At the heart of a beautiful 15,000 acre Aberdeenshire estate which rises up from the River Dye to the peak of local icon Clachnaben, are Glen Dye cabins and cottage. Offering up rural Highland adventures with a large dollop of luxury, let’s check into our home for the weekend, the North Lodge & River Cabin. Welcome to Glen Dye.
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Welcome to Glen Dye…
Overlooked by the magnificent granite tor of Clachnaben, Glen Dye is the brainchild of ‘luxury in the wilderness’ pioneers Caroline and Charlie Gladstone who up-sticked back to Scotland from London in the early 90’s and set out diversifying and regenerating Charlie’s 7th generation family estate.
30+ years later, Glen Dye now offers up eight luxury holiday cottages alongside more adventurous glamping options (including a 1950s airstream, a converted sawmill and a ‘garden camp‘) its own BYOB pub the Glen Dye Arms, all sitting on the banks of the River Dee in Kincardineshire.
So wind your way up the Cairn O’ Mounth mountain pass over the Grampian Mountains to Royal Deeside to the Glen Dye Estate and check in.
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North Lodge and River Cabin, Glen Dye
Our home for the weekend at Glen Dye was the North Lodge and River Cabin, a pretty three-bed self catering cottage which comes with its own fabulous cabin in the woods, an off grid hot tub and even its own stretch of the River Dye for wild swimming.
Inside, the North Lodge’s Georgian interiors have been lovingly restored to a super high quality and are a delightful quirky mishmash of antique and retro, with stripped floors, kilim rugs, comfy beds and lots and lots of art.
Downstairs there is a fully equipped kitchen with lots of wee extras including a mochamaker coffee machine and Figment coffee to grind. For lunch, dinner and snacks in between, you have a few options. North lodge is fully equipped for family style cooking or down at the river cabin there is the kind of BBQs, a green egg.
You can order Glen Dye groceries for your arrival – we tried the Glen Dye Estate wild venison casserole, but you can also order cheese boards from I J Mellis, seafood platters from The Lobster Shop in Johnshaven, and meat hampers from local butcher H. M. Sheridan.
Then there is a comfy living room with velvet sofas, and a vinyl corner for retro fans, and open fire place for when winter draws in – which it does at any time in this part of Scotland. Upstairs there are three bedrooms, two kings and a twin and a bathroom with a clawfoot bath.
Whilst North Lodge itself is rather lovely, it’s the River Cabin that gets all the attention. A few minutes walk down a private path to the river bank is your own woodland haven. A rustic cabin with a wood burning stove and space for indoor and outdoor dining and your own fire pit and wood fired hot tub – all next to the river for dipping. Heaven. No wonder they want to keep Glen Dye secret!
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Things to do at Glen Dye
If you can tear yourself away from your wood fired hot tub, the Glen Dye Estate is on your doorstep, and Clachnaben beckons to be climbed. With spectacular views from the summit, the hill can be climbed in a long morning on easy paths up through the woods.
Deeside forms part of the truly spectacular Cairngorms National Park and sitting on the River Dee are the lovely Victorian towns of Braemar, Ballater, Aboyne and the closest town, Banchory which is a 15 minute drive away. Visit Crathes Castle which is set within beautiful gardens and managed by the National Trust for Scotland or spot salmon leaping up the River Dee at the Falls of Feugh.
Further afield, Dunnotar Castle is one of Scotland’s most dramatic castles, and Craigievar Castle is probably the most insta-famous of all of Aberdeenshire castles – a vision in fairy tale pink. Ballater is the main hub of Deeside, with a bustling high street full of boutique shops and has a lovely restored train station.
The Balmoral Castle and Estate is the home of the Queen in Scotland is open from April to July for visitors. Explore the estate to find the Balmoral Cairns, historical memorials to the Royal Family including a huge stone pyramid for Prince Albert.
More things to do in Royal Deeside.
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> We stayed in the North Lodge and River Cabin
Glen Dye’s other properties including the Sawmill which sleeps two in an airstream and two in the keepers hut, the Garden Camp which sleeps up to 14 in a combination of a caravan, pre-pitched safari tent and bring your own tent pitches.
Glen Dye’s cottages include the family style the Coach House (which can also be booked as B&B) which sleeps up to 12, the two bedroom Hayloft, the thee bedroom Corner House, the one one bedroom Bothy, or two bed Number 2 Steading Cottage, or the four bed Number 4 Steading Cottage and Number 5 Steading Cottage, and the three bed Cuttieshillock with its artists studio.
Love from, Scotland x
I’m Kate – a travel writer and photographer living in Scotland. Love, From Scotland is the Scotland travel guide that shows you where to stay and how to get outside in Scotland.