Top of the lochs: This Scottish beauty is where Queen Victoria had her honeymoon, it inspired an Ed Sheeran song… and there’s a joyful absence of noisy powerboats
- Emma Cowing explores Loch Tay, which is tucked away in Highland Perthshire
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Late afternoon on an early spring day and the surface of Loch Tay is like glass.
A sprinkling of snow covers the nearby hills while the fading sun casts rugged reflections on the water. If you had one, you could indeed hear a pin drop.
Loch Tay is tucked away in Highland Perthshire about an hour north of the city of Perth.
You won’t find the noisy powerboats that beset Loch Lomond here nor the clamorous hordes of monster-hunting tourists who lay siege to Loch Ness.
Instead there is a stillness and privacy, not to mention scenery so spectacular it once seduced Queen Victoria, and inspired an Ed Sheeran song.
Rural splendour: Emma Cowing tours around Loch Tay in Highland Perthshire. Above is the ‘absurdly pretty’ lochside village of Kenmore
There are four boathouses, part of the larger portfolio of luxury holiday retreats owned by the Loch Tay holiday company. Perched on the water, our house, Dipper Lodge, stands on stilts, its floor-to-ceiling windows giving uninterrupted views of the loch. It feels wonderfully remote.
The likelihood of bumping into another guest is highest en route to the woodshed when picking up more logs.
The magnificent wood-burning stove is the only heating you need, even when the Highland mists draw in. Other than that, the only signs of life we spot during our stay are a pheasant outside our bathroom window and a heron flying above the loch, its wings so low they graze the water.
It is an area that has proved popular with celebrities, specifically because of its privacy. J.K. Rowling has a house near here. Actor Alan Cumming, who grew up in nearby Aberfeldy, returns frequently. Ed Sheeran is a regular visitor to the area, so much that The Hills Of Aberfeldy, on his upcoming album, is dedicated to the landscape.
Then there is the magnificent Taymouth Castle, which perches serenely at one end of the loch.
Back in 1843 it played host to Queen Victoria’s honeymoon — one she loved so much it kick-started her love affair with Scotland and ultimately led to her being given Balmoral as a gift.
The magnificent Taymouth Castle, pictured, ‘perches serenely’ at one end of the loch
The loch’s scenery is ‘so spectacular’ that it inspired an Ed Sheeran song, Emma reveals. Back in 1843, Loch Tay’s Taymouth Castle played host to Queen Victoria’s honeymoon
‘Perched on the water, our house, Dipper Lodge (pictured), stands on stilts, its floor-to-ceiling windows giving uninterrupted views of the loch,’ writes Emma
Emma says that Dipper Lodge ‘feels wonderfully remote’
The castle is undergoing a £300 million revamp under the watchful eye of its new owner, American billionaire John Paul DeJoria, who founded Paul Mitchell hair care systems. In the 90s, Madonna and Cher expressed an interest in buying it.
If you’re staying for a few days, there are plenty of peaceful pleasures to explore. The nearby village of Kenmore is absurdly pretty while the larger town of Aberfeldy is perfect for supplies and a wander up to Dewar’s Distillery, which offers regular tastings and tours.
There are walks aplenty while, for the more adventurous, Highland Safaris offers 4×4 off-road trips to spot wildlife that can include red deer, mountain hare and golden eagles.
On colder nights, Dipper Lodge’s hot tub provides the ideal balm against the chilly temperatures
A bird’s eye view of the loch. ‘You won’t find the noisy powerboats that beset Loch Lomond here nor the clamorous hordes of monster-hunting tourists who lay siege to Loch Ness,’ writes Emma
For those hunkering down at Dipper Lodge, there is no end of more familiar creature comforts.
Built as a studio with a cosy bed on a platform at one end, there is also a well-stocked kitchen, bathroom with underfloor heating, and a balcony for those warm evenings when dining outside seems by far the most appealing option.
On colder nights, the hot tub provides the ideal balm against the chilly temperatures.
From there, gazing across the darkening loch, it’s easy to imagine that you have this vast, silent landscape all to yourself.
Dipper Lodge costs £750 for three nights and £1,550 for a full week (lochtay.co.uk). To book Highland Safaris visit highlandsafaris.net.
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