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Issue 30 - That something special (Kilcamb Lodge)

Scotland Magazine Issue 30
December 2006


This article is 12 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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That something special (Kilcamb Lodge)

Sally Toms visits Kilcamb Lodge, a luxurious country house hotel in Argyll

What do you look for in a holiday?

If it’s peace, tranquillity and spectacular scenery then we’re going to let you in on a secret; the west coast peninsulas are the place to be.

Travelling north by road from Glasgow is scenic, but you share the road with scores of tourists hot footing it to the Highlands.

Ignore the barrage of bed & breakfasts dotted along the busy A82 and break off the beaten path to Ardnamurchan.

The Corran ferry, eight miles south of Fort William, will take you and your car on the short crossing over Loch Linnhe in exchange for £5.20. Interestingly, this tiny ferry carries more cars per year than the Skye bridge, though that’s not to say the Ardgour peninsular is swarming with people. Quite the opposite, in fact. On the 20 minute drive to the village of Strontian, chances are the only things you’ll see on the road are a few lazy sheep.

Kilcamb Lodge is a beautifully restored, four star country house hotel surrounded by 20 acres of woodland. A sweeping lawn leads you down to the edge of Loch Sunart, where the loch bed is littered with mussels and scallops.

There’s wildlife here in abundance: otters, pine martens, red squirrels, seals, white tailed sea eagles and even the odd golden eagle. During a pre dinner drink in the lounge, we watched red deer happily grazing outside, not 30 feet from the window.

Kilcamb is one of the oldest houses in the area and is steeped in history, having spent part of its life as a church (Kil meaning ‘old church’ in Gaelic) and barracks.

More than 600 soldiers were camped at Kilcamb in 1745 to seek out those loyal to Bonnie Prince Charlie. Legend has it that the sergeant in charge of the barracks found himself in financial difficulties and misappropriated his soldier’s wages in order to pay his debts. He was found hanged and although his grave is clearly defined on old maps of the Kilcamb grounds, it has never been found (despite your Editor climbing in and out of the rhododendrons).

Today, the hotel is quiet, cosy and friendly.

There are 11 individually styled bedrooms as well as some seperate self catering lodges that are perfect for the entire family.

The interiors are an appealing blend of contemporary and traditional styles and have been recently redecorated in tasteful fabrics. The antique furniture has been hand picked from auctions and showrooms by owners, Sally and David Ruthven Fox, which gives personality to the hotel. There are lots of books and carefully selected artworks on the walls that combine to give the place a very homely and individual feel.

At one end of the building is an inviting dining room with dusky red walls and heavy curtains. Tables are set with white linens and fresh flowers. Get down to dinner early and take a seat in the bay window overlooking the loch.

A four course dinner including coffee and petit fours is priced at £42 per person and is highly recommended. The chef is something of a rising star and last year Kilcamb was deservedly awarded a third AArosette for its dining. The menu changes daily and during our visit offered: seared king scallops with butternut squash puree; cream of spinach and pimento soup; caramelised duck breast with sautéed Savoy cabbage, mushroom ragout and daphnoise potatoes.

The out of the way location and comfortable atmosphere make this small hotel the perfect venue for a wedding, and Sally and David currently host between eight and 10 a year and just as many other functions. Every year Kilcamb is host to 30 motorbikers for a BMW bikers’ lunch, and for Christmas and Hogmanay the hotel becomes a festive wonderland.

Scotland is not short of country house hotels. As a consequence they are battling each other for your attention, and many try too hard to impress.

That’s not the case at Kilcamb Lodge Hotel.

Sally and David have created a very special and relaxed atmosphere that is entirely their own.

Kilcamb Lodge Hotel
Strontian, Argyll PH36 4HY
Tel: +44 (0)1967 402 257

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