Wee Tam's Review
A beautiful drive from Inverness, winding between mountains on one side and the gleaming blue water of Loch Broom on the other, takes us almost to Ullapool. We turn off onto a wee private track which curves down and round through trees right to the very edge of the loch, where the Old Tweed Mill sits right on the beach beside the mill burn, facing southwest across the water to the hills on the other side. Today the water is as flat as glass, a dusting of snow sits on the hilltops and thin wisps of mist lie in faint, atmospheric layers above the water and in the hollows. We are in a perfect picture postcard setting and I'm certain we'll be able to watch some glorious sunsets from here!
The mill has sat in this lovely spot for well over a hundred years, solidly built with a neat front punctuated by rows of windows on three floors. More recently the whole building has been refurbished, with the addition of a modern extension of steel, wood and glass, allowing light and warmth to flood in to the building from the south. The views from all the rooms in this lovely holiday house are stunning, across the loch to the mountains and up to Ullapool, one of Scotland's prettiest coastal villages.
Inside, we are greeted by an attractive mix of traditional and modern, a shiny new kitchen, warm wood in the dining area, fresh cream decor and some lovely prints and tartans in the furnishings. On the walls, too traditional paintings sit well with bright, modern art and the general feeling is of home comfort and understated luxury. There's plenty of space for even the full complement of 12 guests to spread out and relax without feeling on top of each other and with all the rooms having wonderful ocean-liner views, no dispute about who will sleep where. There's even a playroom with toys and games on the top floor, so children can disappear into their own private space if they wish.
This part of Scotland is a favourite retreat for us and it's good to find a large self catering property which allows us to share the experience, with friends and extended family coming and going through the week. Some have brought musical instruments to take into Ullapool in search of a good session and between us we have the makings of a ceilidh band, with guitar, fiddle and 'cello, even without leaving the house. The new summer room becomes a foot-tapping venue of its own in the evenings and I'm even inspired to contribute some dubious vocal renderings!
The boot room is filled with overcoats and muddy boots, the kitchen with chatter and enticing aromas and a row of amber-glowing bottles sit ready for the after dinner craic. It's hard to beat a holiday like this!