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Travel: Peace and solitude at the Dome that offers a relaxing glamping getaway near Glasgow

© Neale SmithLuxury glamping dome at Mid Auchengowan near Lochwinnoch.
Luxury glamping dome at Mid Auchengowan near Lochwinnoch.

When you think of Scottish accommodation, castles, bothies and lodges spring to mind.

However I decided to try my hand at something completely different, something quite unique… a Dome.

Seeking silence is sparking a new travel trend in 2024 and I totally understand why. I feel solitude is highly underrated; we are constantly surrounded by people, unrelenting communication in the form of texts, WhatsApps, FB messages, Insta messages, all the time.

So, when the opportunity to take off for some peace and solitude came up I grabbed it with both hands.

I took myself off to Mid Auchengowan, a 30-minute drive from central Glasgow, and it felt a world away from the bustling city streets. The Dome is located on the site of a farm; however it is secluded enough to offer a high degree of privacy, yet near enough should you need any assistance. The drive to Lochwinnoch was truly scenic, windy country roads which took great driving skills to navigate as most of them were flooded.

Upon arrival at the Dome, the parking is in a gated patch of field, and it’s a wee bit of a walk to the actual dome. What hits you instantly is how much the owners have managed to pack into a small space. The interiors are cleverly laid out and each nook and cranny is utilised, however it does not feel at all cramped. There’s a small hallway leading off to a reasonably-sized shower room, and then you enter the main part of the dome, which houses not one but two double beds. One of which is squared off to the rear, there are no views. And the main one which has exceptional views. The owners have managed to squeeze in a kitchen with crockery, cutlery and mod cons into the tiniest space, they even managed to fit in a dishwasher!

Enjoy the peaceful surroundings at sunset. © Shutterstock / Binson Calfort
Enjoy the peaceful surroundings at sunset.

What holds it all together is the log burning fire, during my stay it really was the focal point. And they’ve even managed to fit in a dining table, and also a clothes hanging rail for luggage, and a dresser for smaller items.

However what impressed me the most was the peace and solitude I experienced. Solitude is under-rated (there I’ve gone and said it twice!) in modern society. I enjoyed every second of it, so much so that even though I was only booked in for two nights, I extended my stay for one more night.

Going back to rustic living, the simple life was very much enjoyable. Listening to the rain and wind howl all around the dome, whilst I was all cosy and snug inside, watching the flames of the fire, content with just my thoughts to keep me company. I came to the conclusion that I need more of this in my life, more solitude, down time, time to tap into my creative instincts. And the Dome is just the place to exercise this muscle. You can go for days without seeing another human, or you can take a short drive to the nearest town and experience some fab wee local cafes etc. Either way a stay at the dome is going to become a regular highlight of my travels.

Tourist accommodation seems to be accelerating in the Unique and Unusual category, and its one that I intend to explore more. I used to shy away from this type of accommodation, and head straight to luxury, however I have now discovered it can be both, unique and unusual does not need to be budget, it can be done to a higher standard without much difficulty, all it takes is a little imagination.

On my last day at the Dome, I decided to seek out the owner, Sara Seravalle, as I was desperate to know what the inspiration was behind installing a dome.

Inside the dome. © Neale Smith
Inside the dome.

Sara explained: “We were looking for something unique and quirky that would comfortably fit at least four adults and maximise the enjoyment of the views from that corner of our field. We looked at cabins and lodges, but the dome was the one structure that rocked our boat.

“We have managed to successfully combine the comforts of a more traditional accommodation (ie ensuite bathroom, electricity and wifi, tv, heating etc) with a unique space. We find it a very magical environment, whether we are inside with the fire on, enjoying the beautiful sunsets we get here, or just sitting outside around the firepit, star gazing.

“My husband Chris and myself both come from a background in the building industry, and we have been working alongside architects and designers for a long time. Plus, I am Italian so I tried to incorporate some of my heritage into the interior design. Some of the materials used are made by some of our clients: the flooring of the dome for example is by Bolon, a Swedish manufacturer of woven vinyl.

“Our favourite times of year are December when it’s snowing outside, or June/July when you have long days, and you can sit outside with the fire pit on to enjoy the stars.”

P.S. The nearby RSPB Lochwinnoch reserve offers a great family day out in Renfrewshire, with free entry to trails and birdwatching hides, plus fun activities. The reserve is the perfect place to spot a huge variety of wildlife, and the visitor centre and shop are open daily.


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