Forest bothy development gets underway in the Cairngorms

CAIRNGORM Bothies has been granted planning permission to build a unique Highland country retreat, a new £600,000 development in the heart of Royal Deeside.

Located on the edge of the Cairngorm National Park, the project could see up to 18 bothies built within the 870 acre Blelack Estate near Aboyne over the next three years. Self-catering with luxury en-suite facilities, each bothy will be set in a secluded private spot.

Work on the first six bothies started in November 2019, with the first phase due for completion in March 2020, ready for opening at the start of the new season in April. There are also plans to install another twelve before Q2 of 2022. The Cairngorm Bothies development is expected to support six jobs in the region.

The development has been designed by a local architect, Gerry Robb Architectural Design Services and constructed by local builder, Scott Duthie Joinery Limited and interiors fashioned by local freelance designer, Shirley Forbes. To minimise environmental impact, the foundations are constructed using a ground screw method which minimises the impact to tree roots and soil disturbance within the 100-year old Scottish pine forest. 

Powered by a solar farm and with water sourced from a purpose-built bore hole tapping into an underground reservoir, the self-sustaining development will be entirely off grid. Each bothy will feature a wood burning, hot plate stove oven, making use of waste products from surrounding forestry operations and providing warmth and comfort even on the darkest, coldest of days.

In addition, each bothy will have a unique identity and be carefully positioned within the woodland to ensure guests have a private spot with plenty of space to accommodate their needs. A number of bothies will also be fully equipped with disabled facilities and be custom-built for wheelchair access.

Cairngorm Bothies will be a sister development to the successful and established Cairngorm Lodges which comprises five luxury cabins. Since opening in 2011, Cairngorm Lodges has welcomed more than 4,000 guests from across the globe, travelling from as far as Australia.

Surrounded by nature the location is a popular spot for dog owners, keen hillwalkers, cyclists and families, and is also ideally located for wildlife photographers looking to capture rare shots of the birds, roe deer and red squirrels that inhabit the forest.

Alan Benton Cairngorm lodges manager, commented: “The bothies have been designed to fit within their surrounds perfectly. Nestled enviably within one of Scotland’s most enchanting forests, the new site provides a perfect setting for those seeking to escape the city for a short break in the peaceful countryside. The new development will appeal to a much wider audience, with a range of packages available to suit all ages and budgets.

“Protecting local wildlife and improving the surrounding landscape, whilst supporting the local community has always been extremely important to us. We are committed to create a sustainable, vibrant, viable and functioning tourist destination as ethically and as environmentally friendly as possible. We want our visitors to enjoy and appreciate a bio-diverse environment while exploring everything the area has to offer.”

Cairngorm Lodges is a member of the Green Tourism Scheme which is the leading sustainable tourism certification programme in the UK. As a gold award holder, it has demonstrated the highest standards of sustainability with a strong, broad ethos and practices. Cairngorm Bothies aims to achieve the same status.

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