Continuing our “Stories from the Owners”series, we speak to the owners of a cosy 8-person accommodation set in the beautiful Cairngorms National park, The Cottage Bogroy. The owners spoke of their love for their local area and their dedication to their community and making their property the best – and the most sustainable – it can be.
Tell us about how and when you decided to become host(s) of a self-catering property in Scotland.
We often came on trips to the Highlands in the early 90s to walk and cycle. Carrbridge was a particular favourite stop of ours and we got to know the local community. So, when the opportunity to buy a derelict cottage in the village came up, we were keen to bring the property back into use. We had originally thought to refurbish it but ultimately decided to build a new house on the original footprint that would be sympathetic to the original design and the surrounding area. When the cottage was completed in 1994, we were confident we’d build something that guests would enjoy as much as we do.
What does operating a professional self-catering business in Scotland mean to you?
To us it means being a part of the local economy and contributing to the other businesses around us. We see our success as success for our community in Carrbridge and in the Cairngorm National Park.
What do you see as the benefits of staying in a self-catering property, in the ever-changing world of tourism?
Self-catering offers great value for money. You can often find yourself with a whole house at your disposal for the same price that you’d pay for hotel rooms for your family. This also leads to the greatest advantage, which is freedom and independence. You can come and go as you please; you are not tied to anyone’s schedule but your own. You have both the space to spread out and relax, and the freedom to head out and explore to your heart’s content.
What is special about your region, to you?
The Cairngorms are well known for their beauty but for us the huge variety of activities in the area is the real draw. From extreme sports to gentle walks, castles to distilleries, wildlife watching to wild swimming, there is so much to do in the region that you are sure to find something to suit your tastes and entertain your family.
What aspect of your property do guests comment on the most? What makes them come and keeps them coming back?
We have received very positive feedback about our levels of cleanliness and the precautions taken during the pandemic, largely thanks to our wonderful cleaner. We also take the phrase “fully equipped” seriously and aim to provide everything our guests may need during their stay, from bed heaters to bin liners. We also aim to be as accommodating as possible to any requests, both before and during their stay.
What do you enjoy most about operating a self-catering property?
We enjoy giving people wonderful holidays in our Cottage and love that people will have their own unique experiences and memories there. We have our own favourite features in the house and in the area, so it’s fascinating to think that other people will find their own favourites, that may be completely different to ours!
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?
In preparing our property, we always strive to offer what we would hope to receive ourselves. We have been letting the Cottage for nearly 30 years and in that time have been on many self-catering holidays of our own, so we know what makes for a good holiday home. We often stay in the Cottage ourselves so we believe that in making it everything that we love, other people will love it too.
What’s one thing you want visitors to your property to experience when in Scotland?
Decent weather! In seriousness, whatever the weather, we hope our guests will experience a warm welcome from the locals and will immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the Highlands.
How important is the local area and local community to the experience of your guests?
So important. Carrbridge is a small place, but it is a unique and quirky village with a thriving local community. We hope that our guests will embrace that by patronising local businesses, learning about local conservation efforts, and returning the friendly greeting they receive from local people.
Do you have a local story or a special local place that you tell your guests about?
Although the Cairngorm area has so much to offer, our own village of Carrbridge has more than its fair share of gems! We always recommend the local pub, the Cairns, for its brilliant selection of seasonal and locally sourced food and drinks. Another favourite is the Carrbridge Artists Studio which is run by a family of local artists and offers unique artworks that make beautiful mementos of your time in the area. And besides hosting the World Porridge Making Championships every October, the village is surrounded by native woodland threaded with footpaths, perfect for gentle walks and bike rides all year round.
What are your ambitions for your property or your business?
Our present goals for the Cottage focus on the rise of green tourism and sustainability. We have had a large array of solar panels for some years now and last year added an electric vehicle charging point. This year we have removed our reliance on gas by replacing the gas hob with induction and hope to further reduce our carbon footprint by installing an air-source heat pump. In doing all this we aim to be kinder to the planet, but also future-proof the property and promote ourselves to new markets seeking green tourism opportunities.
Why should people stay at your property?
With four bedrooms and two sitting rooms, the Cottage Bogroy is spacious enough for family groups while maintaining a cosy feel, through open fires and wood panelling. We designed the Cottage to reflect the local environs, so if you are looking for Highland tradition with modern convenience, we are definitely for you. We are a unique property in a wonderful location with so much to offer visitors that we hope many more people will come and enjoy.