Continuing our ‘Stories from the Owners’ series, we hear from Jill Hobhouse, the owner of Ardormie Farm Cottage. Ardormie is a self-catering holiday cottage nestled in the Perthshire countryside, a beautiful hidden gem right on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park.
Tell us about how and when you decided to become host(s) of a self-catering property in Scotland.
Nearly twenty years ago, I had the opportunity to buy the little cottage adjacent to my home. It had previously housed an agricultural worker, but was no longer fit for purpose. He moved into a new build farmhouse and, using money which my grandmother left me, I bought and renovated the cottage for self-catering. Living in such a lovely place, it seemed to make sense to share it with visitors to the area.
It seems that the area is special to you. What is it that’s special about your region, to you?
This corner of North East Perthshire is a great place to live and offers much to visitors from far and wide. The countryside we live in is peaceful and unspoilt. There are great walks right at the back doorstep (we are on the Cateran Trail) and wonderful mountains to climb (we are right on the edge of the Cairngorm National Park). This is also a really good place to have as a base to explore. You can spend a day at the seaside or day trip to Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, Perth, Edinburgh or Glasgow. The area is rich in history from the ancient Pictish stones in Meigle to the regal connections of Glamis Castle and Scone Palace. Perthshire is home to many artists and crafters, it is renowned for its food production and artisan foods, the scenery and countryside is wonderful and there are so many opportunities for enjoying the great outdoors.
That sounds great, thanks for the recommendations! So, what does operating a professional self-catering business in Scotland mean to you?
I love operating a self-catering business in Scotland. I have met so many interesting and friendly people over the years. It is also really important to me to run a professional business. With the help and guidance of organisations like VisitScotland and the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, my business is a professional one and guests can be assured that they will receive the quality of service they expect.
So quality is a big part of the Adormie Farm Cottage experience. What do you see as the benefits of staying in a self-catering property, in the ever-changing world of tourism?
I love staying in a self-catering property! You can do what you want when you want. Whilst there is definitely a time and a place for staying in a hotel, self-catering gives you so much more flexibility. The world of tourism has changed rapidly over the last few years with online booking, platforms like Airbnb and Tripadvisor, changes in visitor’s behaviour and self-catering have an important role to play.
What aspect of your property do guests comment on the most? What makes them come and keeps them coming back?
Guests love the peace and quiet here. We are on a working farm, so there is often the sound of sheep and the whistle for the dogs but generally you can hear the birds and listen to the silence. At night, the sky is bright with stars and guests often comment on how restful it is to get away from the streetlights of towns and cities. We have wonderful far-reaching views which is another thing guests often remark on. The cottage is small and cosy but with everything you need, and guests enjoy being able to relax.
A lovely, cosy cottage is the best. What do you enjoy most about operating a self-catering property?
As I said, I really love meeting such friendly and interesting people and love being able to share the cottage and make sure people have an enjoyable holiday. I also love that having people to stay here at Ardormie makes me see my own setting through others’ eyes. It can be easy to get distracted and forget what a special place with such a wonderful view it is, I am fortunate to live here.
Do you ever think about the memories that are made in your property? If so, how do you prepare your property for guests to have an unforgettable experience?
I often think about the memories being made here and I love to make the cottage warm and welcoming. One couple who were some of the first visitors to Ardormie Farm Cottage many years ago got engaged here. They often return and sometimes it coincides with their anniversary.
So, if you can sum it up, what’s one thing you want visitors to your property to experience when in Scotland?
A warm welcome.
How important is the local area and local community to that ‘warm welcome’ of your guests?
We are lucky to live in a close, rural, farming community. Guests often comment on how friendly everyone is here. Farming folk are used to helping out their neighbours and we are fortunate that the tradition lives on. Alyth, the nearest town, is also a friendly place – and it boasts a really good Fish and Chip shop!
Wow! Do you have a local story or a special local place that you tell your guests about?
One of our favourite places for a weekend brunch is the Wee Bear Cafe just up the road in Lintrathan. They have wonderful cakes and it’s always a treat to pop in. The Cateran Trail which runs right through Ardormie is a great way to explore the local area along with various local paths networks and cycle trails. We love to walk the section of the Cateran Trail between here and Glenisla, you can walk there and back in a day.
So, what’s the future for Adormie?
I just would like people to continue to have a lovely holiday and enjoy their stay here. The cottage is cosy, comfortable, and situated on a working farm (the clue is in the name!). It’s not high-end luxury and I don’t have plans to expand. There is plenty of space for two with a terrace and a pretty, little garden.
And finally, why should people stay at your property?
Ardormie Farm Cottage offers a really lovely setting for two to enjoy a relaxing break or a longer holiday in the countryside. This is a peaceful corner of Perthshire and a great base from which to explore either the local area or further afield. You will hopefully find some tranquillity here and have a chance to recharge and relax.