Initially constructed as a searching lodge within the 1800s, The Whispering Pine Lodge didn’t grow to be a lodge till the mid-1900s when it was often called Letterfinlay Lodge. Subsequent additions and renovations made it widespread with guests from England and Germany who would spend time searching and fishing round Loch Lochy. In the present day, this tranquil Highland retreat is the flagship property of Black Sheep Motels.
We arrived within the early afternoon and had been suggested on reception that the kitchen was open for lunch for one more half hour. Because it was a stunning afternoon and the solar was shining, fairly than checking in immediately, we opted as an alternative for an al fresco lunch on the Lochside Brasserie’s expansive terrace, with heavenly views of Loch Lochy. It was wonderful!
We stayed in room 6, a lightweight and ethereal pet-friendly Luxurious Loch View room with its personal personal balcony. The room provided a recent take a look at conventional Highalnds type, with darkish woods and a decor that acknowledged the lodge’s Scottish heritage.
The room has massive glass home windows that permit in plenty of gentle and that open sideways to let in loads of recent mountain air, in addition to a non-public balcony with scenic views of the glistening Loch Lochy and the pine forests past.
Within the room was a TV, free WiFi, tea and low services, complimentary water, a phone and so forth.
The room comes with an en suite with a bathe, basin and WC.
Aloe vera toiletries from the Highland Cleaning soap Co. are provied – wild nettle and heather shampoo, physique wash, conditioner and cleaning soap. Robes, slippers and a hairdyrer are additionally supplied.
Whispering Pine Lodge comes with its personal personal seaside providing direct entry to the loch – good for a calming stroll alongside the shore or, for anybody courageous sufficient, a spot of wild swimming.
The Burns Bar is a homage to Scotland‘s nationwide poet, Robert Burns – it’s a stunning little spot to have a pre-dinner drink, or to easily retire to after dinner to get pleasure from a wee dram. I think about it’s notably cosy and welcoming in winter with a fireplace crackling.
With its big image home windows giving a view of the loch wherever you sit, The Lochside Brasserie gives a novel eating expertise, and one of the best I’ve skilled in Scotland for some years. Like different Black Sheep Motels, native recent fish, seafood and traditional regional cuisines most of the dishes are ready with seasonal and native substances, typically with an revolutionary Asian twist.
The Steamed Mussels with saffron and white wine sauce, served with a slice of sourdough, is straightforward however executed superbly.
Equally, the Garlic Paprika Prawns – with calamari and Spanish chorizo, additionally served with a slice of sourdough, have a very smokey, scrumptious flavour.
From the starters, I’d additionally personally advocate the Hen tikka – Tandoori spiced hen items cooked in a tandoor, served with mint and coriander chutney – while my spouse totally loved the Cullen Skink – conventional Scottish soup with smoked haddock, potatoes and onions, swerved with a slice of sourdough – a lot that she had it twice.
Grilled Teriyaki Slamon – served with Asian greens and steamed rice
The Hen Hyderabadi – fragrant hen curry with fried onions, yoghurt and entire Indian spices – is actually tasty, as is identical dish served as an alternative with a lamb shank. Additionally look out for the Hen Amritsari – a conventional Punjabi hen curry.
And for the final word indulgence, attempt the Lobster Thermidor – a cheese-crusted Scottish lobster with thermidor butter, served with paprika potatoes.
We tended to forego dessert on all meals, content material with a starter and foremost… nevertheless, temptation received the higher of me on the final night time of our keep because of the Outdated-Common Chocolate Cake – a delightfully moist chocolate cake served with vanilla ice cream.
Black Sheep Motels take nice satisfaction in sourcing meals regionally the place they’ll – the fish is sourced from Iain Stewart, meats from Stuart Maclachlan of Lochaber Larder and ice lotions from Luvians in Perthshire.
Additionally notice that The Whispering Pine Lodge is residence to The Little Salon and Spa – a comfortable pine wooden salon that provides a whole vary of therapies for rest. Pamper your self with any one in all their physique massages, physique therapies, waxing, facials, manicures and pedicures, all provided by an skilled, pleasant crew.
