Taking a dip in water which has a rather chilly temperature of 1.5 degrees might not be for everybody, but it is a routine which Bob Whitehouse swears by.
The retired helicopter pilot takes the short walk from his conservatory to the outside swimming pool, and plunges in before warming up in the sauna.
Star-gazing from the hot tub finishes the night off nicely, and Bob swears by the ritual for a good night’s sleep.
It’s not difficult to be persuaded to go for a swim, when you can take in the panoramic view of the Aberdeenshire countryside.
Indeed, it was the unspoilt horizon which saw Bob take a chance on a rundown farmhouse 15 years ago.
Despite travelling the world with his astonishing career, Bob somehow found the time to reshape Meikle Ley into a stunning four-bedroom family home.
Tucked away up a hill in Tillyfourie, near Inverurie, this amazing property has been completely remodelled from the ground up thanks to an extension and endless TLC.
It even comes with its own bothy, landscaped walled garden and quirky architecture, which includes circular windows and original features.
To take a tour of the house is to realise the passions of Bob and his partner, Angela Baldacchini, and each room has been filled with unusual objects.
From Bob’s impressive collection of precious old books, to Angela’s thriving business making doll house miniatures, it is fair to say there is something rather extraordinary about the life they have created together.
Bob started his career as a BBC cameraman, working on sets such as Top of the Pops, before deciding to become a pilot.
He is now hoping to move at a more sedate pace, and to live closer to his three-year-old granddaughter.
Meikle Ley has been on the market for less than a month, but has already drummed up considerable interest. It’s not difficult to see why, and the couple will be sad to close the door for the final time.
“I fell in love with the view as soon as I saw it,” said Bob.
“I lived about a mile down the road when this place came up for sale.
“A farmhand lived here, it was very basic.
“I spent 35 years flying helicopters, which included seven years in search and rescue.
“I’ve operated all over the world, so it was a challenge to juggle the renovation.
“I just wanted to create a nice place to live. I had an architect, a builder and a few tradespeople.
“I actually really like DIY though.
“It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, you always have the view.
“You can see half of Aberdeenshire, it is the perfect place to be.”
Angela is in agreement, and often enjoys a gin and tonic in the hot tub.
“Going in the pool is fantastic; I like the Nordic-style routine,” she said.
“It’s good for your heart, plunging into the cold from the sauna.
“My sister still lives in Italy, she’s a nurse and she comes here on holiday.
“It’s an amazing way to de-stress.”
The couple both love cooking, and Bob made sure to include two hobs with nine rings in the dining kitchen.
There are also two ovens and two warming drawers, ideal for entertaining at large dinner parties.
Double doors provide access to the conservatory, which looks over the lower Don valley.
Clever features include a Mitsubishi climate-control unit, which regulates the temperature.
Double patio doors provide access to the spa area.
Head back through to the beautiful lounge where there is an inglenook fireplace. This room offers the ideal cosy spot for the winter.
You can also make yourself at home in the impressive library, which features a south-facing window and overlooks the garden.
This space doubles up as a bedroom, should you wish to transform it into a guest suite or teenage hideaway.
A home office, which has been claimed as a “studio” for crafting by Bob’s granddaughter, completes the accommodation on this level – alongside the utility room, pantry and shower room.
From the hallway, a pine staircase with carpeted treads leads to the first floor via a half landing, featuring a circular window.
“The builder wasn’t too happy about the window, he couldn’t see why on earth I wanted a window that shape,” said Bob.
“But I love it as a feature.”
The simple yet stylish master bedroom offers a porthole-style window to the north, plus Velux and bay windows.
There is a built-in wardrobe and en suite shower room.
Angela has worked her magic on the remaining two bedrooms, both of which have a theme.
“There is a books and travel room which we completed quite recently, with the added theme of Harry Potter,” she said.
“Then there is our more feminine guest room, which also has the original cast-iron fireplace.”
Completing the accommodation is the main bathroom, with original roll-top bath.
Outside, you’ll find a beautiful walled garden with gazebo, alongside a bothy which comes with full planning permission.
Up to 16 acres of surrounding land, a steading, large workshop, Dutch barn, three additional bothies and four dog kennels are available by separate negotiation.
“I started off with a nine-foot pool, but that quickly turned into a 32-foot pool,” said Bob.
“When I lived in Holland, I’d cycle home from work and go straight in the pool.
“I wanted the same thing here. I can honestly say we use it every night.
“It will certainly be difficult to leave, but we want to downsize.
“We think a family might love it here, it has been our perfect slice of seclusion.”
Offers should be made of more than £525,000.
Contact the owner on 07786 014309 or James & George Collie on 01224 572777.