We reluctantly left Killiecrankie, after a delicious breakfast and saying our goodbyes. Both of us piled into the car with snacks and CD’s on repeat, taking the scenic routes all the way to our next stop at Loch Earn.
Before we left, Henrietta provided us with a list of fabulous places we had to visit along the road. The first stop was The Queen’s View. A not-to-be-missed beautiful spot to look out on the valley.
We didn’t stick around too long, as a whole coach load of tourists arrived, but being up there felt like we were looking out over the great plains of Africa watching the Buffalo graze.
Scotland has this remarkable way of completely changing its scenery. I’ve never been, but Ben said it reminds him of New Zealand just on a mini scale.
Climbing back into the car, we continued on our route towards our next stop – the oldest living thing on earth.
Driving through vast open valleys, followed by miles of green pine forests and past swooping rivers leading into deep, cold lochs. One of the rivers cut right through a village, splitting rocks and tossing them aside as it went. The result was a view so incredible that we had to stop to take it all in, which gave me the perfect opportunity to showcase my most recent Primark purchases.
The scenery along the journey was so spectacular, that it wasn’t the last stop we made.
In a graveyard, in the middle of a tiny Hamlet, lies one of the oldest living things on this planet. An Ancient Yew Tree that’s witnessed civilisations and battles, only history books have now seen.
After a bit of research, it turns out that the Fortingall Yew tree may not be as old as original documentation may suggest. Even so, we rubbed the leaves for good luck and made a wish upon its branches – just in case.
Our stomachs started rumbling and we made for the last stop on Henrietta’s list; Monachyle Mhor.
The Sat Nav told us to turn off the main road. Eventually the road ended and we felt the bump as the tyres hit a single track that swept around the side of the Loch. We were 15 minutes in, stomachs rumbling as loud as ever when we saw a couple walking towards us. We stopped and asked them if they knew Monachyle Mhor. ‘Keep going’ he said, ‘Until you can go no further.’ So, we did just that and continued on down the road.
Another 15 minutes went by and we finally could see it. A beautiful pink house overlooking the Loch.
We set ourselves in The Orangery and ordered some sandwiches.
The weather had started to turn, and we were pleased to be cozied up with the space to ourselves. Doorsteps of bread filled with the best quality ingredients were placed in front of us and a hungry Gentleman wolfed his down leaving me to nibble mine while he stretched his legs from driving and surveyed the old maps on the walls.
Not entirely satisfied with our door stops, I had spotted a cake perched on the bar that looked rather tempting. Without too much convincing, Ben had a coffee and we split the cake. A delicious slab of Chocolate and Coffee Cake with tea for me and coffee for him.
After filling our bellies, we thanked the Inn Keeper and had a cuddle with the Labradors before rolling back to the car and setting off for The Four Seasons Hotel.
A warm smile met us at the reception desk, gave us a quick tour of the hotel and showed us our room. so we could get settled.
Our room was spacious, but warm and cosy with a large bathroom, not overly luxurious but clean and well-stocked with everything we’d need. Even a little rubber duck!
The rest of the hotel is cosy and quirky, with numerous rooms to get lost in and fires to curl up by. Perhaps a drink in the lounge, staring out over Loch Earn.
Or in the bar as you swap legends with the locals over a local brew.
Or if all that seems a bit too energetic, you could just take a nap in the bird room (I don’t think it’s actually called that, but it was my favourite room. Named after the birds on the wallpaper)
If there’s one thing you really must do, it’s to shake hands with the silver mirror man in the Loch. His name is Mr. Still. commissioned by The Four Seasons, he stands strong. Glinting in the sunlight at the front but shattered at the back. He represents the fragility of human life, the part you see is strong and beautiful, but what you can’t is delicate and vulnerable. He’s pretty special.
Loch Earn is a pretty special place too, standing at the edge watching the churning waters below you suddenly understand what Mr Still stands for.
Our thoughts (and us) had wandered enough for one day and it was time for supper.
Luckily, our foodie luck didn’t end at Killiecrankie and The Four Seasons had a feast in store for us.
We started with drinks and nibbles overlooking the Loch, before we were taken to our table.
An appetiser was provided – Rarebit Tartlets and a little Haggis Pastry.
Starters were Seared Hand Dived Hebridean King Scallops with Belotta Chorizo, Fennel, Haricot Beans and Pancetta Broth for me and Rillette and Smoked Duck with Beetroot Remoulade and Plum Jam. The Scallops were perfectly cooked, the best I’ve had and with the beans and chorizo, I could have had a much bigger portion.
Between courses, we were given a demitasse of the Chef’s soup and a Cherry Sorbet. The sorbet was perfectly refreshing and we both wanted great bowls of the soup to slurp up.
Before we could even think about being full, our next course arrived. A stunning Roast Saddle of Boar with Roast Root Vegetable and Salsify, Morel Mushroom, Hazelnut and Truffle Butter Jus. Ben had the evening’s special Fillet of Scotch Angus Limousin Beef Bordelaise, Fondant Potato, Red Wine and Ox Tail Jus with Pea Puree which I actually liked more than my Boar. Both were delicious, but the Beef really was exceptional. Ben even declared it better than Wagyu. Yup, he went there.
As if we weren’t already clutching our stomachs and groaning, we just had to do pudding. And of course, if a Sticky Toffee Pudding is on the menu, then I have to have it. The Gentleman couldn’t resist either.
The smile approved. It didn’t even leave my face after I fell into the deepest of food comas as my head hit the (very soft) pillow.