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Take a break: Mains of Taymouth

The silvery Tay, a place to rest and play

Mains of TaymouthLooking out at the broad expanse of Loch Tay from the narrow stone bridge that marks the birth of the river that bears the same name must be one of the most splendid sights in the UK.

The gorge and its pond-like still waters can hardly be bettered for scenery while a range of facilities in the area makes it such an appealing get-away-from-it-all location.

On one side of the river is Kenmore village, home to Scotland’s oldest inn, and on the other the Mains of Taymouth, a country estate featuring a collection of five- star self-catering lodges fitted out to the highest standards, some with hot tubs and saunas.

On site is a delicatessen and gift shop stocked with Scottish produce and locally made crafts and clothing. The courtyard bar and restaurant hosts live entertainment and offers a takeaway service, but the quality of the menu makes at least one sit-in dining experience a must.

I enjoyed barn-reared Perthshire chicken supreme with haggis, black peppered turnip and buttered new potatoes in a whisky sauce. There was a good selection of wines and the bar has one of the biggest collections of malt whiskies in the area.

The estate has a nine-hole golf course, which my wife and I tackled twice. It is adjacent to the cottages which means simply loading up the golf bag and trolley and walking straight on to the first tee.

We also took advantage of the on-site stables to enjoy a one-hour trek through the woods and along the narrow road skirting the estate.

Off site there are plenty of other bars and restaurants to visit just a few minutes walk away and I would recommend the hot home made scones at the Taymouth marina.

There are, of course, limitless walking opportunities and one particularly fascinating attraction is the nearby Crannog Centre, just a 15 minute walk from the estate. This is a recreated Iron Age thatched roundhouse, one of several that once jutted out into the loch. There are guided talks and exhibitions of craft- working from 2,500 years ago.

Dewar’s World of Whisky distillery is only a short drive away near Aberfeldy which also offers a range of facilities and attractions expected in a small highland town. Chocolate fans will be unable to resist to a visit to Iain Burnett’s Chocolate Cente at Grandtully.

Otherwise, there are watersports and mountain biking opportunities at Kenmore. It is also worth the walk through the old archway in Kenmore to unoccupied Taymouth Castle, which has been maintained, along with its expansive but unused gold course, while it waits for a buyer.

Travel facts

Mains of Taymouth is 1.5 hours drive from Edinburgh Airport, 2 hours from Glasgow.

We stayed in a 1-bed Maxwell villa sleeping two, which is £200 for one night, £300 for two nights and £400 for three nights. Add £50 per night for a 2- bed Maxwell or Gallop. The prices are the same throughout the year.

A nine hole round of golf is £18.70 at weekends, £16.50 weekdays A one-hour trek (13 years old and over) is £33.

The main course at the restaurant was £14.95 and a bottle of Pierre et Papa rose wine was £17.90.

A visit to the Crannog Centre costs £8.50 per adult.

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