Glendye Cabins and Cottages

THE SAWMILL

A beautiful hidden gem and wonderful escape on the East Coast of Scotland. It doesn’t matter if you’re on your own, a couple, a family or a group of friends, or whether you have a dog. Glendye Cottages & Cabins have it sussed.

Glendye is a private estate with around 30,000 acres. The East of Scotland isn’t the first place to come to mind for most tourists, the majority of people tend to explore around Loch Lomond & The Trossachs, Glencoe and The Cairngorms if not exploring the Hebrides.

I myself tend to adventure more on the North/North West because l have a fond attraction to the Mountainousness landscape and abundance of wildlife in these parts of bonnie Scotland, but on the other hand l am also a huge fan of our untouched forests and the outdoors in general so I thought I’d check out more of this part of the East Coast. Scotland is a magical place indeed with much to see, explore and experience, and that includes a lot of the food we have to offer that comes from local produce in many of these small towns in the Northern/Western and Eastern parts of Scotland.  


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It was by sheer chance that I had been given the opportunity and welcomed to spend two nights at The Sawmill on the Glendye Estate which l had never heard of before and I was very much looking forward to visiting and seeing what the space had to offer.  Glendye Cabins & Cottages have two holiday cottages with an outdoor theme,  both stunning in their own unique way, and... they both have wood-fired hot tubs one with its own private cabin. Being an outdoorsman the people who worked hard creating these beautiful holidays cottages thought that The Sawmill would suit me best and l couldn't have agreed with them more.  

The Sawmill is a jaw-dropping beautiful space highlighted with twinkling fairy lights, and surrounded by pine woods, birds chirping away, flowers, fresh Scottish air, plus a fresh water mill lade from the River Dye that runs through the outdoors space in two places, one place being the outdoor shower and the other being around the perimeter of the original Sawmill that has been refurbished. 

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The setting for this accommodation really is something special, l also love how they have included the 1955 Airstream Safari Caravan with a huge giant bed that is like sleeping on a cloud, it looks like something from another planet in the space and it works perfectly. Then there is the wooden outhouse building that was originally created in the 1800s as a refuge, kitchen and seed store for the estate foresters that has now been completely refurbished as a working kitchen, dining room/sitting room with lots of quirky cool informative pictures on the walls, interesting books, games, a Bose Portable sound system and record player, plus lots of seating with optional sofa bed along with the added touch of a fire stove. Lots to keep you entertained and in a warm comfortable space! 

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But if your thinking “aaaaaah I’m not sure about taking an outdoor shower” especially if its cold which it most definitely can get cold in Scotland, not to worry there is another small wooden hut within a few feet next to the Airstream with a toilet, an indoor shower, and heated floors, so you are all set for comfort; even though l would most definitely recommend taking a cold shower after enjoying the wood fired hot tub, which by the way can get very hot.  The outdoor shower teamed with the hot tub and the space that’s been created, you really do feel as if you’re in your very own private retreat that you have personal control over, although you don’t need to control it, it all just flows beautifully with no stress. It’s great to see this kind of space being cultivated.


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The woodfired hot tub has got to be the main attraction of this area for me, plus the Roccbox pizza oven that sits in the Sawmill along with Big Green Egg barbecue.  I didnt get a chance to use the Big Green Egg unfortunately, but l have only heard amazing things about the BGE.  Two days at this location is not enough, but it’s definitely a great little break away from the city to refresh yourself. If you jump under that shower (I dare you, a personal challenge from me) you’ll definitely feel more refreshed. I had a lot of fun at The Sawmill, and surprisingly didn’t even really venture outwith it during my stay which is unusual for me, as I’m always on the go exploring every nook and cranny within an area, but the space just had everything that you needed for some recharge time and it was great to just enjoy what The Sawmill had to offer. 

When at the Sawmill, I had to thank Audrey who manages the accommodations as she was great at communicating with me, especially giving me a variety of different directions on how to get to the Sawmill and making me aware of the most scenic route, one being the drive over Cairn O’Mount taking you 1,493ft above sea level giving you stunning views of the surrounding countryside on a clear day. 


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On the topic of views, there are several walks in the area to explore, and a few bothies, and before l forget they are dog friendly at the cabin, this makes me super happy as we all love having our furry friends with us on adventures.  Nacho was super happy with the location, very content, and the dogs were not stressed which can sometimes be an issue in some places.  But it helped that we had a great welcome at the Sawmill, being greeted with a hamper basket filled with goodies including bread, wine, shortbread, eggs, milk and jams, plus there was a treat bag with biscuits in a dog bowl along with a towel to clean the dogs paws for coming in and out of the Refuge. There is also a map of the surrounding area if you want to really adventure (Bring a compass, maybe have a wee field day for the kids if you brought them along) and a field guide created by Glendye Cabins & Cottages giving you lots of cool wee insights about the outdoors and the area.

