To the Manor Born i-on Magazine | Scotland’s largest lifestyle magazine
Gamefield: To the Manor Born
Carrie Mitchell from Scotland’s largest lifestyle magazine summons her girl gang for a few blissful days living like ladies of leisure at Gamefield on the outskirts of Crieff
When I invited my London lasses up for a long weekend in the Highlands, they’ll have imagined days spent staring at a stormy sky and shivering inside a crumbling cottage perched atop a lonely crag – which goes some way to explaining the gasps of relief as we pulled up at the grand wooden gates of a sprawling contemporary house minutes from the bustling market town of Crieff.
Nestled in the heart of Ochtertyre Estate in the Strathearn Valley, Gamefield is a stunning five-star holiday home offering luxury self-catering accommodation for up to 10 guests. However, that meagre description doesn’t nearly do justice to the lavishness of this place. With five spacious double bedrooms, five proper bathrooms, two cosy living rooms, a grand reception hall, formal dining room, and huge kitchen/diner (complete with Aga), the space goes on and on, as did the squeals of delight from us. “The utility room is bigger than my whole flat in Hackney,” was one choice soundbite.
Owner William Frame, who was on welcome duty, politely refrained from wincing at the shrieks which came when he slid open the patio doors to reveal the huge back garden, with hot tub, summer house, trampoline, ping pong table, barbecue and outdoor dining area – complete with fur cushions and luxurious woollen blankets. 10 minutes debate later (over who got the room with the log fire and rolltop bath), we were ready to relax into our surroundings: PJs on, fire lit, wine poured, treats assembled, and faces stuffed while sinking into an epic sofa and planning our activities for the next few days.
The space goes on and on, as did the squeals of delight
We resolved to kick off the next morning with a scenic bike ride, and nearby Comrie Croft (comriecroftbikes.co.uk) had kindly delivered a fleet of shiny mountain bikes for us. Sadly, when we awoke, it was to torrential rain so the morning’s exercise was postponed in favour of more lazing around in luxury. Thankfully it turns out you don’t even have to venture outdoors to enjoy this truly awesome country retreat.
We did have to rouse ourselves at lunchtime thanks to an unmissable appointment at Campbells Bakery in Crieff to pick up a pre-ordered picnic though. We’d planned to enjoy this on a country walk but with the sky still streaming, we laid out the spread on the covered deck outside and got stuck into the freshly prepared sandwiches, sausage rolls and strawberry tarts. By the time we’d finished eating, there was a break in the rain so we made a dash for the hot tub and whiled away the rest of the day padding back and forth between the warm bubbles and the cosy snug of the summer house.
With the forecast looking grim again the next day, we opted to indulge ourselves and called William to book Gamefield’s favourite caterer Serena McIvor. While Serena got to work, we did an impromptu yoga class courtesy of my friend Debi, the budding instructor in our midst. Then it was straight from ‘Namaste’ to the dining table to feast on a delightful three-course lunch. The afternoon was spent watching a movie in front of a roaring fire then it was out for another delicious meal, this time courtesy of the wonderful Delivinos (delivinos.co.uk) in Crieff. Bellies full of meatballs and Malbec, we headed back to Gamefield feeling warm, fuzzy and rather in love with each other and our wonderful new home. If only it really was.