Connect with us

Travel

Escape to Nature in the Scottish Highlands with Wildland – COOL HUNTING®

Published

on

This conservation and hospitality organization is on a mission to protect and restore the wilderness while providing opportunities for visitors to immerse themselves in it

Courtesy of Wildland

There can’t be many bathtubs in the world with a better view than the one at Kyle House, a remote cottage on Scotland’s scenic north coast that is operated by conservation organization Wildland. A window next to the freestanding tub looks out across heather-clad hills to the peaks of nearby Ben Loyal, with not another building or person to distract from the vista. As COOL HUNTING discovered on a recent trip to the Highlands, this connection between architecture and environment is at the heart of Wildland’s unique hospitality offering.

Wildland owns three vast estates covering approximately 200,000 acres of stunning wilderness in the Cairngorms National Park, Lochaber and the Sutherland region on Scotland’s north coast. The organization founded by Danish fashion billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen and his wife Anne is almost two decades into a 200-year program of landscape-scale regeneration that aims to restore these areas to their former natural state. As Wildland’s Director of Built Environment, Joe Dunn, explains, the accommodation complements this commitment to helping the land and local communities thrive, while providing opportunities for guests to experience the conservation effort first-hand. “We want people to have that visceral connection with nature when they visit Wildland and to really understand our mission so that hopefully they become advocates and supporters of conservation after they leave,” says Dunn.

Courtesy of Wildland

Wildland’s diverse property portfolio includes remote cottages such as Kyle House, as well as grand, exclusive hire venues like Aldourie Castle near Inverness and boutique guesthouses such as Killiehuntly Farmhouse. Some of these historic buildings were previously derelict, while others were in need of a thorough refresh to bring them up to modern standards. Although the various properties differ in style, there is a consistent focus on comfort, livability and creating luxurious yet unfussy spaces that people want to spend time in.

Our first night was spent at Glenfeshie Lodge in the Cairngorms, where wood-paneled walls and traditional Scottish decor complement the grand Victorian architecture. Breakfast and supper are served in a large dining room with views up the beautiful glen, while the lounge with its roaring log fire is the perfect place to put your feet up after a day exploring the countryside on one of Wildland’s top-of-the-range e-bikes. Guests at all of Wildland’s properties can choose from a range of outdoor activities aimed at immersing them in the Scottish scenery. From biking and hiking to fishing, wild swimming or Land Rover safaris, Wildland’s expert guides curate memorable adventures that deepen your appreciation for nature and the conservation story.

Courtesy of Wildland

Down the road at Aldourie Castle, a recent renovation has given this 12-bedroom property a new lease of life. With its stunning setting on the shores of Loch Ness, the 300-year-old Baronial castle is a popular venue for weddings or corporate retreats. We also visited nearby Killiehuntly Farmhouse, a cozy guesthouse where visitors can break bread together in the communal dining room, or share drinks in one of the artistically decorated lounges. 

From Inverness-shire we headed north through some of Scotland’s most dramatic landscapes to reach Lundies House, a former church manse overlooking a sea loch called the Kyle of Tongue. We ate lunch at a large table in the courtyard and borrowed Wildland’s custom-made changing coats for a quick dip in the North Sea before sipping drinks around the fire pit and enjoying a delicious dinner cooked by the property’s in-house chef. Wildland sees food as a crucial aspect of its efforts to create a welcoming and homely environment. Meals are prepared using seasonal local produce and are presented with finesse but minimal fanfare. Many of the properties have a communal larder so guests can prepare their own simple snacks, and an honesty bar so they can help themselves to drinks in the evenings. 

Courtesy of Wildland

The next day we headed out to see Kyle House, which is perched on a hillside with spectacular views toward the ocean in one direction and Ben Loyal in the other. The formerly derelict drovers’ cottage was renovated with help from Edinburgh architects GRAS, who created a series of monastically simple spaces using a pared-back palette of natural materials. Our final stop was Kinloch Lodge, a former shooting lodge sleeping up to 12 guests in a range of characterful bedrooms. A conservatory at the rear is the perfect spot for afternoon tea with a view of the surrounding mountains.

By the end of our three days with Wildland we all felt a deeper sense of connection with the landscape, having hiked, biked, swam and relaxed in some of Scotland’s most scenic spots. Wildland’s 200-year vision seeks to protect these wild places so current and future generations can continue to enjoy them, and its luxury accommodation is vital to this mission, supporting the communities who care deeply about the land they live on while providing experiences visitors will never forget. As Dunn points out: “We’re offering something no one else can—unique access to wild nature on our estates alongside amazing places to stay that each have their own distinct personality. It’s like having a backstage pass to the real Scottish Highlands, which is why guests keep returning again and again.”

AD SLOT: article_travel_incontent AD SLOT
CONTEXT: incontent

This placeholder is removed when the ad slot is configured.

Continue Reading