 This place really is cool, and made me want to come back, and encourage my friends or anyone reading this to check the space out for an escape to the East of Scotland, or maybe even make it a stop for a few nights while doing the Northcoast 500.  For many people wanting to be someplace remote this hits the nail on the head, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s rain or shine, you are surrounded by forests with the trees sheltering you, lots of walks, place to chill out and keep cosy, plus internet access if you need to do work. You don’t even need to venture far outwith the space if you don’t want to or are limited, as The Sawmill encompasses most of what you need. I could go on and on about this place, but l defintely do feel Glendye Cabins & Cottages have done a tremendous job here and have thought long and hard on how to make it work, which they have done just that!

 Massive Thumbs up plus 5 Stars from Nacho and I, plus a huge thank you for allowing me to come, stay and enjoy your wonderful set up, it was a privilege.


Here is a direct link below to their website if you want to check them out, and before l forget they also have a shop that you can buy some cool goodies at.

Virtuo Car Rental

CITY ESCAPE

I have been asking myself for a while now when will an app get designed that l can simply download, rent a car and not worry about waiting at a desk eager to go an adventure, and without having the extra hassle of having to fill out a bunch of paperwork.

 Finally, Virtuo Car Rental company have come to Edinburgh, Scotland and they’ve provided just that.

Virtuo are a car rental company that have locations throughout the UK & Europe that make it super easy and efficient to rent a car all by downloading a free app directly to your smart phone. At first l was a tad hesitant about how this works but the instructions Virtuo provide via the app make it really simple.  Before l dive in and fill you in about what l got upto during my two days with my Virtuo Car, l will give you a quick rundown of how it works.

First you register via the app, creating an account with a valid ID (Passport or National Identity), your drivers license and a selfie, plus your payment details.  Once your account is validated you are then ready to book, this process doesn't take long at all.

 Second you choose via the app what car you want to drive, with the options of a variety of insurances to choose from, plus extra personalised options you may want to add and of course an option to select how many days you want the car. Then voila! Your chosen car is reserved and a virtual key will be sent via the app a few hours before rental, along with directions where to collect your car (always in a secure carpark). 

 Before you can set off Virtuo requires a quick damage assessment of the car, once assessed you then register the condition of your car directly to the app validating the existing damage if there is any and then you are good to go, simple!

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My adventures mostly include the Scottish Highlands and Islands, especially escaping the busy city and I had a few places in mind l wanted to go, but a place that l love thats not too far, never fails to disappoint and is a very scenic drive in all types of weather is Glencoe on the west of Scotland.  Its an iconic spot for those at home, and visitors from all over the world. Its roughy 120 miles one way, which is nothing considering its a beautiful drive, and its fun to have the option to go explore in a car when you can stop off at any spots that catch your eye along the way. 

I had brought my tent with me as l knew l wanted to sleep somewhere remote in the Highlands. It’s easy enough finding someplace remote to camp in many places throughout Scotland (common sense applies about where to camp, and where to park your vehicle), and I always make sure I’m respectful of the space, and take into consideration the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and bye laws.

We have a great country to explore, so let’s keep it that way. 

I headed for a place called Glen Etive, a famous Glen in Scotland that the River Etive runs through reaching the sea loch, Loch Etive.  Before l reached Glen Etive l stopped at The Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum grabbing a wee bite to eat and some snacks at The Green Welly Stop a few minutes up the road from The Real Food Cafe. 

After grabbing some food it was about 8pm, l finally arrived in Glen Etive around 9pm driving between the Glen searching for a good place to park, and then go pitch my tent. It was starting to get dark but the positive thing was in Scotland during the Summer months we can get up to 17hours of daylight. After pitching my tent l made myself a hot brew, tucked myself in my sleeping bag getting a good nights rest before tackling two Munros the following day.

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The sun was beaming through my tent, giving me that extra motivation to get up make some porridge and have a nice coffee enjoying the views. I decided to pack my tent up and drive a little further down the glen before making my coffee and porridge. I found the perfect spot with next to zero midges.  Midges are small flying insects that are not dangerous but give you annoying bites and can be irritating (midge spray is advised, or midge repellant incense or candles). They also cant fly in windy conditions and don’t handle the sun too well.  I had lucked out today, the sun was out, the wind was perfect and the views were jaw dropping.

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After enjoying my breakfast l drove further down the Glen towards Coileitir the start point for hiking today’s two Munro’s (Scottish Mountains) Glas Bheinn Mhor, and Ben Starav. When driving down the glen there is a chance that you will see some deer, this always adds to the magical aspect of the Scottish Highlands. The deer are an iconic symbol of Scotland, and seeing them is always an amazing sight.

My day in the mountains went really well, slightly overcast, small shower but then stayed sunny for the remainder of the day.  After completing the two munros l started making my way back out of Glen Etive and towards Loch Tulla finding another great camp on the Loch near a back road where l parked my Virtuo Car safely, settling in for the night enjoying some chicken risotto that l cooked on my camp stove

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After a lovely quiet night in the tent and waking up again to no midges I then slowly made my way back to Edinburgh, dropping my Virtuo Car at the carpark where l originally picked it up from.

 A weekend of hiking and exploring the highlands made easy, hassle free and I would most certainly rent again from Virtuo for a city escape or to adventure around a new city for a day or two. If you need to rent a car to make things easier for your city escape, Virtuo definitely provide the solution. 

