Sometimes, when the stresses and strains of everyday life simply become too much, you feel that you really do have to get away from it all. And if you are looking for the ultimate place to chill, then Dunploddin, near Thornhill, Dumfriesshire in the south-west of Scotland, is the very place.
To reach it, you follow a tiny ribbon of road which you can see winding ahead of you into the hills along the Scaur Water, until, just when you are beginning to feel you are the last people on earth and wonder if there really is anything up there at all, you see the distant cottage, in a picturesque setting beside a tumbling stream, with the shepherd's house as its only neighbour. Here, you will wake up to the song of the birds, the bleating of the sheep and the splash of the water.
Dunploddin was once a byre, and still retains its whitewashed, stone exterior. You may be wondering what you are coming to as you drive up to the door, but we believe that the interior cannot fail to surprise and delight. It has been converted not just with skill and flair, but also with wit and humour, and the interior is as smart and modern as its exterior is traditional. Surely the best of both worlds!
The open plan living area, with its mirror black units in the kitchen area and one of these clever fires in the sitting area which allow you to watch the flames or an Alpine scene as may take your fancy, is cleverly designed to make the most of the available space and is both comfortable and attractive. A state-of-the-art shower room (in what was once the piggery!) completes the downstairs accommodation. You then take the spiral staircase from the living area up to the bedroom, where more surprises await. Here, there is a double bed and additional single bed (just in case the two of you can't manage to escape on your own) and - still in the bedroom - a free-standing, roll-top bath, where you can soak away any aches and pains.
For relaxing is not the only choice here. The Southern Upland Way passes along the far side of the stream, so Dunploddin (the reason for the name becomes clear!) makes an excellent place to strike out along this famous trail to east or west. There are lots of other waymarked walks in the surrounding hills, where you may spot a rich array of wildlife. Bird lovers will fare particularly well here, with kestrels, peregrines, oyster catchers and herons all in evidence. Keep a special eye out, too, for red kites, recently introduced in Dumfries and Galloway and doing well there.
While the freezer in the kitchen makes it quite possible just to 'hole up' in Dunploddin and scarcely see another soul, a 20 minute drive will bring you back to civilisation. The nearest village is Penpont (12m) with Thornhill (all facilities, golf course) just two miles further. Nearby Drumlanrig Castle and Country Estate offers biking trails and excellent fishing. Further afield you can explore the Solway coast or the Galloway Forest Park.
There is secure storage for bikes and equipment.
Bed linen, towels, gas-CH and electricity are all INCLUDED. Water is from a private source. Dogs are welcome, but should be kept in the heated kennels beside the cottage and not allowed in the house. Non-smokers only, please and the house is not really suitable for children under 12.