According to the website Avernish Lodge is situated on the banks of Loch Alsh, with stunning views over Eilean Donan Castle, is miles from any passing traffic and serenity is guaranteed. This is a 100% accurate description and just what we needed before winter took hold in Scotland.
Slightly further north than our trip in October back to Crosple Cottage Loch Melfort, Avernish Lodge is ideally placed to explore the Kyle of Lochalsh and another great excuse for a journey via Glencoe.
We set off a little later than planned meaning we arrived at Avernish just as the sun was going down; when we approached the village of Dornie, Eilean Donan Castle was magically lit up to honour the 100-year Armistice celebrations. What a welcome to the area!
As we turned off the main road it felt like the local pipistrelle bats were guiding us along the track as the light faded for the day. Avernish Lodge, completed in 2016, is about a mile off the main A87 road down a quiet single-track road which gives access to several crofts scattered along the banks of Loch Alsh.
The lodge sits in an elevated prominent position on the hillside with unrestricted views over the loch and over to Glas Eilean, a small island in the middle.
It was a first for us arriving in the dark and little strange, however, as soon as we entered the lodge we were at home. The lodge is finished to an extremely high standard and has been very well looked after by guests and owner James.
You enter the lodge via a handy utility room with a sink, washing machine, tumble dryer and a drying cupboard for hanging up outdoor clothing.
The living area is large with a high-pitched roof, it’s a modern open-plan well equipped space complete with a log burning stove, HD television with Sky TV, Wi-Fi Internet and a solid wood dining table separating the living area and the kitchen.
The bathroom and en-suite are also very impressive adding to an already luxurious experience.
Our biggest decision when we arrived was which of the two bedrooms, we were going to sleep in.
The largest bedroom can be set up as two single beds or a super king, but the views from the slightly smaller en-suite bedroom overlooking Eilean Donan made it an easy choice for us.
There was something enchanting about falling asleep with the castle lit up in the distance. We didn’t fully appreciate the stunning view until the next morning – waking up to a glorious sunrise over the loch was even more special.
When we entered the living space the next morning the extent of the views of Loch Alsh from the floor to ceiling windows was mesmerising.
We both had our eyes on the luxurious rotating chair positioned in the corner window – luckily it was big enough to fit two! Many a morning started sitting here with a coffee enjoying the views.
Our ‘batch’ cooking at Crosple Cottage was a real success so we did the same again for our break at Avernish.
Again, we just needed a few pots and of course a microwave to prepare our meals, but the kitchen is fully equipped for the more adventurous chef to rustle up some local delights, but a must visit place is Buth Bheag seafood shack in Kyle of Lochalsh to stock up and sample some local produce.
The dining table was perfect place to relax, enjoy the view whilst tucking into a piping hot bowl of soup or casserole as well as a glass (or two) of red.
All rooms, including the living space, are fitted with independently controlled underfloor heating, which is great. A word of warning though, it can get very warm if the temperature is set to high so take it easy on the first few nights especially if you need to use the log fire as it heats up the large living area in no time.
During our week we were very lucky with the weather; November in Scotland can be sometimes unpredictable and very cold however we managed out every day to explore and most of the days the sun was shining.
On a couple of occasions, it was that warm we had to ditch the fleeces and jackets.
At this time of year, the daylight hours were short with the sun going down just after 4pm so as we returned to the lodge most days we could enjoy watching the sun go down.
Each of the bedrooms and living areas has a glass door that opens onto a paved patio area, offering outdoor access which you could make use of during the warmer lighter months.
Although the lodge is remote the broadband connection is not too bad and at a little over 5mbps allowed us to keep an eye on the weather, download some walks and fire up a Netflix box set to enjoy via our own Apple TV. The Smart TV also has a full Sky Sports and Movies package as well as access to a suite of apps such as BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Netflix etc, perfect for those cosy autumn evenings with a roaring log fire burning beside you.
As we said before when holidaying in Scotland there can only be one series to settle down and watch – Outlander. Season 3 was our choice this time round and like our accommodation didn’t disappoint – no spoilers, but we can’t wait for Season 4 to complete so we can binge on it during our next stay wherever that may be.
No box set would be complete without a nice Scottish Gin to accompany it, Makar was this week’s choice (one of Linda’s favourites) with a wee Drambuie to finish off most evenings. Afraid, we made the fateful mistake of discovering a Bonnie Prince Charlie’s aka Prosecco and Drambuie! Very nice – they certainly had the desired effect.
Worth pointing out that while fibre optic isn’t yet in the area the coverage of EE’s mobile 4g signal at the lodge was impressive at lmost 20-25mbps and Vodafone’s 4g was around 5mbps. Always good to know for those social media hungry people who like to keep in touch or book up their next trip!
The lodge is very close to a number of popular tourist attractions, such as; Eilean Donan Castle, The Isle of Skye, Plockton and numerous other castles, mountains and tourist hotspots.
A wee pit stop went down well at the Plockton Inn before we ventured over to Duncraig Castle to explore. That’s on our radar for a visit next year!
During our stay we always turned left when we left Avernish along the main tourist route towards Skye, maybe next time we’ll venture right.
All our walks and the towns / villages we explored were generally within about a 30-minute drive although we did venture over to the Fairy Pools on Skye on our last day – well worth a trip.
Wildlife encounters included seals, otters, mountain goats, red deer and roe dear not forgetting the local bats! Highlight was this close up encounter with a very friendly chaffinch as we set of to explore the Fairy Pools.
Would highly recommend spending time having a look at walkhighlands.co.uk our go to website before you arrive and plan a few walks to get you started.
This is our second year we have holidayed in Scotland at this time of year and we would highly recommend it. The roads are generally quiet, and, on many occasions, we didn’t encounter any other walkers when we were out exploring – check out the scenery in these pics.
Yes, some venues are closed or have restricted hours, but the great outdoors are well and truly open and not to be missed.
James has created a real place to get away from it all and it was a wrench to leave at the end of our stay. For those looking for luxury self-catering accommodation and a holiday experience in a picturesque setting Avernish Lodge is up there with the best.
We really can’t stress how relaxed we felt here overlooking Loch Alsh and Eilean Donan Castle and we would highly recommend a visit.
With so much to do in the area James has created a perfect base for you to return each day to relax, recharge and reflect on your adventures and, of course, sip a wee refreshment.
Although this was a discounted visit, the review is an independent and true reflection of our experience. Thank you to James for use of some property images in this article.