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Ballantrae Holiday Cottages

Reviews
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Posted by Florence Fortnam at 01:34 on Friday 29 June 2012

>> For availability and booking, see our full listing for Ballantrae

A disused fisherman’s bothy right on Ballantrae’s seafront has been given a new lease of life by owners Caroline and Robert who have turned it into a snug little bolthole for two.

Sitting room at The Old Fisherman's CottageSitting room at The Old Fisherman's Cottage

This dinky Old Fisherman’s Cottage is one of three newly-developed cottages on the site: the other two – Shore Cottage (sleeps 4) and Beach Cottage (sleeps 6) – are brand new and whitewashed. Each comes with a neat little garden within the low-fenced grounds: great for family get-togethers or groups of friends who want to be within hollering distance of each other but who also want their own space.

The accommodation
The cottages are all open-plan and have fresh, contemporary interiors: dove-grey wainscoting, wood burners, and smart furniture on wooden floorboards, with lots of natural light and sea views. Everything is new and immaculate yet they feel lived in and homely: the shelves are stacked with books, kitchen cupboards have a few essentials, and there are plenty of games for bad weather. The décor is beach-themed – the sailor’s knot doorstop, prints of seascapes on the walls, and colourful wooden boats bobbing along on the mantelpieces.

We stayed in the Old Fisherman’s Cottage which was very cute and cosy, the sort of place you can’t wait to get back to after a bracing walk on the beach. There were some thoughtful little touches dotted about the place, like the little bunch of fresh herbs resting in a glass of water on the sideboard, the bumper pack of maps and info on things to do in the local area, Caroline’s monthly newsletter about what’s been happening on their farm, a laminated rockpool guide for kids to take outside with them. The lovely bedroom upstairs had spotlights in sloping ceilings, a lovely old trunk at the foot of the bed, The White Company bed linen (as do all the cottages) and a supremely comfortable memory foam mattress.

Bedroom at the Old Fisherman's CottageBedroom at the Old Fisherman's Cottage

The food
For food, head to the King’s Arms in the centre of the village, about five minutes walk from the cottages. They do good pub grub, with things like fish and chips, steak, and lasagne on the menu. You can stock up the kitchen cupboards at Woodland Farm Shop at Girvan (10 miles way), which sells a large selection of local fruit and vegetables, meats, and cheeses. It also has a good café on site. There’s a decent shop in the village if you don’t want to use the car.

Stunning view down the coast towards BallantraeStunning view down the coast towards BallantraeThe activities
Ballantrae’s setting is spectacular. The village is set right on the coast and at the mouth of the river Stinchar - there’s so much to keep you entertained in the surrounding area that you won’t have to touch the car your whole stay if you don’t want to. There are miles and miles of deserted beach just 20 metres from the door and it’s minutes from the Ayrshire Coastal path which runs for a hundred miles along one of the finest coastlines in the British Isles. Local tracks and forest trails provide excellent cycling and mountain biking routes for those with bikes. Not surprisingly, the area is a haven for wildlife including red squirrels, roe deer, otters and seals and great bird watchers on the moors and estuary - a 55-acre site by the mouth of the river was established as a bird sanctuary in 1969 to protect the little tern.

The green
Robert’s family has farmed the land around Ballantrae for generations, and he and Caroline care enormously for the environment. The cottages were built according to strict eco principles and their efforts have won them the Green Tourism Business Scheme gold award. The cottages have an air source heat pump providing underfloor heating and hot water, firewood for the stoves comes from fallen trees on the farm, and heat recovery ventilation ensures maximum energy efficiency. Each cottage is provided with a comprehensive info pack listing activities in the local area and local producers and businesses reachable without a car.

Getting there by public transport
The nearest train station is Girvan, about 10 miles away, but if you’re coming from the south of the UK, you’ll need to go up to Glasgow, then back south on the Stranraer line. Alternatively you can head west from Dumfries by bus. See here for more information on getting around the area by public transport.

Top tip
The stretch of coastal path between Currarie Point and Ballantrae makes a beautiful half-day walk with smugglers coves, hidden beaches, and fantastic views across the Firth of Clyde to Ireland and Ailsa Craig. 

The Old Fisherman's CottageThe Old Fisherman's CottageVerdict
It really is all about the location here. You are as close to the sea as it’s possible to be without getting your feet wet, and you have stretches of beach practically all to yourself, no matter which season you arrive in. Remote but not isolated, the cottages are a five-minute walk from the village centre, and walks and bike rides all starts from the back door. An ideal set up for family get-togethers or groups of friends who want to get away from it all and get back to nature.

>> For availability and booking, see our full listing for Ballantrae

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