Into the Wild: Alladale Wilderness Retreat

“This isn’t an estate. I despise the word ‘estate’. This is a wilderness reserve”.  Paul Lister, the rather eccentric and very present custodian of Alladale Wilderness Reserve – a vast stretch of flawless heathery glen in the Scottish Highlands – defines much of Alladale and his place in it through what it and he is not. It isn’t a traditional Highlands retreat, as there is no deer stalking, grouse shooting, salmon fishing or hunting of any kind. He most certainly is not an entrepreneur, as he often tells me, but rather a passionate conservationist and ‘something of a tree hugger’. The reserve doesn’t feel the need to set strict –…

Secret Speyside

Longmorn, Caperdonich, Glen Keith, Braes of Glenlivet, four artisan producers from some of Speyside’s revered distilleries. Perhaps if the family had been sporting a measure from the Secret Speyside collection, I might have come into the fold a little sooner.

Eagle Brae

Teetering along the aptly named River Glass, the glen before us exhibits a complex palette of auburn hues; reflections of the highlands shimmer in the coal-coloured waters. Pulling into the scenic grounds of our stay, my partner – who, by the way, is ever so proudly Scottish (have you ever met a Scot who’s not?) – spots a magnificent red stag standing before us. In a fleeting moment, lengthened by the excitement of witnessing one of Scotland’s most iconic mammals, it pauses and turns, fixing its beady black eyes upon us. I can’t help but deliberate if it somehow knew what we had planned for dinner. I, of course, know…