Good Vibes

Tristan :)


Grahams Dairy

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Balance Me: Starting the day with Graham’s The Family Dairy


Are you starting the day right? This is a question l have asked myself many times, especially being a super active person wanting to be the best version of myself and pushing myself to conquer new heights day after day and ensuring I upkeep the stamina to do that.

Even something as simple as choosing what to eat goes a long way. l believe strongly that the food that we put into our body really accounts for a big part of how our day will go, especially being aware of the process of how these foods will fuel us throughout our daily routines. As a very active person I need to ensure that what I put into my body is nourishing it and will help keep me going in all weathers and no matter how long the trek or task ahead of me is. I need to be mentally and physically sharp and bounce back quickly if I get any knocks. 

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I have been working alongside Grahams The Family Dairy for some time so when they asked me to be involved with their Balance Me Campaign, it was an easy yes. During this campaign Graham`s sent me their latest high protein products; Skyr, Protein 22 and Protein 40 milk. All delicious products with benefits for my body and great to enjoy while staying on track with my active lifestyle. 

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I am a mountaineer and photographer who spends a lot of time in the mountains climbing, hiking, guiding or creating content. I’m also used to a physical regime from being an ex ice hockey player. Alongside working out in the gym, l climb 3-4 times a week, and run an average of about 10k 3-4 times a week, and most importantly always making plenty of time for walking my dog Nacho. As you have probably guessed l am extremely active, but anyone can make small changes to their diet or routine to have a healthier more balanced lifestyle. We each have things we can do to balance ourselves in a way that’s right for us. 


Lets talk about when l wake up in the morning... what do you think my routine is like? Well first things first like the farmers at Grahams, I’m up first thing to shape my day. I’m up at 5.30am, and drink a big glass of water, meditate for 20 minutes, get Nachos lead then head out for a 20-30min walk, get back and get Nachos breakfast ready which he is excited for, and of course mine. 

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Breakfast for me is the most important meal of any day, it literally sets you up for the day and its exactly what sets me on the right track to tackle whatever is ahead, and being a Scotsman l am a lover of porridge.  Now thanks to Grahams introducing me to their delicious Skyr Yogurt, which is available in seven delicious flavours, l have  started adding this to my porridge and I can definitely say it doesn't disappoint. 

Tristan’s Morning Porridge Recipe:

-50g Organic Oats
-350ml of Graham`s The Family Dairy Protein 40g Milk or Water (Your preference)
-Bring to boil on a low heat for 5/10 Minutes constantly keeping an eye and stirring so nothing sticks to the pot.
-While your porridge starts to become thicker now add half teaspoon of Organic Spirulina & half a teaspoon of Organic Turmeric powder
-Once your porridge is the consistency you like it either thick or runny (your preference), serve in a bowl and start adding ingredients to the top.
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-Two tablespoons of Graham`s The Family Dairy Skyr Natural Icelandic Yogurt
-Sprinkle a teaspoon of Bee pollen
-Sprinkle a tablespoon of Pumpkin Seeds
-Add a handful of fresh raspberries
-Sprinkle a teaspoon of Coconut Sugar

Now that I hope you have got a little adventurous with your breakfast and enjoyed a delicious porridge using some of Graham`s products, how else can you enjoy them? 

l decided to head into the Scottish Highlands taking with me some Protein 22 and Protein 40. 


On this journey l went to a beautiful part of the Highlands spending the evening in Corrie Fee next to two stunning Munros Driesh and Mayer, both extremely great hikes for any keen adventurer. The original plan was to camp on either Mayer or Driesh but unfortunately the winds were super high so l decided to set up camp right next to the river winding up the valley of Corrie fee tucked beneath a mound hiding away from the wind. 

(Short 360 video below of me in & out of my tent talking about Grahams Protein 22g Yoghurt)

l had wanted to camp here for a while and take some images of the starry skies above the mountains, The night certainly didnt disappoint. Even though it was windy with clouds overhead and not much visibility of the starry sky, being tucked away in the valley below the mountains with an almost full moon overhead while making some delicious Hot Chocolate using Protein 40g really pieced it together for me and it was still worth it. After a wonderful evening in the highlands it was time to head home.

l loved using Graham’s Skyr for my breakfast as it was not only tasty but high in protein, fat free and a great source of calcium which is great for your bones, tissue repair and keeping your body maintained

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The body doesn’t store protein like it does with fat or carbs, so it doesn’t have any emergency supply it can count on when lacking, so this is where Graham’s comes in handy, especially for me constantly on the move. Ensuring you have the right amount of protein as part of a balanced diet helps sustain you for longer, and without feeling sluggish. l love their Protein 22 purely because its a quick fix of protein (with 22g of natural protein per pot), lightweight to pack and light on the tummy when on the move, and the Protein 40 is super awesome, great for any protein shakes and porridge making, plus anything else you use your milk for but with the extra benefits of the protein boost and only 1% fat. Give it a go and see what you think. 


Thank you Grahams for letting me enjoy your products whilst on my latest adventure, and I look forward to seeing what you come out with next. :)