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Dog Friendly Highland Cottage

Here is a beautiful Highland Cottage, sitting all on its own, right at the foothills of the Monadhliath Mountains near Inverness on the Lochness side. It is warm and cosy and dry. Electric heating can top up your choice of the two open fires. It sleeps four people in a double room and a twin room with shared bathroom. The slate roof and stone walls are original and fitting and a little garden that surrounds it makes for a perfectly calming place. The remaining two acres of ground are fenced in and gives space for a little stream and wild vegetation.

Front of the cottage.

This place was, many years ago, a little cottage belonging to a Scottish estate. It would have been used as accommodation for workers attending the cattle or sheep or land for a hundred years. There would be many children in the families and all sorts of happiness and all sorts of tragedies would have taken place in this cottage. Lots of very hard work too. The heating system would be the two open fires and as it sits today, the kitchen is an add-on, so before that, the kitchen would have been some arrangement in one of the rooms with a fire. In the winter the sheer effort to get enough firewood, peat or coal would have been a big part of the work. They would have grown some vegetables, but it would be hard to get much in the early spring. I think they talk about kale being the vegetable for the hungry months in the spring when it is the only green vegetable from last year is still in the ground.

On a positive note, of course, the access to fish would have been easier and presumably venison, depending on the landlords attitude. There would have been an abundance of waders that would provide a welcome few eggs in the spring and a house cow would have been part of the scene too along with hens, but altogether a really tough life. The cottage was sitting empty for about 30 years when a married couple with great interest in ornithology kept coming to the area to watch the waders and started to fall in love with what was simply a ruin. There were sheep living in the downstairs rooms and jackdaws in the chimneys along with various other birds nesting everywhere in the masonry.

Scottish estates are, as a general rule, very reluctant to sell off any land. It is a shame to see the ruins in the landscape, but it is understandable that they are kept within the estate. Many estates do some of these cottages up and rent them out as holiday homes, but many are simply ending up as rubble. The couple decided to ask the estate back in 1980’s if they would sell it. The old lady in the estate house said “No, but I would sell it to YOU”. So this is how a very special place fell in to the hands of two very special people. They spent several years working on the complete restauration of the cottage, using as much of the original materials as possible. The doors hanging off their hinges and the floorboards beautifully patterned with the traces of woodworm and generations of country workers were all preserved, sandpapered back and varnished. All modern plumbing and electrics were installed and the walls were insulated to match the new, modern insulating double glazed windows. Everything was done to the highest standard and the cottage was enjoyed by guests and the owners for many years.

Beyond the garden wall is wilder vegetation, still within the two acre grounds.

However, the time came eventually when it was for sale as age had changed life and plans for the couple, who so carefully and lovingly rescued this cottage.

Seeing the advert meant that we went to have a look. Well, we saw it in the paper on a Tuesday, viewed it on the Friday and I bought it on the Saturday. This was a place that could not be bypassed and we love it. We have put our own touch to it and, I hope, kept in a nice, country style. We added a luxurious kennel to it for dog owners that may have more than two dogs or who just prefer their dogs to live outside. The two kennels have each an indoor and an outdoor dog bed and the wooden floors are comfortable and soft.

Kennels at the cottage.

We have added two luxury dog beds to the living room as we are welcoming max two dogs in the house.

Asleep in a Tuffies Nest by the fire.

We have recently arranged that the cottage is available for holiday rent. It is the perfect escape for anyone who wants to relax and breathe in the mountain air. If your dog respects the fence (it is a little slack in the back end of the garden), he can roam freely and enjoy the space. You can see the sika deer grazing from the house.

Loch Ness is nearby and there are plenty of walks to do.

Of course it IS Scotland and you may have rain or you may encounter the midges, but that is what we have from time to time. The tranquillity and beauty is not found many other places. When the sun comes out, it is a fantastic dream land.

As you approach you often encounter the Highland Cattle on the road and if you drive very slowly, they will give way and let you pass. Roe deer jump across the road and you can hear the grouse, the curlews, the lapwings and snipe in the spring. The geese are yapping on the loch a few hundred meters away too.

The classic Highland Cattle.

If you are tempted to book a week, please get in touch on 01888 563288, ask for Luise or email on luise@tuffies.co.uk. See more here:  https://www.tuffies.co.uk/ballindalloch-cottage