A Luxury Lodge with a Hot Tub
on Scotland’s West Coast.
Woodcock Lodge is a quirky and luxurious lodge on the Kirnan Estate in the heart of Argyll; a culturally rich and diverse region on Scotland’s stunning west coast. Fancy getting cosy in front of the log fire, or watching the sunset from your own private hot tub? This is the escape for you.
Submerged in a sea of plump pillows and cosy covers, I was feeling rebellious. The alarm on my phone was swiftly silenced, and I burrowed even further under the weight of the sumptuous duvet. When I finally summoned the motivation to even think about getting up, I took subtle measures to ease myself into the day ahead; I opened the bedside blinds to reveal views of the golden, autumnal countryside, and switched on the wall-mounted living flame to warm up the room – and for the audiovisual novelty, of course.
I only intended to venture as far as the adjacent room, where flames would soon be flickering in the log-burner, while sausages sizzled under the grill. For once, I had no trouble resisting the urge to get out and explore. This was my time to indulge in some guilt-free hibernation, and I was absolutely loving it.
Welcome to the Kirnan Estate.
Set within 500-acres of land in the blissfully remote Kilmichael Glen, the Kirnan Estate is a rural oasis with high-end hospitality at its core. The historic estate has been used as a country escape since the 13th century; the original house was built as a shooting lodge for Clan Campbell, whose ancestral home is Argyll. Today, Kirnan House is the centrepiece of the estate. The charming stone structure has three luxury bed & breakfast rooms and a communal lounge area, where guests can relax, play board games – or the guitar – and have a wee tipple.
There are also three cosy cottages – which accommodate between two and eight people – and three luxury lodges, including Woodcock Lodge. To ensure that everyone is truly spoiled, there is a new hot tub cabin and BBQ hut which can be booked for exclusive use by anyone staying on the estate. Guests can also take a wander through the forest to the scenic BBQ bothy on Loch Torrnaleich. This is one of two lochs where you can enjoy a spot of trout fishing, as well as the 6 miles of salmon fishing on the River Add. The hosts really have it all covered, don’t they? Pair o’ legends.
Meet the Hosts.
Ross and Diane Appleyard are not from around these parts, but they are definitely ‘locals’. In his previous life, Ross worked as a conflict correspondent for Sky News, and after three stints in Iraq, reached a pivotal point in his life – it was time for a change. He and his wife Diane – who is also a journalist, with six novels under her belt – left their farm in Oxfordshire, in favour of the glorious Kirnan Estate north of the border.
Ross, who has no doubt witnessed unimaginable horrors in his former career, is a warm and laid back character, who is perfectly content living la vida rural in bonnie Scotland. He and Diane are evidently passionate about the local area, and love sharing their beautiful home with guests. The Appleyards are not the only residents on the estate – look out for chickens, horses, donkeys, and pigs in sheep’s clothing 😉
The Woodcock Lodge Experience.
As you’ve probably gathered, I adopted a full-on ‘lazy lassie’ persona for the duration of my stay at Woodcock Lodge, and was personally delighted that the lodge didn’t have internet or phone signal. Despite my best attempts to switch-off and relax, I inevitably end up checking emails and social media notifications. Not having internet access forced me to truly appreciate my surroundings and practise mindfulness; something I struggle with in my daily routine. I was totally (and literally) wrapped up in the comforts of the lodge.
PLEASE NOTE: Guests who simply cannot live without the interweb, can take advantage of the free WiFi at Kirnan House, which is a short walk or drive from the lodge.
Woodcock Lodge has everything you need to mimic my shameless, hermit-like antics. The kitchen is fully equipped with top-notch cooking facilities – cooker, grill, microwave, kettle, coffee maker etc. – plus all the essential utensils and appliances. I loved the thoughtful wee details; the country-themed accessories, rose gold fixtures, and unusual cupboard handles.
When the weather permits, you can cook and dine alfresco in the outdoor entertainment space – which features a BBQ, pizza oven, fire pit and picnic table – or follow the fairy lights to separate, sheltered BBQ hut. Don’t forget the huge hot tub with views of the surrounding glen and unpolluted star-lit sky.
