KEVIN McAteer checks into Tinkerbelle Cottage, a window to the magical world of Glen Prosen
‘WHO is Scott Wilson?” the driver asked. We were some miles outside Kirriemuir – birthplace of Peter Pan creator JM Barrie (1860-1937) – following instructions on how, on a frosty night in rural Angus, we might find Tinkerbelle Cottage (Tinkerbell in some of the bumf). By the time I thought to reply, we were skirting up a forest road past the Scott Wilson memorial at the entrance to Glen Prosen, along which we duly encountered Balnaboth House, and nearby, glowing in the headlights, among trees and beside a rushing burn, the cottage itself, a turret-shaped former dairy turned holiday chalet suitable for two adults with a child (cot provided) and/or pet/s.
BUDGET OR BOUTIQUE?
The lights were on, and the key exactly where we expected, inviting us into the comfortably furnished two-level cottage, guided as three-star accommodation. The ground floor is open plan, with a stone-flagged floor, a wooden staircase leading to the pine-lapped en suite bedroom under the eaves with a skylight over the bed, perfect for viewing the night sky.
The self-catering, storage-heated cottage has a stove which burns coal and wood for extra warmth and a well equipped kitchen with excellent fan oven and ceramic hob, but no TV reception, though there is a video/Blu-Ray/DVD/dock. We soon had a fire roaring, had rustled up dinner and were slumped in our comfy chairs. Cocooned in Tinkerbelle (just like Pan’s Tinker Bell, a protective spirit) we sat chatting, then pored over the guestbook comments.
These suggested that Tinkerbelle has attracted young lovers, old romantics, young families, the self-reliant with child or pet and, occasionally, the convalescent. (One visitor mentioned that peacocks come nosing around at teatime every day. Rabbits, red squirrels and deer also abound.) A fitting mix for a real-life Wendy House. What Tinkerbelle isn’t is a holiday on a plate. In some ways it is like the window in the Darling children’s nursery, a portal to the larger, magical world of Glen Prosen, the 5,500-acre Balnaboth estate, the Angus glens, and the Cairngorm national park. Indeed, Balnaboth, where Barrie once holidayed, is a bit of a Neverland.
WINING AND DINING
This is a self-catering apartment, with all you need to prepare and store food. There are several places recommended by the owners to eat, such as The Drovers Inn in Dykehead, and lots of fine places in Kirriemuir itself and the surrounding villages.
WORTH GETTING OUT OF BED FOR
There is an extraordinary range of walks available and access to the Munros of Driesh and Mayar.
In winter there is the chance to see snow hares and rare birds such as the hen harrier and Scottish crossbill. There is also the opportunity, now the snow has arrived, for Nordic skiing.
After our all too brief stay, we slipped away like shadows, let out from a nursery drawer and did not see a soul until we reached the Scott Wilson monument. The Scott is Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912), the Wilson, Edward Adrian Wilson (1872-1912). The monument was erected in 2012 in memory of the two explorers who died side by side in the Antarctic wastes. Scott was also a friend of Barrie. It seemed somewhat fitting that such legends of adventure should have a monument that waymarks Tinkerbelle Cottage, a window to a world of play, at the spot now called Scott’s View, where the famous explorer once gazed upon the landscape of his dreams.
A small shared sauna is available at Balnaboth House at £15 an hour per group.
Tinkerbelle attracts the self-reliant and outdoorsy types as well as couples getting away from it all. Most guests are there to recharge their batteries in this Wendy House for adults. n
Property: Tinkerbell Cottage – Glenprosen, by Kirriemuir
Property ref: SAL
Contact: www.cottages.com / 0345 498 6900
Price: £280 (£46.68 per person per night.) for three nights’ self-catered accommodation arriving 6th June 2016. Sleeps two in one bedroom with one pet welcome.