Be the Lord and Lady of all you survey.
I always knew I was to the manor born. And here I was finally living the life albeit just for a few days.
My own country pad with open fires in the sitting and drawing rooms, a formal dining room and a billiards table.
Ideas above my station my friends would call it. But even they had to agree how easily we adapted to the luxury, country lifestyle.
As it’s becoming a more popular style of holiday, 14 of us got together for a lodge break, choosing the magnificent Kindrochet Lodge in the glorious Perthshire hills a few miles from Blair Castle.
It nestles in the Atholl Estates, one of Scotland’s largest working lands with 145,000 acres stretching from Dunkeld in the south to the Cairngorms National Park in the north.
The area offers a chance to enjoy rich history and beautiful landscapes. Heather-clad hills and a spectacular variety of colours grace lochs, rivers and forests.
For the golfers there are a host of stunning courses, with Pitlochry a little gem offering views over the valley and the friendliest of welcomes.
Mind you, the hilly start is not the best idea after over-indulging on fine wine and fab food the night before. I was both below par and plenty over par not that any mercy was shown on either count.
I blame the chef for not getting dinner underway promptly and allowing more drinking time than planned. The well-stocked kitchen and hungry mouths had failed to divert his attention from our snooker competition.
In fairness, he was there as a friend even though the lodge has a separate cook’s room! But that’s the great thing about lodges bringing your own food and booze.
Everything is done when it suits you, not the timetables of others, so much more relaxing.
The lodge caters for the hunting, fishing and shooting fraternity, and the estate can organise permits and activities for your visit. We were more of a drinking and eating crowd!
Going outdoors meant the large garden which has a suntrap patio with outdoor furniture and barbecue. The estate is glorious for walkers with 40 miles of waymarked bike and walking trails to explore.
It takes in hills and mountains, including six Munros and two Corbetts. For those wanting to get closer to nature without any effort there is always the Land Rover Safari.
Guide Sandy is a retired gamekeeper with a wealth of experience and an infectious enthusiasm allied to the gift of the gab.
The sights are magical for those lucky enough to see wildlife such as red deer, red squirrels and birds of prey in their natural home. Families can enjoy it too with pony trekking and vintage tractor tours.
Further afield, indulge your taste buds in the Grandtully Highland Chocolatier or visit the breathtaking Pass of Killiecrankie and see the salmon leaping.
You can walk off your chocolate overindulgence at the nearby Cluny House Gardens which is home to the two largest redwood trees in Britain.
A trip to the fabulous Blair Castle, where more than 700 years of history are on display, is a must. The grand entrance hall that doubles as an ornamental armoury is an impressive start to a fascinating tour of more than 30 rooms.
Our guide, Polly, brought the castle to life, revealing its secrets including how a stay by Queen Victoria led to the creation of Europe’s only private army, the Atholl Highlanders.
Outside there is much to explore too including the picturesque 18th Century walled garden and woodland grove. And, pleasingly, it is all free for lodge guests.
For those missing their retail fix, the House of Bruar is minutes away and has many tempting wares from fashion and home furnishings to the finest selection of Scottish food and drink. But your temporary home is where the heart is.
It pushes that relaxation button, allowing you to step back to a time less frenetic and less pressured. Relax, play games, chat and drink in fine surroundings we were all born to enjoy that.
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