The Lazy Duck, Nethy Bridge

Following our beautiful adventure on the Isle of Skye, this month's road trip took us in the direction of Aviemore and the Cairngorm mountain range. There are accommodation options to suit every need and budget in this particular area of Scotland (mountain lodges, camp sites, fancy hotels, cheap B&Bs...) so we were pretty spoilt for choice, but when The Lazy Duck Hostel in Nethy Bridge entered our radar we knew it had to be the one.

Situated on a "six acre family homestead" on the outskirts of the village, the Lazy Duck offers its visitors the choice of two wooden lodges, a four-tent campsite, or the tiny little hostel - one of Scotland's smallest - that housed us during our two night stay.

Besides being the tiniest hostel I've ever stayed in, it was also by far the most unique.

Crawling up the driveway, a passenger has to nip out of the car and swing open a large gate to gain access to the property, where the first thing that greets you are a brood of hens and a snuggley looking pair of sheep. Turning into the small car park you're met by the sight of a pond - surrounded by the waterfowl that give this place its name - with a waterside lodge overlooking one end and our hostel nestled just beyond the other.

A beautiful wooden hut with a farmhouse interior, the hostel sleeps just eight people with room for four downstairs and a further four in an upper gallery reached by climbing a ladder. It comes complete with a shower room and a kitchen/dining area equipped with everything you could possibly need, including an old fashioned drying space and the traditional wood-burning stove which heats the whole hut. There's something especially delightful about returning in the dark, throwing a few logs on the fire and listening for the whistle of a kettle on top of the stove.

In addition to this there's a covered lantern-lit garden area with its own dining table, a feeding station for birds and squirrels, a log fire (or BBQ) and all the tools needed to saw your own fire wood. It was the perfect setting for a misty morning cup of coffee and a moment of quiet Bible reading to start the day.

This outdoor area is also home to a subtle but quite impressive recycling system (I've never divided my litter into quite so many departments!) that aids their efforts in sustainability and low environmental impact which have earned them a Green Tourism gold award to sit alongside their four-star rating from the Scottish Tourist Board. 

The whole place is a little rural paradise that makes me want to build myself a cabin in the woods immediately and forever live off the land.

The small, personal touches throughout further increase its charm and show that a great deal of care and attention has been given both to the building and its guests. From the rustic, homely decorations to the plethora of kitchen utensils; the beautiful boat-shaped bookshelves, to the library of well-selected books; the detailed information pack on the hostel, to the flyers full of local sights; the free WiFi across the property, to the offer of a computer available for use; the brilliant black and white photos, to the welcome spot of Swahili (Karibu!); the sound system and CD collection, to the selection of board games; from the stash of foodie goodies, down to the offer of freshly laid eggs seemed like every single detail in this place was just right.

Oh, and if all of that wasn't enough, they also offer up the use of a wood-fired hot tub and dry-heat sauna for just a small extra cost!

We ended up with the entire hostel paradise to ourselves during our two night stay, but even if we'd shared, at £20 per person per night, this tiny little place is going to take a lot to beat!

Thanks must go to both the owners and management for creating and maintaining such a beautiful retreat and for making us feel so warmly welcome when we arrived. It was just the peaceful getaway that I needed and I honestly can't recommend this place enough!

The Lazy Duck, Nethy Bridge, Scotland.

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  1. love the photos! thanks for review

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