I leave a couple of my best Marcona almonds out on the balcony for Tufty.
This red squirrel has already been by a couple of times, and passing our treehouse seems to be one of her preferred routes.
The nuts disappear a couple of hours later, though we don’t see the bouncing flash of maroon and white going past this time. She is stealthy.
We’re staying at The Treehouses by Lanrick, on the Lanrick Estate between Doune and Callander. This destination opened back in September 2020, in the thick of lockdown, and each of the treehouses has been individually designed by owners Simon and Louisa Dickson, who have backgrounds in design and build, and African tours respectively. Apparently, they are opening more treehouses this autumn, though we couldn’t see any evidence of that yet. Perhaps they are deeper into the woods.
To be honest, we hadn’t been that excited about the trip. I’ve done glamping before, and it’s not totally my bag. Well, that’s what I thought we were in for, after skimming over the website. But, no, this is resolutely not glamping. It is total luxury, and one of the loveliest places I’ve ever stayed.
Apart from Wi-Fi and a telly, there is every home comfort in this upmarket version of an Ewok village. And there is 4G, if you really can’t do without Netflix and social media.
Our eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when we parked in the woodland, full of skinny silver birches, and walked up to our idyllic destination.
The treehouse, Flycatcher, is up on stilts, like the other four huts - Willowwarbler, Pipit, Treecreeper and Nuthatch. They’re all positioned so that you’re facing away from each other, and there’s enough space between each that you won’t hear a peep from the other residents.
However, Flycatcher is connected to Willow Warbler by a rope bridge. Both these properties have one double bedroom, though you can also add a sofa bed for an additional fee, and they can be booked together for larger groups. They both look out onto an adjacent field, and more woodland beyond.
Our open plan living and kitchen area features a wood-burning stove, with logs included, a Belfast sink, comfy sofas and armchairs, a dining table and all the mod-cons you need for proper cooking.
We have a smart bedroom that also looks out onto that huge 250 sq foot balcony, which has a tree growing through its middle and an electric barbecue. They’ve mixed in lovely ceramics, lots of textural cushions, tree trunks as side tables and paintings of the area, as well as reference books on the burgh of Doune or wild birds identification.
There's a standard shower room, but also - drum roll - an outside bath, which is private thanks to a wooden fence, so you can concentrate on the canopy of tree branches shimmering and rustling overhead. This tub is made of copper, all dappled with verdigris and it rumbles loudly as it slowly fills up. And, like a luxury hotel, they provide the Highland Soap Co’s Highland Lavender bubble bath and white cotton robes. Now, that’s what I call forest bathing.
There are enough walks on the estate to keep you busy. We took a bottle of cremant and some crisps down to The Hut that’s beside the River Teith. If you fancy your chances at fly fishing for trout or salmon, or otter spotting, you can stop here or follow the river further along, through Chapel Wood and Filter Wood, and a couple of meadows. Apparently, The Well Pool is the best place to spot these bashful mammals, but we weren’t in luck.
A shorter walk from Flycatcher takes you through the field and up to the folly that is The Stone Tree or the MacGregor Monument, which is estimated to have been constructed between 1800 and 1825. It’s around 18 metres high and is in the form of an oak - a Clan Gregor emblem - with pillars and ornamental pieces on top.
Of course, there’s much more to do in the area. The treehouses are four miles from the Trossachs National Park, while Doune Castle, Stirling Castle and Deanston Distillery are within 10 miles and Gleneagles is about 20 minutes away.
However, we decide to stay put. Our time was best spent staking out Tufty and forest bathing.
The treehouses are available from £410 for two nights on a self-catering basis. Visit www.lanricktreehouses.co.uk