Within the few days main as much as our keep, I truly had a nasty again so was just a little hesitant to attempt the Balinese Therapeutic massage however was glad I did. It’s a calming therapeutic massage that makes use of a mix of light stretches, acupressure and aromatherapy oils to stimulate the stream of blood and convey deep rest and wellness. In the meantime, my spouse loved her Abhyanga Indian Therapeutic massage which is an Indian Ayurvedic therapeutic massage that makes use of luke heat medicated oil and lengthy, light strokes which helps in cleansing, relaxes tense muscular tissues and improves metabolism. They each left us feeling suitably refreshed and had been a stunning finish to our stick with Black Sheep Motels
Among the many different accessible therapies is the Black Sheep Signature Therapeutic massage which is a novel belnd of East and West methods – a Thai-style therapeutic massage with yoga stretches, mixed with enjoyable aromatherapy to extend physique flexibility and calm down the thoughts.
The lodge’s picturesque location overlooking Loch Lochy, and solely a brief drive from the city of Fort William, make it a super place for friends to benefit from the Highlands. And only a 20-mniute drive from the lodging, passing the Commando Memorial devoted to the lads of the unique British Commando Forces, lies the Nevis Vary Mountain Expertise the place you possibly can take a mountain gondola (or cable automobile) to a top of 650 metres (from a beginning top of 100 metres).
The mountain gondola takes you up the north face of Aonach Mòr, the eighth highest mountain in Britain. It’s utilized by mountain bikers and paragliders within the Summer time and skiers within the Winter. It’s also widespread with walkers, providing entry to simple walks to Sgurr Finnisg-aig or Meall Beag, from which you’ll get pleasure from unimaginable views.
Sgurr Finnisg-aig appears to be like out throughout the Nice Glen and Hills of Knoydart and, by trying again in the direction of the course of gondola, from right here you may as well see the summit of Ben Nevis itself.
Additionally when within the space, I’d totally advocate taking a Loch Ness cruise. We went on a contemplation cruise on the Jacobite Insurgent, from Jaocobite Cruises, guided by Linda who clearly lived and breathed the loch (she can also be an RNLI volunteer on Loch Ness), and who was each informative and fascinating.
The Contemplation Cruise offers you a pleasant steadiness between studying in regards to the loch, its sights and the fascinating tales behind it out of your information, but additionally with some quieter intervals that can help you simply and take all of it in.
We embarked at Dochgarroch Lock, a part of the Caledonian Canal designed by Thomas Telford, earlier than going out onto Loch Ness, taking in views of the Dochfour Property, Bona Lighthouse the place fly fisherman had been casting close by, Aldourie Citadel, Dores seaside (the place monster-hunter Steve Feltham scours the loch from a transformed cellular library), Abriachan and Urquhart Citadel (the location of many a bloody battle throughout the Scots’ combat for independence).
We additionally realized all kinds of attention-grabbing details about Loch Ness on the cruise. As an example, do you know that it’s neither the most important loch by floor space, nor the deepest, however that it does maintain probably the most water. In truth, there’s extra water in Loch Ness (263 billion cubic ft of water) than in all of the rivers and lakes of England and Wales put collectively.
We additionally heared tales in regards to the Wellington Bomber crash touchdown on the loch, the water pace document try of John Cobb, and naturally tales about Nessie, earlier than returning to Dochgarroch Lock. For those who get the prospect, we’d spotlight advocate the expertise. In case you have a canine, she or he can include you additionally.
When driving again to The Whispering Pine Lodge, what I imagine to be a pine marten darted throughout the highway, lept up on to the crash barrier on the opposite aspect and scurried alongside the highest of it for just a few metres, earlier than disappearing into the grassy verge. Sadly there was not sufficient time to drag up and seize a digital camera, nevertheless it was beautiful to witness all the identical and all of the extra particular after I later found that there are stated to be solely round 3,700 grownup pine martens in Scotland.
Different good touches
A lot of treats had been supplied in our room, together with some nuts, Scottish shortbread fingers and a few praline candies.
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Backyard View rooms begin from £107.
Luxurious Loch View rooms begin from £226.
One of the best bit
The view! Whether or not it’s a brilliant, sunny day or a cloudy and dramatic one, you’ll by no means tire of the view. You may admire this beautiful surroundings from the Lochside Brasserie or the expansive terrace outdoors, from one of many loch view rooms or from the resort’s very personal personal seaside.
The ultimate verdict
The skilled crew of workers who exit of their technique to make you’re feeling welcome and relaxed, coupled with the standard of the lodging, the superb Asian-inspired delicacies, the bonus of spa services and, after all, the spectacular lochside view, imply that The Whispering Pine Lodge is bound to exceed your expectations.
Disclosure: Our keep was courtesy of The Whispering Pine Lodge from Black Sheep Motels.