A criminal-defence-lawyer-turned-entrepreneur has left his legal career in Edinburgh for a new life renting out woodland holiday cabins on Speyside.
Paul Cannavan launched his holiday lettings business, The Dell at Glenlivet, last month.
And with the world-famous Glenlivet Distillery almost on his doorstep, he is hoping to cash in on demand for accommodation in one of Scotland’s best-known whisky regions.
The many attractions of Cairngorm National Park and the area’s international “dark skies” status – great for stargazers – are also expected to pull in renters.
Moray start-up owner says his new cabins are ideal for ‘digital detox’
Mr Cannavan said: “The location is the ideal spot for enjoying the outdoors or whisky tourism, as well as escaping from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life and having a digital detox.
“We welcomed our first guests just last month and the initial response has been fantastic. Having the option for luxury accommodation so close to nature and the Cairngorms National Park is a big draw for people.”
Sustainability was a big focus as part of the design process.”
His four cabins are built from locally sourced materials, such as Scottish larch timber.
They also have ground screw foundations, as opposed to concrete, meaning minimal disruption to the local ecosystem. Their design boasts sustainable living credentials including a borehole fresh water supply and environment-friendly waste disposal.
Each cabin has an outdoor bathtub to take in the views.
And while they are connected to an electricity supply for power, there is no internet connection – which Mr Cannavan hopes will encourage his guests to “truly switch off“.
He added: “Sustainability was a big focus as part of the design process.
“I’m pleased the cabins have turned out so well, fitting in with the woodland surroundings and having a low-carbon footprint.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming guests from all over the UK and beyond throughout the years ahead.”
Family links to Moray
As well as a 15-year career in the legal sector, Mr Cannavan has previous experience in hospitality.
He holidayed on Speyside as a child and also had family links to the area before upping sticks from Scotland’s capital to launch his new business.
A former clay pigeon shooting site near the distillery allowed him to turn his idea into reality, while a £25,000 loan helped to cover the costs of building the hideaway cabins.
Barry McCulloch of the British Business Bank in Scotland said: “Hospitality and tourism businesses, particularly those linked to Scotland’s whisky-making heritage, are a vital part of our economy and continue to drive visitors from all over the world.
Lender says it’s exactly the type of business loan scheme was created for
“It’s great to have been able to support Paul with his escape from the city and a career change too. The Start Up Loans scheme was designed to support creative, ambitious entrepreneurs with the funding they need to take the leap into new ventures and become their own boss.”
DSL Business Finance loan officer Murray Marshall said: “It has been great to see Paul’s vision become a reality with a fantastic offering to tourists in the Moray region.”