Travel Review: Highland Shepherd Huts, Nethy Bridge, near Aviemore
Last year Zoe Hall established Highland Shepherd Huts near her home in Nethy Bridge with the aim of giving guests the chance to step back from everyday life, relax, unwind and embrace a slower, Highland pace, whilst still enjoying the comforts of modern living in luxury glamping accommodation. Unlike many kit versions, they are handcrafted from scratch by the owners, who know every piece of wood, screw, plumbing and electric cable. At the moment there are two Shepherd Huts, Corrie and Bothan available for booking, with a third due to be ready for spring.
In a sympathetically landscaped setting, the Huts are just outside Nethy Bridge which is known as the 'Forest Village' for its numerous walks and RSPB Abernethy Reserve. There are views to the Cairngorms across a nature reserve, with The Ptarmigan restaurant at the top of the funicular line at Cairngorm Mountain in view on a clear day.
With no light pollution and the crisp autumn starry nights here, travel restrictions allowing, what could be better than sitting by a fire pit outside with a glass of wine or warming whisky in hand?
The Cairngorms and the surrounding areas are perfect for the outdoor enthusiast and all of the activities on offer around the Aviemore area. The huts nestle in an area of woodland with views of the hills and a nature reserve with an abundance of wildlife on the doorstep – watch for the many squirrels, pine-martens, resident pheasant and hare, deer, the occasional osprey from the nearby Loch Garten and many smaller birds such as crested tits.
If you are looking from a break from the intensity of city life then there can’t be many better locations than this.
Guests can be sure of a deep clean before arrival and sanitiser is available outside each hut with sanitizing kits inside each. Be sure to check current travel restrictions and keep updated on any changes.
Budget or Boutique
Affordable and very reasonable for families, couples and households who want a peaceful break away from it all in their own space where they can prepare their own meals.
The first hut, “Coorie”, sleeps two and the second, “Bothan” can sleep a family of four. Coorie has a kingsize bed. The family hut, Bothan, has a kingsize bed on a mezzanine floor and a kingsize pull out bed underneath. With a woodburning stove in each and a clever use of space you will find everything you need and to top it off they both have fully functional kitchens and fully fitted shower rooms.
Wining & Dining
An escape from city life is what you’re after so don't expect catered restaurants or serviced bars at these huts but there are pre-ordered meal packs and drinks which can be arranged to be waiting for you to keep fuelled. Just arrive and start relaxing.
There are BBQ and fire pit facilities so outdoor dining and entertaining are a breeze with the added attraction of star gazing without the light pollution of the city.
Worth getting out of bed for
The local woodland walks, the abundance of lochs, trails, hill climbs, bike rides, skiing, paddleboarding and wildlife galore.and wildlife galore.
For hikers and bikers, the Cairngorm National Park is home to some of Scotland's top routes. The Speyside Way, one of Scotland's four long distance hiking routes, from Aviemore to Buckie 107k away, runs right past the Huts. If you fancy pony trekking, Rothiemurchus Estate or Alvie Stables will saddle you up for varied river and hill rides, while the stunning beaches at Loch Morlich and Loch Insh are ideal for sailing, canoeing, windsurfing and paddle boarding. When the skiing season starts, Cairngorm mountain is only a 20 minute drive away and for beginners, The Lecht is also within easy reach.
Nethy Bridge has a well-stocked village store, post office, butcher, the Nethy House Cafe, a nine-hole golf course, two hotels and tennis courts.
Why leave the dogs at home? After all they are part of the family. The huts are dog friendly and they might even have their own doggy welcome pack on arrival. Bikes are also available at Shepherd Huts.
With a log burner making the place feel cosy and the fantastic views, a warm welcome awaits in Nethy Bridge. Clever design and all the amenities you could need make the huts feel more spacious than you might think and the owners are on hand to make sure you enjoy your stay.
The huts are available from £95 per night. Campervans are welcome from £25 per night