A waterside cottage at Loch Tay made a honeymoon with a view for recently married Cheryl Livingstone
We were getting married and had everything planned and in place apart from the honeymoon.
There was too much choice and we couldn’t decide whether to go abroad or do something a bit different and have a staycation trip.
Seeing as it was “the biggest day of our lives”, we decided to spoil ourselves and do both. So once the knot was tied and we had spent seven days soaking up the sights and sun of Dubrovnik in Croatia, we returned to Aberdeen for a few days before jumping back in the car and heading for Perthshire.
Our destination was Loch Tay, somewhere I had never been, but where my new husband spent many a happy summer in his childhood.
He had told me it was one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland, but that didn’t prepare me for the gorgeous scenery we were surrounded by for the next few days.
We were staying at the Taymouth Marina, a site originally known as Croft na Caber and now owned by local couple Eric and Naomi Strickland.
The marina has been carefully planned to build on the potential left in the wake of the closure of Croft na Caber and set in the stunning surrounds of Highland Perthshire, on the shores of Loch Tay and offering some of the most spectacular views in Scotland.
Both its restaurant and watersports centre have been refurbished as well as its self-catering accommodation. Our accommodation for the weekend, Lochside Cottage, has also been given a makeover.
The cottage is exactly what it says on the tin – situated right on the lochside, so close that a few wee ducks kept swimming up and wandering over to the house.
The view as you make your way down the driveway to the cottage is amazing and the property is equally impressive.
From the outside, it has all the character and charm of a rural period home, but inside, it has been sympathetically updated.
A large dining table takes pride of place in the sun room while the large kitchen is stocked with every appliance you could want. In the lounge, two large cosy couches are the perfect seat to enjoy the flatscreen TV and the even cosier wood-burning stove.
There are three bedrooms, two with double beds and one with bunk beds, an en suite and another bathroom with shower over the bath.
Another feature that became a particular favourite was our own hot tub. Sitting looking out at the gorgeous scenery was definitely our kind of relaxation.
With so much space, we had invited my parents along to enjoy a weekend away as well, and once we had settled in, we decided to explore the local area.
Our adventures began with a boat trip around the loch where we even had a go at driving the vessel. It was a fun trip and our driver, Stuart, thoroughly entertained us with his humorous stories and interesting facts about the area. The boat trip is just one of many activities available at the marina including canoeing and sailing.
Next, we decided to explore the area and headed into Aberfeldy. After looking at a number of places of interest including the Black Watch monument, which commemorates the first muster of the Regiment in May 1740, we decided to make the most of the good weather with a walk.
We headed for Weem Woods, situated on a steep craggy slope above the village of Weem, to the north-west of Aberfeldy. The ancient woodland is home to many legends of dragons and demons which are said to have haunted the cliffs and caves on the craggy slopes.
The climax of the walk presents stunning views from St David’s Well, a hermit’s retreat used by St Cuthbert in the early days of Christianity.
Scattered throughout the wood are more recent elements of public art that conjure pictures of myths and legends.
It’s a nice walk that gets the heart rate going but is easy enough that most people could do it. On the way down, we were on the look-out for the carvings and found what we believed was a dinosaur head – which as fans of Jurassic Park was a massive scoop – and a dragon. We ended our day with a road trip around the entire loch.
Feeling suitably hungry after our adventures, we headed over to the Marina’s restaurant, an elegant and relaxing area which makes the most of the scenery with ceiling-to-floor windows.
The menu was equally impressive, with plenty on offer to get our mouths watering.
While my mum tried the soup of the day – French onion – I tried the Caesar salad with oak-smoked chicken while my husband tucked into Cullen skink.
All three were an absolute treat. My only criticism would be there was too much of it. We were almost too full for the rest of the meal – until we saw the main courses.
I tried the roasted rump of Scottish lamb with parmentier potatoes and a garlic and rosemary jus, my mum tried the stuffed chicken supreme with basil and smoked cheese, fondant potato and cafe au lait sauce while my husband went for the confit of barbary duck leg and smoked Rannoch breast with chive mash and a cointreau scented jus.
All three meats were cooked to perfection – I know because I tried each dish and can’t decide which one I liked the most.
To finish, we had a rich dark chocolate marquise with mint syrup, which was very moreish.
It was an all-round delightful evening and the fact that we could roll off our seats and into the hottub was the perfect after-dinner treat.
The next day, we explored the surrounding area and with Perth, Dunkeld and Pitlochry on our doorstep, Perthshire was our oyster.
Taymouth Marina, Kenmore, Perthshire
Call: 01887 830216
Visit: www.taymouth marina.com
Prices for Lochside Cottage: short breaks from £700 (off peak), and from £850 (peak). Week stays for £1,500 (off peak), and £1,800 (peak)