In The Footsteps of Royalty
You would be forgiven for not knowing a thing about Ardverikie House. It is not exactly on the tourist trail. Even if you did find yourself in the deepest darkest Cairngorms (a place few will grace in their lifetime), you could happily zoom past the entrance of this Victorian hunting lodge without ever knowing it was there. You might, if you’re quick, glance the turreted gatehouse (pictured above), but the filthy weather, dark skies and the perilous A86 will pull your attention back to the road as you negotiate the corner and press on to Fort William. What lies beyond the entrance will remain an enigma to you, as it will to most people.
For those who make it past the key-coded barrier, it becomes clear why the newly married Queen Victoria and Price Albert were close to purchasing the Estate as their Scottish residence over 160 years ago. The frankly spooky 5 mile Douglas Fir-lined driveway, which more than once dips its toe into Loch Laggan, is enough to cast doubt in the mind of any speculative visitor.
But those with an invitation know to continue down that driveway. Eventually the trees clear and you are rewarded with a sight few could imagine. An extravagant vision of Victorian aspiration.
Framed by the wild Cairngorms behind and sitting proudly on the edge of Loch Laggan, Ardverikie is the ideal Scottish baronial hunting lodge for the modern aristocrat.
It may come as a surprise that anyone may book to stay in one of the estate cottages at Ardverikie. Just don’t expect to be welcomed into the main house. This is strictly reserved for the family and for their personal guests, as it was always meant to be. Alas, this is not the kind of house you may enter with a ticket.
That is, unless you are a film crew... or you come with us of course.
The Crown (season 2, episodes 5 and 10) is the latest in a series of big budget productions to choose the house as a feature location. But it turns out, if you're into needlework, you don't need to be Claire Foy to sit on those effortlessly stylish shabby chic sofas...
It is our continued privilege to extend an invitation from the family to our small group of needleworkers during The Scottish Highlands & Islands Tour 2019. As past students of our Needlework Retreats know, we are all about exclusive access and private viewings, but this invitation is among our most coveted. Not only are we welcomed into the 'posh' drawing room but we are invited to 'spread out' and 'settle in' for an afternoon of stitching in front of the fire. Bella, a member of the Pennington family (yes, I hear past students say, those Penningtons) joins us for a chat and the House Manager usually pops in to tell us about the history of the Estate (no doubt during our next visit we will find out all about how The Crown film crew also wangled an invite). All accompanied by an obscene quantity of scones, clotted cream and jam, and of course endless cups of tea - perfect for a visit fit for a Queen.
Each of our Retreats is unique. Our Scottish Highlands Tour, 16-27 August 2019 will feature a new route to include Edinburgh, The Highlands and The Western Isles.