include a book lover’s trail taking you to nearby places associated with James Hogg, Sir Walter Scott and John Buchan, as well as advised cycling and country walking routes. Guests can dine on hearty winter fare in the ruby-walled Georgian splendour of the Adam Room and stay in en-suite rooms with picturesque views over the River Tweed, or enjoy the bustle of nearby Peebles, all romantic castles and locally- made craft shops. Perfect for: Town breaks, literati, exploring the Scottish Borders. Rooms: From £55 bed and breakfast, £77 including dinner or look out for the New Year Winter Warmer rates: £105 pppn for three nights’ bed and breakfast, £99 pppn for two nights’ and breakfast, January–March. The Tontine Hotel, 39 High Street, Peebles, EH45 8AJ, 01721 720892, dinner,


through the steam, while snacking on tasty home-baking and sipping a glass of wine from Craig’s well stocked cellar. The Albannach is closed throughout January and most of February, but the winter deals run all the way to Easter, and there are various offers on stays longer than one night. Perfect for: Fine dining, lochside strolls and log-fired cheeriness. R o om s : From £125 per person per night including dinner and breakfast. The Albannach Hotel, Baddidarroch, Lochinver, Sutherland, IV27 4LP, 01571 844407, THE TONTINE HOTEL, PEEBLES Built by French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars, the Tontine still retains a certain Gallic flavour. The family that runs this 36-bedroom hotel has striven to create a home- from-home within the stone-clad environs of Peebles High Street, fostering a jovial, friendly approach with the bar frequented by locals as well as guests. It’s well worth having a flick through their selection of newly-introduced Lazy Days packages themed itineraries which

THE MILL O’CARA, ORKNEY On the shores of Scapa Flow sits this remote Orcadian gem a self-catering cottage close to Kirkwall and a short walk from an unspoilt beach. The Mill can cater for six, with one double bedroom and one twin plus a hidden sleeping area, and comes with a wonderfully airy mezzanine living space, a balcony kitchen, and a burn running through the garden. It’s a peaceful, enjoyably isolated place with seriously spectacular views, plus a wood- burning stove and under-floor heating to keep you toasty during the long winter nights and a cosy attic where you can curl up with a book in a comfy leather chair. If you fancy sampling some of the local delights, the award-winning Creel restaurant is a mile and a half away in St Margaret’s Hope, along with local shops and a host of pubs that are well known for their lively musical shindigs. P e r f e c t f o r : Families, seaside solitude, superlative stargazing. Rooms: From £625 per week. Sleeps six. The Mill O’Cara, South Ronaldsay, Orkney, KW17 2TQ, 01856 781376, The Mill O’Cara

The Tontine Hotel

ALLADALE WILDERNESS LODGE Alladale is a long way from anywhere, on top of a heather-covered hill, which provides awe- inspiring panoramas of the Sutherland wilds. It’s a renovated stalking-lodge that caters for parties of up to 14, as well as being just the thing for smaller weekend getaways. Couples seeking a romantic retreat can perch in either the Eagle’s Crag or Ghillie’s Rest bothies, which are tucked away in their own corner of the glen. Guests bed down in celeb-styled luxury, with interior furnishings designed by Laura Ashley and the bathrooms done out by Fired Earth. Alladale also runs a fitness retreat package that includes hiking and professional massage. There’s a gym, but if that sounds too energetic for you, snuggle down in front of the fire swaddled in one of the natural lambswool blankets and do nothing at all. The lodge is ideal for spotting the seasonal wild beasties of the Highlands: capercaillie, pine martens and red deer can all be seen doing their thing in the 23,000-acre surroundings. Perfect for: Wilderness luxury, the likelihood of snow, and the moon peeping through the gloamin’. Rooms: Lodge from £2300 per night, Eagle’s Crag from £700 (sleeps 4), Ghillie’s Rest from £400 (sleeps 2 + 2), all full board in January. Alladale Lodge, Ardgay, Sutherland, IV24 3BS, 01863 755 338,

THE ALBANNACH, BADDIDARROCH, SUTHERLAND The Albannach is owned by friendly couple Colin Craig and Lesley Crosfield, who are currently celebrating 20 successful years as restaurateurs. ‘Our ethos is to be informal without losing any quality,’ says Crosfield. ‘We don’t want people to worry about dressing for dinner. And when it comes to dining, we were using fresh, local, seasonal produce long before they were buzz-words!’ As the pair have recently been awarded a Michelin star, their approach certainly seems to have paid off. The rooms are gorgeously cosy, lamp-lit affairs with their own private sitting rooms, and the showpiece Byre suite also offers its own private terrace, which includes a hot tub. Enjoy some stargazing 14 THE LIST 5–19 Nov 2009