Situated close to Turriff and the Banffshire coast, Ardmiddle Mains Cottages are ideally located for exploring Aberdeenshire, with its Castle and Coastal Trails, and Moray Speyside, with its picturesque villages and Malt Whisky Trail. We spoke to owner Kate Ferguson to find out more about the accommodation at Ardmiddle and what you can expect from this often overlooked but incredibly scenic area.
Can you tell us a bit more about Ardmiddle Mains Cottages?
Our four traditional country cottages all have their own individual character that suits visitor’s needs. Each cottage is 4* VisitScotland graded, extremely comfortable, well equipped, with lovely log fires and WiFi. Children and pets are welcome, all cottages are easily accessible with plenty parking spaces at the doors. All cottages have information on What’s On locally but I’m on hand to welcome visitors and give extra personal details along with a complimentary local and home produced hamper.
Ardmuir has 4 bedrooms and sleeps 8 people great for family gatherings around the wood burning stove. Eastwood and Westlea cottages have 2 bedrooms each, and are south facing with an open log fire and easy walks from the cottage door. The Studio is a one bedroom apartment with shower room and dining kitchen. Oil central heating makes it a very cosy retreat with all modern facilities.
You’re located near the Banffshire Coast in the North East, what are your ‘must-see’s of the Banffshire/Aberdeenshire coast?
Aberdeenshire has such a diverse coastline from the dramatic Dunnottar Castle at Stonehaven south of Aberdeen, with exciting activity of global ships to Forvie Nature Reserve just north of the city with the largest sand dunes in Britain. The Bullars of Buchan cannot fail to thrill any visitor with crashing waves into a cauldron 200 foot down the craggy cliffs where sea life abounds and smugglers in the past took their chances. The eerie ruined Slains Castle sits at the top of the cliff where Bram Stoker penned Dracula. Peterhead Fish Market sells fish globally as it is the largest white fish port in Europe but head north to Fraserburgh to see the 200 year old Light House Museum with the quote “battered by storms, ravaged by waves, built by Stevenson”. Open sandy beaches with wildlife, seals, dolphins and birds galore stretch round to the untouched small fishing villages of Pennan, Crovie and Gardenstown. Visit wonderful Macduff Marine Aquarium before meandering along Banffshire picturesque coastline to the old fishing harbour of Portsoy and Cullen.
What’s on offer for families in the local area?
Activities galore, including:
- Macduff Marine Aquarium, surfing, water boarding on Banff beach, fishing along the coast.
- Hill walking – Bennachie to Ben Macdui, bagging Munros in the Cairngorms National Park.
- Down hill biking, wild life watching, skiing, golfing and great sports facilities from athletics, swimming and triathlon.
Situated near Turriff you’re ideally located for exploring Aberdeenshire, Moray and Speyside – which day trips do you suggest to guests?
I would always ask what their interests are first before making themed suggestions on tours. Some ideas:
Day 1 – Macduff Marine Aquarium then follow the narrow coastal path walk from Gardenstown to Crovie, drive to Pennan famous for “Local Hero” film and lunch in the pub. Aden Country Park seeped in farming history, over to Ellon to sample the world wide ale “Brew Dog”, Fyvie Castle for afternoon tea then Turriff Golf Course for a relaxing game of golf or lesson.
Day 2 – The Maiden Stone and ancient stone circles near Bennachie; Crathes Castle and gardens near Banchory; Burn O’Vat visitor centre in Royal Deeside; Ballater at Prince Charles’s new restaurant then Balmoral or Braemar Castle before viewing Glenshee the Lecht and returning by Strathdon, with an evening meal in the Huntly Castle Hotel.
Day 3 – Duff House, Banff to view Scotland’s reserve art collection. Travel along coast to see dolphins in the bay at Portsoy. Head to Elgin to view the ruined Cathedral and Johnston of Elgin cashmere woollen mills and visitor centre for lunch before the whisky trail of Speyside, Rothes, Dufftown, Aberlour, and Keith. The Fife Hotel in Turriff will provide the most delicious evening meal of Aberdeenshire produce.
Aberdeenshire is famous for its Castle Trail. What local castles do you recommend and do you have any castle tips to share?
Fyvie Castle, managed by the National Trust, is simply stunning, with its pink exterior, ghostly green lady, astounding Raeburn and Tiffiany artworks, beautiful floral garden and lakeside walk.
Delgaty Castle in Turriff is home to the Hay Clan. Funded by the Hay Trust it has character like no other and an award winning tea room not to be missed.
Haddo House is a charming mansion with a fascinating Raphael painting of the Madonna and a diverse history in art, drama and choral culture where Prince Edward tread the boards. Wonderful walks, lakes, events and Formartines coffee shop with great children’s play area.
Ruined castles abound with stories of Jacobite alliances and family feuding, such as Huntly, Pitsligo, Gight, Slains.
What’s special about a winter holiday in Aberdeenshire?
St Andrew’s Night Ceilidh at Haddo House and the street lights and shopping. Nature has no closing hours so you will see the vast skies, waves like no others and walks and wildlife to take your breath away.