A breakdown on the M8, a contretemps with a wayward sheep, all the while suffering from the excesses of the previous evening’s reconaissance, were not the ideal combination of events prior to the long journey West, one early morning in April, 2001.
Recovering, rather proudly from the car disaster and armed with a bottle of water, I continued on my safari, without either a hint of any sense of direction or, I might add, the assistance of a satellite navigation system, although, in hindsight, I rather doubt the latter would have assisted with the former…
Ardifuir, a fantastically reconditioned 19th century farmhouse is nestled on the northern shores of Loch Crinan, basking amidst the hills of mid Argyll within the ancient Poltalloch Estate.
Had it not been for the immaculately hand-written directions; “on passingthe (Duntrune) Castle, just when you think you are hopelessly lost, you are just about there”, I may not have persevered the extra mile to Ardifuir’s enclosed courtyard, where the welcome I received from the gent brandishing a fierce looking implement with a dead stag at his feet, was thankfully warm and thankfully the host – Andy Malcolm.
This pocket of tranquility is a private residence set in 4500 acres of ancestral estate and home to Andy and his family, who welcomes guests, mainly from the sporting fraternity, to enjoy fly-fishing, stalking , bird shooting and the occasional surf and sail… The house itself has been sympathetically restored employing local craftsmen and making use of naturally sourced materials; Ardifuir is the epitome of a labour of love, highly individual and testimony to years of work.
A hugely warm and relaxed atmosphere pervades Ardifuir; enjoying my second, perfectly prepared Gin and Tonic, “well it is after twelve oclock”, on the sofa in the conservatory and drinking in the amazing views down the Sound of Jura, I felt I had arrived home after a long journey.
Dinner was an enjoyment prior to the eating of the perfectly prepared, locally caught game – Andy is also a chef – gorgeous aromas filled the house and dragged me from my very welcome bath to sit around the table with two Swedish stalkers relating their stories from the day, continuing into the evening, in front of the blazing log fire until tiredness overtook me ….and so to bed.
Each individually unique room has the most amazing views of hills or water or hills and water and perfectly conducive to the perfect night’s sleep, in readiness for the following morning’s breakfast where much chatter was building as regards the enjoyments awaiting that day – did I have to leave?
And so I have been back, several, no, numerous times, to shut down, recharge and delight in the pleasures only lovingly prepared detailsand abundant natural beauty afford; Ardifuir and the surrounding land and sea, is a rural idyll, proud to share the many facets of its Scottish heritage; uncompromising levels of service, exceptional food and comfortable lodgings, combined with an overwhelming relaxed ambience, provide the essence of Ardifuir which shall captivate and draw you back time and again.
“The perfect Scottish retreat….