B&B and Beyond: The Steading, Aberfeldy

This contemporary house showcases local produce, from Aberfeldy stone to eggs from the garden

If you reach Dull you’ve gone too far. I had to backtrack in the dark to the hamlet of Tullicro, with its cluster of thatched cottages – and one sleek, contemporary B&B.

The village of Dull in the Scottish Highlands was officially paired with Boring in Oregon in 2012 – and the first Dull and Boring Day took place last August. Of course, the Upper Tay Valley is anything but. The picturesque little town of Aberfeldy is home to Dewar’s World of Whisky, a working distillery and heritage centre; Loch Tay is on your doorstep and it’s the gateway to Glen Lyon, the longest and one of the most magnificent glens in Scotland. It’s also where you’ll find Highland Safaris with moorland tramping, high ridge hikes, 4x4 off-roading and wildlife watching with kilted rangers – and, on the other side of a deer fence, The Steading, the chic B&B clad in Siberian larch and Aberfeldy stone with a smart aluminum roof.

The bed

The advantages of designing your own house if you plan on starting up a B&B is obvious: you can tailor the layout to your exact requirements, which is what the owners of The Steading have done with the help of local architect, Colin Smith.

The guests’ section of the house has a separate entrance leading to two luxurious bedrooms, one on the ground floor with its own outdoor seating area scattered with woollen rugs, and one upstairs in the eaves. My room was fresh, bright and painted white, with sloping ceilings a small sofa and flat-screen television. Above the bed – dressed in The White Company linen and heather-hued cushions and throws from Scottish designer, Anta – was a giant tweed headboard. There were fresh roses in the white-and-slate shower room, sumptuous fluffy towels, dressing gowns and toiletries, again from The White Company. Along with a tea tray stocked with a cafetiere, fresh coffee and shortbread, thoughtful touches included two wine glasses and a corkscrew.

A fire was blazing in the wood-burning stove in the drawing room when I arrived and, as I sank into a welcoming sofa, a pot of tea and homemade mince pies appeared.

The breakfast

The provenance of all the breakfast ingredients is outlined in the menu, along with the commitment to local, seasonal and, where possible, organic produce. And you can’t get more local than the eggs. Youngest son Jack, 11, clearly has a budding entrepreneurial streak, selling the eggs laid by his chickens to his mother. The coffee comes from Glen Lyon, the most remote roastery in Scotland; porridge and stoneground seeded bread from the Watermill in Blair Atholl; locally smoked kippers from Arbroath and black pudding from Stornaway. Breakfast is served at a table in front of the picture window in the drawing room, which frames a thatched cottage, sheep-flecked fields and Bolfracks Hill beyond.

The hosts...

... are Sarah Jane and Will Burton. Sarah Jane grew up on the outskirts of Glasgow but spent weekends here as a child – her grandfather was the chemist in Aberfeldy. This valley always felt like home to her and, when the opportunity arose to move the family here from the Borders (they have three sons, George, 16, Harry, 14 and Jack) after Will switched from farming to agricultural finance, they jumped at it. Coming full circle, Sarah bought the plot to build the house from Carl, their Swedish neighbour, who had bought her grandfather’s shop many years ago.

The weekend

You can stroll the three miles into Aberfeldy along a path beside the River Tay, to mooch around shops such as shabby-chic homes emporium Homer (01887 820802; athomer.co.uk) and the Aberfeldy Watermill (01887 822896; aberfeldywatermill.com) next door with its bookshop, art gallery and cosy café. Or take a distillery tour and tutored whisky tasting at Dewar’s (01887 822 010;  dewars.com). If you’d rather explore the great outdoors, head to the far-flung reaches of the longest glen in Scotland or book a trip with Highland Safaris (01887 820071; highland safaris.net) which offers walking, mountain-biking and 4x4 off-roading into the heather-sprung hills.

The pitstop

Tips for eating out include The Fortingall Hotel (01887 830367; fortingall.com), an old shooting lodge at foot of Glen Lyon next to the oldest yew tree in Europe. However, I opted for their local, the Ailean Chraggan (01887 820346; aileanchraggan.co.uk), a small family-run restaurant with rooms, just down the road, after hearing about its old-fashioned hospitality – and great seafood. The decor is also a little old-fashioned but the welcome was as warm as they said, the bar buzzing with locals and the fish and chips (£11.75) delicious.

The essentials

The Steading, Tullicro by Camserney, Aberfeldy, Perth and Kinross, Scotland PH15 2JG (01887 820718; steading aberfeldy.co.uk). Double rooms start at £95, including breakfast.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living