It has been 23 years since the Ernie family relocated from Norfolk to Aberdeenshire, with no idea as to what lay in store.
Thankfully Christopher and Caroline fell in love with the village of Aboyne, where they decided to raise their children.
Catherine, Luke and Tommy loved the close-knit community, and often arrived home to the beautiful Deeside Lodge with school pals in tow.
Thankfully the former Victorian fishing lodge offered more than enough space for teenage gatherings, and the family room was a particularly favoured spot.
The trio have gone on to fly the nest, meaning Christopher and Caroline have taken the difficult decision to move back to England.
They certainly won’t forget the close-knit community in a hurry however, having been welcomed from day one.
“I was pregnant with Luke when we arrived, and Catherine was a toddler,” said Caroline, who is involved with voluntary work.
“We made friends so quickly, as plenty of people in Aboyne had young families.
“We were all in the same boat.
“The children loved growing up here, they ended up having to make a decision as to which activities they wanted to do – because there was so much on offer.
“The community centre is based at the school, so it is very integrated here.”
The couple had their eye on Deeside Lodge having moved into the village, but never imagined it would one day be their home.
“We already lived in Aboyne when the house came on the market, we didn’t think we stood a chance,” said Catherine.
“We’ve always loved old properties, we couldn’t believe it when our offer was accepted.
“It has been eight years since we moved in, although we have been in the village for far longer.”
The six-bedroom property was built in 1870 by the Marquis of Aboyne, and has been sympathetically extended several times.
Traditional features include exposed fireplaces, deep skirtings, a panelled ceiling, picture rails and sash and case windows.
Christopher and Caroline have been careful to preserve the lodge’s character, having added a double garage, new roof and new windows.
“That was very important to us, to keep Deeside looking as it would have been,” said Christopher, who works in the oil and gas industry.
“The centre of the village looks very traditional, which is something we’ve always loved about Aboyne.
“We spend most of our time in the kitchen, although Caroline is the cook.”
If you cross the threshold, you’ll be met by a striking double staircase – with dual open alcoves tucked beneath.
The beautiful drawing room offers gorgeous views of the grounds thanks to a large bay window, which comes complete with a window seat.
There is a granite fireplace housing a multi-fuel stove, ideal for the winter months.
“The drawing room is very peaceful, it was a room where we could escape,” said Christopher.
“There’s no TV in there, it’s a very traditional room.
“The children would often be in the family room with their friends, and we wouldn’t be able to hear the noise.”
There is a further cosy living room and dining room, so you’ll never be stuck for a place to unwind or entertain.
The lovely dining kitchen offers an integrated NEFF double oven and an under-counter fridge.
The extensive work surface areas are a combination of granite and solid wood, and incorporate a NEFF four-ring induction hob and a double ceramic Belfast sink.
The cream-coloured AGA is every cook’s dream, and you’ll be able to serve guests with ease thanks to a door which leads to the dining room.
The utility room provides space for white goods, and a pantry offers further storage.
One double bedroom can be found on the ground floor, and would be ideal for visitors thanks to the trendy en suite.
The remaining five bedrooms can be found upstairs, two of which have en suite shower rooms.
There are also two family bathrooms, both of which offer three-piece suites.
The grounds of Deeside Lodge are the crowning glory, with an orchard and raised vegetable beds. “The vegetable beds had not been maintained when we arrived, because the lodge was previously leased out,” said Caroline.
“They were overgrown with weeds, but we really enjoy gardening.”
You’ll find blackcurrants, raspberries and rhubarb, to name but a few offerings.
“We’ve also got apples in abundance, plus a plum tree and a cherry tree,” said Caroline.
A secluded paved terrace offers the perfect spot for alfresco dining.
“We really have loved Aboyne, and we think Deeside Lodge would be brilliant for a family,” said Christopher.
“We want all the rooms to be used again, and we hope the new owners will love Deeside Lodge as much as we have.”
Offers should be made of more than £795,000.
Contact Savills on 01224 971125.