Cabin fever? Bring it on! Dive into the Scottish countryside on this wilderness retreat
- Wild swimming in the woodlands of Scotland might not sound that appealing
- But throwing in a log cabin, wood-fired hot tubs and a drop of whisky might help
- And Glen Dye in Kincardineshire is the place to embrace the outdoors in comfort
The Danes gave us hygge, that buzzword for a feeling of cosy contentment. Now, the Scots have come up with ‘coorie’, the act of embracing the great outdoors, especially by wild swimming in natural waterways.
And if anywhere is designed to hurl you into the world of nature, it is the new holiday experience of lodges, cabins and wood-fired hot tubs developed on the 30,000-acre Glen Dye estate in Kincardineshire in the north east of Scotland.
My wild swimming friends Hazel and Loran and I are among some of the first guests to stay in North Lodge, which sleeps six, with two kingsize bedrooms, a twin room and two bathrooms. The kitchen has a large range and every item has been thought out with style, down to the Le Creuset mugs.
Coorie: Glen Dye’s cabins are perfect for embracing the Scottish outdoors
Cosy: The interior of No. 4 Steading Cottage, a 1955 Airstream camping trailer sleeping seven
One of Glen Dye’s Swedish wood-fired hot tubs
A welcome hamper awaits us on the kitchen table, with whisky, shortbread, muesli and jam. The living room has an open fire and the large-screen TV offers Netflix.
But outside — in the world of ‘coorie’ — is where Glen Dye really scores. A short walk from the lodge is our private River Cabin, a dinky wood-clad hut with a log burner, cooking plate, wooden dining table and even a vintage record player with vinyls.
By the river sits the wood-fired hot tub — a top-of-the-range Bohemen, a Swedish make that retails at about £3,750. We wind our way excitedly down to the river in an assortment of wetsuits, bobble hats and dry robes, light the woodburner in the River Cabin, then start stoking the hot tub.
It takes at least an hour-and-a-half to get the temperature to soar as we carefully feed in logs (provided), but we while away the time dunking ourselves in the freezing river and then running around to get warm. Once the hot tub is ready, we rip off our wetsuits and jump in — and it is heaven.
There is nothing quite as ‘coorie’ as sitting in a tub in a forest, with the sights and sounds of the river, and the wind whistling around your ears, while sipping a warming nip of whisky from a tin mug.
Although the estate offers a true ‘wilderness’ experience, you’re not far from the pretty town of Banchory and within shouting distance of Braemar and Ballater in smart Royal Deeside. North Lodge would be ideal for a family. There is wifi, but the lure of the river, the hot tub and barbecuing sausages will surely tempt your teens away from their screens and out into the fresh air.
Glen Dye’s accommodation also includes No4 Steading Cottage, which sleeps seven, and a 1955 Airstream camping trailer with a giant bed, foresters’ kitchen, sitting room, outdoor shower and hot tub. Scotland has always had Scottish idyll: Glen Dye is perfect for exploring by day (left) and (above) cosy nights great high-priced establishments — such as Gleneagles — but, until recently, too little in the middlemarket to tempt families and couples who want to enjoy the dramatic beauty of the country.
It is always a long haul to drive to the wilder parts of Scotland, but, once you are soaking in a hot tub with the tempting prospect of a roaring log fire and a dram of whisky, do you care?
Diana stayed on the Glen Dye estate (glendyecabinsandcottages.com), where prices at North Lodge (sleeps six) range from £702 to £1,237 a week. Short breaks are also available.