Back inside, the designer sofa is calling out to all couch potatoes, who can tune into the HD TV, or the crackling flames from the log-burner. I quickly marked my territory on sofa, cocooned in the fur throw from the bedroom, and left my sidekick to sit at the oak dining table, or on the rug in front of the fire. I’m such a charmer! Arran smoked garlic cheddar on rosemary and sea salt crackers was the snack of choice, along with pizza and red wine. There was music, there was laughter, and there was perfect silence (not for long with me around, I might add – haha).
What more can I tell you? Woodcock Lodge absolutely screams out ‘romance’ and ‘relaxation’. The copper bath is a dream, and the bed takes comfort to a whole new level. From the gorgeous textured fabrics and underfloor heating, to the log-fire and ambient lighting, Woodcock Lodge takes life’s simple pleasures and wraps them in luxury.
Worth not getting out of bed for, if you ask me.
- Prices start at £150 per night for Woodcock Lodge
- To check availability or to book please visit the Kirnan Estate website
Places to visit near Woodcock Lodge.
Inveraray (31 miles)
On the drive from Edinburgh/Glasgow to the estate, you pass the lovely town of Inveraray on Loch Fyne. It may be small, but there’s lots to do. Visit Inveraray Castle and Inveraray Jail, climb Dun na Cuaiche, and reward yourself with treats from Brambles Café. Read about the time I fell in love with Inveraray.
Isle of Gigha (37 miles to Tayinloan ferry port)
Gigha is just a 20-minute ferry journey from the mainland, and the island can easily be explored in a day. Lunch or dinner at The Boathouse is a MUST, as well as a cycle to the twin beaches and Achamore Gardens. Check out my other reasons to visit the Isle of Gigha.
Islay (24 miles to Kennacraig ferry port)
A day trip to Islay would be very rushed, however you could extend your west adventure and spend a bit longer on the island. Islay is, of course, most famous for its signature peaty whisky, and the many distilleries where it is produced; Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg are some of the best-known brands. If whisky isn’t your thing, go for seafood in Bowmore, seal watching in Portnahaven, live music in Port Charlotte, and visit the ancient seat of the MacDonald chiefs at Finlaggan. You could also hop over to the neighbouring Isle of Jura for the day.
Kilmartin Glen (6.7 miles to Kilmartin Museum)
The area around the village of Kilmartin has the highest concentration of Bronze Age and Neolithic monuments in the country, and is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. You’ll find cairns, carvings, cup & ring marks, and standing stones. Kilmartin Museum captures 6000 years of human history and exhibits a range of artefacts which have been unearthed in Kilmartin Glen, and elsewhere in Scotland.
- Kilmartin Museum is open from 10:00 to 17:30 (1st March – 31st October) and 11:00 to 16:00 (1st November – 23rd December)
- Entry costs £7 per adult, £2.50 per child (under 16), free for children under 3, and £6 for concessions
- You will need a car to drive around the various monuments. A map is provided by the museum.
Crinan Canal (8.8 miles to Crinan village)
The Crinan Canal is affectionately known as the “most beautiful shortcut in the world” and it’s easy to see why. The 9-mile canal, which opened in 1809, connects the Atlantic Ocean at Crinan to Loch Fyne at Ardrishaig. Walk, cycle or drive down the canal for bonnie vistas of the coast and to watch boats pass through the picturesque lock system.
- Check out the one-way walking route along the canal on the Walk Highlands website
- Crinan Cycles offer bike hire from a half day to a full week. For information and prices visit their website here
Boat trips to Corryvrechan (8.8 miles to Crinan Harbour)
Embark on a water-based adventure to discover wildlife, whirlpools and stunning west coast scenery. Ross & Diane from the Kirnan Estate have some amazing memories from this trip, when they were surrounded by dolphins – they have videos to prove it. This is definitely on my list for next year!
- Boat trips to Corryvreckan take around 2.5 hours from Crinan Harbour and cost £35 per adult and £25 per child
- For more information and to book visit the Venture West website
Would you like to escape to Woodcock Lodge?