Stay at House in the Wood, a beautiful self-catering accommodation near Glen Coe in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Only 10 minute drive from Glen Coe village and half an hour from Fort William this cabin is the perfect place to base yourself when exploring the Scottish Highlands by car or foot. Find out more!
For a belated birthday trip, I wanted to treat myself and my partner to a romantic getaway somewhere in Scotland. I had a few criteria for the trip: stay in a cabin with a fireplace that is surrounded by nature; go somewhere with a heightened possibility to encounter snow; find a location that is not too far from Glasgow, meaning we wouldn’t spend too much time in the car.
I shopped around a lot and looked at cabins all over the country. In the end, we booked a two-night getaway at House in the Wood, which offers self-catering cabins in a natural woodland near Glen Coe and Ballachulish. And I don’t think I could have made a better choice!
I love the Lochaber region. It is just a couple of hours drive from Glasgow, yet you’re in the middle of the Highlands, surrounded by some of the highest peaks of Scotland. The drive from Glasgow to Fort William is one of my favourite scenic road trip routes in the country and there are a lot of indoor and outdoor activities at your doorstep.
Whether you want to go hiking or climbing, sailing or kayaking, visit a whisky distillery or learn more about Highland history, the towns of Glen Coe, Oban and Fort William are all within a short drive from House in the Wood, making it the perfect location to base yourself to explore Lochaber and beyond.
Staying at House in the Wood
At House in the Wood, you have the choice between two cabins named Holly and Birch (both sleep 4-6 people) or a small cottage, Burnside Cottage for 2 people.
The cabins have everything you could need for a cosy self-catered weekend in the woods: two bedrooms (one double, one twin) with plenty of blankets to keep warm; a fully equipped kitchen with stove, oven, microwave, kettle, dishwasher and plenty of cutlery and crockery; an open living room space with a pull-out sofa, small TV and wood-burning stove; and of course a bathroom with a shower.
There are big windows offering panoramic views of the surrounding forest -we could see neighbouring cabin houses and cabins and just about make out the main road through the trees, but it still felt very private and secluded.
Even though the cabins look only recently refurbished they have a very personal touch. The materials and colours used inside the cabins spread a warm and welcoming atmosphere. I particularly liked the exposed wooden roof beams and the many clever wooden details, like the hidden bathroom shelves and the suspended coat rack. It’s those little things that made me feel right at home.
The wood-burning stove was easy enough to use (our hosts Harriet and Alasdair had set up the first fire for us before we arrived, so we just copied their technique on the next day) and heats up the entire cabin really well. There are many blankets and small electric radiators for additional heat, should you require them. We visited on one of the coldest weekends yet this winter, and stayed cosy throughout the evenings with just the stove on though!
The kitchen was a delight to cook in, with all new appliances, high quality crockery and cutlery and lots of space to cook together (not something we’re used to from our tiny Glasgow kitchen). The dishwasher helped immensely, making sure that we didn’t waste too much of our holiday with cleaning.
Snowshoeing in the Nevis Range
One of the things I like most about the Lochaber region is that the mountains are at your doorstop. From House in the Wood it is a quick drive to Glen Coe, from where you can choose one of many hiking trails (more below), but even Fort William is only half an hour away by car.
The weather forecast for our getaway was glorious, so we decided to make our way to the Nevis Range, take the gondola up Aonach Mor and explore the snowy slopes with snowshoes, as neither of us are particularly skilled skiers.
There are two loop trails to beautiful viewpoints at the top – one on either side of the gondola. The walk to Sgurr Finnisg-aig takes about 40 minutes in total and is very easy to follow. The path was actually pretty icy, so we were happy about making our own way up the little hill without snowshoes. From the viewpoint you get great views towards the Great Glen, the hills of Knoydart and back towards the ski slopes. The walk to Meal Beag is slightly longer, about 1h return, and a bit trickier to follow. You share the first section with skiers and snowboarders, so take care. Once you’ve crossed the chairlift, try and find the right trail, or simply aim straight ahead to the little hill in front of you. We made our own way there and then followed the trail (which we couldn’t find initially) on the way back. From this viewpoint you see down towards Fort William, Loch Linnhe and Loch Eil. To your left you can see the towering peaks of Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis.
Are there restaurants at the Nevis Range? Yes! There is a cafe bar at the bottom of the gondola and a self-service restaurant at the top station. We had lunch at Snowgoose Restaurant before heading out and were happy to see quite a few vegan options on the menu!
How do you rent snowshoes at the Nevis Range? You can rent snowshoes from the ski school at the bottom of the gondola. They are £10.50 per pair for a half day. You don’t require any prior knowledge. The staff will show you how to adjust the snowshoes over your regular shoes and off you go.
What should you wear for snowshoeing? I suggest wearing sturdy boots that keep your feet dry in the snow (I wore my Zamberlan hiking boots) as the snowshoes do not cover your shoes entirely. Wear warm active clothes, but not too many layers, as you will heat up quickly walking through the soft snow on the mountain. I wore my winter hiking trousers with a warm insulating lining, a t-shirt, knitted jumper and my new padded jacket from Trespass to keep me warm. Bring gloves, a hat and a scarf to protect you from the wind as well.
Good to know about a day out at the Nevis Range: Keep in mind that on such a beautiful weekend day, the ski resort can get very busy. When we arrived around noon, they had to stop selling ski lift passes, as they had reached full capacity on the mountain. Only interested in snowshoeing, we were still able to get the gondola up, but if you want to ski or snowboard, make sure you arrive early!
For more info check their website.
Other things to do near House in the Wood
At the cabin there is a folder with information and flyers from the region, suggestions a variety of things to do indoors or outdoors, for families or with kids, places of interests, activities, restaurants and so on.
For something more personal, here are some of my suggestions for the area:
Hiking in Glen Coe | There are many hikes in and around Glen Coe, but some on my list are the Ballachulish Horseshoe, The Lost Valley, Buachaille Etive Mor, Aonach Eagach ridge and the Pap of Glencoe. Make sure you check the weather conditions and only head out in the winter if you know your way around winter equipment and safety.
Try Ice Climbing in Kinlochleven | Alternatively, why not give ice climbing a go at the National Ice Climbing Centre of Scotland in Kinlochleven?
Road Trip down Glen Etive | The beautiful Glen Etive earned its fame as a James Bond filming location, but really has been a tourist magnet long before that. Drive along an isolated single track road with gorgeous mountain views until you reach the scenic sea Loch Etive.
Visit Ben Nevis Distillery | Learn everything about Scotland’s liquid gold at the Ben Nevis Distillery and Visitor Centre in Fort William.
Ride the Harry Potter Train | If you visit Lochaber during the summer, you should book a ticket to ride the
Hogwarts Express Jacobite Steam Train between Fort William and Mallaig.
Rates for House in the Wood start at £175 for two nights which includes water, heating and electricity, but also one bag of logs for the wood-burning stove. Additional bags can be purchased for £5/bag. The minimum stay at the cabins is 2 nights, while the cottage requires a 7-night stay.
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