The iconic treehouse at The Lodge on Loch Goil celebrates its 15th birthday this month - but how did it come to be?
Built around a mature Scots Pine tree in November 2004, the treehouse has become a much loved and memorable feature on the shore of Loch Goil. Originally built as a unique feature to attract clients to the venue, the popularity of the treehouse as a unique events, wedding, meeting and dinner venue has increased hugely.
Managing Director Iain Hopkins was looking for something different and unusual to attract clients from the fashion and advertising industry to use as a unique location for campaigns.
He says: "When I came up with the idea to build a treehouse my friends and family thought I was mad and that it was a bit of a Jack and the Beanstalk scenario. Everyone said that I should use the money more wisely and build an extra bedroom at The Lodge on Loch Goil as they thought that a treehouse would become a white elephant!"
Always on the hunt for something new for the property, Iain already had his sights on a large Scots pine, which he thought would work well as a home for a treehouse. After sketching a few ideas, Iain contacted a treehouse design company to turn his vision into reality.
Once it was completed in November 2004, Iain and his family were the first ones to have dinner there - a traditional they've kept by enjoying Christmas dinner in the treehouse every year.
“We can’t believe 15 years have already passed," he says. "The treehouse started as a crazy idea, and now it feels like a member of the family. People from all over the world know us as the place with the treehouse, and we feel that its story has only just begun."
Soon after its construction the treehouse quickly established itself as a popular backdrop for fashion shoots and advertising campaigns,as Iain predicted it might. Companies including British Vogue, Marie Claire, GQ, Esquire and Burberry have all utilised the unique setting as a photography location.
It has also been the subject of several features in print and online media, including The Scots Magazine, The Daily Mail, Harpers Bazaar, Buzzfeed and Conde Nast Traveller.
Several famous faces have also enjoyed the space, such as Helena Christensen, Kathie Lee Gifford, Craig Ferguson, Ford Kiernan and Elizabeth Hurley.
"Last summer we had the final scenes of an American film. “ The Came You" was filmed in the treehouse and the film is soon to be released. It's about a widow who comes to Scotland after the death of her husband and falls in love with a Scots man (Craig Ferguson).
"Apparently when the movie is released there will be 1000’s of rich American Widows heading to Scotland to fall in love and find the man of their dreams," laughs Iain.
Ford Kieran, Elizabeth Hurly and Craig Ferguson co-star in the film, with writer and star of NBC's Good Morning America, Kathie Lee Gifford, taking the leading role.
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What is it used for?
As well as a great shoot location, the treehouse has been used, amongst other things, as a meeting venue, yoga studio, mindfulness retreat and a much sought after wedding venue.
Iain says: "15 years later and the tree house at The Lodge on loch Goil has become the most famous treehouse in the world and has been used in fashion shoots, TV commercials, films, private dining, elopements, wedding proposals, corporate mergers, private poker schools, yoga and Ti-Chi studio, writers workshop, artists retreats and afternoon tea venue, not to mention over 1000 weddings.
"We now have couples who were married in the early days returning with their children to have dinner and show them where mum and dad got married.
"Private dining has proved very popular and we have family groups and groups of friends arriving by boat to our private moorings to have dinner in the treehouse." Iain says.
"We have had billionaires and millionaires dine here but the only time of year when its not available is Christmas Day - that's when I have our family Christmas dinner there."
The Lodge on Loch Goil is a restaurant with rooms and exclusive use venue located on the shores of Loch Goil, with a backdrop of stunning mountain scenery.
Just over an hour’s drive from Glasgow, this Victorian private country house built in 1864 is a 5-star venue which was recently awarded two rosettes by the AA. It is open to both residents and non-residents, as well as offering options for bespoke, luxury weddings and private group dining.
As part of the month-long celebration of the treehouse’s 15th birthday, The Lodge on Loch Goil is offering 15 per cent off all activities booked during November. More information about this can be found on their website.