Travel: Kabn Company, Cairndow - find off-grid bliss in a country cabin on the shores of Loch Fyne

This is the ideal spot for seal watching
Kabn at night Pic: Asad IqbalKabn at night Pic: Asad Iqbal
Kabn at night Pic: Asad Iqbal

It was a last-minute decision to pack my swimming costume.

We’ve stayed in properties that have been billed as lochside before, only to discover on arrival that there’s a road or some other barrier between us and the water.

My plans for a dip are always foiled.

Interior of Kabn Pic: Asad IqbalInterior of Kabn Pic: Asad Iqbal
Interior of Kabn Pic: Asad Iqbal

Not so with the Kabn Company on Ardkinglas Estate. The eco-friendly business, owned by Charlie Teale and Amber Pledge, consists of two peaceful cabins, each inspired by Scandinavian design and Japanese minimalism, and situated right on the shore of Loch Fyne.

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You are practically touching distance from the seals, who lounge on the rocks nearby and pass by the house regularly, as if they’re commuting. We even spotted a chihuahua-sized pup who was so newborn that its head was all wobbly.

When you’re that close to the water, there’s no excuse.

First thing in the morning, we tramped down to the beach, which is pebbly and scattered with inky blue mussels and the occasional oyster shell, so the feet get a rather stimulating massage as you creep into the chill water.

Interior of Kabn Pic: Paul MillerInterior of Kabn Pic: Paul Miller
Interior of Kabn Pic: Paul Miller

Once I was up to my neck, my arms got tangled in the bladderwrack, so I could only do two feeble metres worth of breast stroke, but it was still a thrill. At last, I can tick wild swimming off my list.

After that, I craved the comfort of our 27-square-metre Kabn 1, with its black painted exterior and interior lining of honey-coloured plywood.

It’s surrounded on three sides by silver birch trees and positioned 100m away from Kabn 2, so you wouldn’t know anyone else was in the vicinity, unless, as we did, you pass another Zen-looking couple while hiking the paths on either side of the house.

I don’t think the local wildlife is that aware of the human presence either. One morning, we had a visitation from a red squirrel with a completely white tail, who sauntered past our cabin in a leisurely fashion. It didn’t even notice us, crunching our muesli within our cabin-cum-hide.

View of Kabn from shore of Loch Fyne Pic: Asad IqbalView of Kabn from shore of Loch Fyne Pic: Asad Iqbal
View of Kabn from shore of Loch Fyne Pic: Asad Iqbal

Inside each space, there’s a selection of post-loch-dip hypothermia-beating-perks.

These include a wood-burning stove, which you probably wouldn’t want to use in the summer, rainfall shower and big fluffy towels.

My feet were quickly transformed from blue to pink.

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They bill this place as being off-grid, which always makes this city girl panic.

It turned out that there is plentiful solar-powered electricity and 4G, so we could satisfy our late-to-the-party Succession addiction. We watched this in the king-sized bed, which features organic, sustainable and Fairtrade bedding. The small but luxurious cabin is partitioned into three areas, with the lounge and kitchen, with a comfy V-shaped sofa seating, a bar eating area and floor to ceiling windows, at the front, and the bedroom in the middle and shower-room at the back.

As far as cooking goes, they’ve got a hob in the cabins, along with a fridge and small freezer, all the utensils and spices, tea, coffee, and olive oil you could need, a stove insert and a Weber charcoal barbecue outside, on the gravel drive, where there’s also a table and seating.

We did a spot of extreme barbecuing in the rain and I think the food tasted better for it.

Should you want to go out to eat, you’re about 29 minutes drive from the excellent Inver at Cairndow, and the Loch Fyne Oyster Company Restaurant & Deli is just 13 minutes away.

The Kabn Company has also teamed with chef William Hamer, to create the Wild Kabn Kitchen experience. It involves a private dining experience or supper club, which incorporates a five-course tasting menu, for £95pp. We signed up at the very last minute, and were so glad not to have missed our magical dinner in a fig-tree-filled glass house on the lush grounds of Ardkinglas House.

The walk back to the cabin at dusk was the opportunity to absorb our holiday.

The squirrel, seal, surroundings and dinner, made for a collection of perfect summer moments.

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Not to mention the wild swimming. I’m very glad that I packed the costume.

A stay with the Kabn Company, Cairndow, starts from £235 for a minimum stay of two nights and £220 per night for stays of three or more nights, see From October to February, dogs can now stay for an additional charge of £50 each, 10 per cent of which will be donated to the Scottish SPCA.



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