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