There are vast pockets of stunning unaltered landscape in Scotland, and it makes sense to construct low-impact buildings here that are in tune with the natural environment. Complementing their surroundings with self-sustaining designs and carbon-neutral footprints, here are Scotland’s most incredible ecolodges. Green never looked so magical!
Croft 103 is an intuitive structure that looks as if it comes straight out of a James Bond film. Located on the bonnie banks of Loch Eriboll near Durness in North West Sutherland, this contemporary carbon-negative croft gets most of its power from a compact wind turbine and is insulated with sheep wool. The beautifully executed Croft 103, which consists of local timber and stone, was crafted using traditional techniques. Solar panels provide hot water, and the rest of the energy to run the building comes from renewable sources. Even used car tires have been cleverly used in the build.
Eagle Brae, with its carbon-neutral self-sufficient log cabins and jaw-dropping natural beauty, is a true oasis of calm. Made out of western red cedar logs and handcrafted to perfection, the swanky cabins employ clever environmentally friendly tricks such as biomass heating, micro-hydro power systems, an underground spring water supply and wild greenery roof insulation. A utopian ecotourism spot, Eagle Brae is nestled in the thick of the Scottish Highlands, with picture-perfect views. Details such as the handcrafted Himalayan woodcarvings add an extra punch of personality to the already chic interiors.
The Duck’s Nest
The cozy and intimate Duck’s Nest is well suited to times that call for going off-grid. A birdwatcher’s dream, this postcard-perfect two-person ecolodge lies in a pine forest at the edge of a stream and is surrounded by ducks and waterfowl. The wood-fired hot tub and two-person dry-heat sauna make for a restorative experience. It’s hard to tell which is more magical – gazing up at the dancing Scottish stars through the strategically placed window, or taking a rejuvenating shower of heated rainwater that’s been collected in reclaimed oak whisky barrels. The red squirrel feeding table and chimenea stove add an off-the-radar sense of excitement. As for the clever composting toilet – it isn’t as bad as it sounds.
The brainchild of two environment-loving yogis, EcoYoga is a sanctuary synonymous with rejuvenation and respite. This unique yoga retreat is located at Inverliever Lodge and boasts carbon-free status. Blending in with the forests, lochs, rivers and hills, the entire center is powered by solar panels and an impressive 550kW water turbine. Guests are invited to tour the Inverliever Hydropower station and learn about the benefits of a luxury eco-lifestyle. With secret baths at river gorges in the forest, a geodesic hot tub, rainforest showers and an artisan sauna, EcoYoga offers unrivaled liberating outdoor bathing experiences inspired by Japanese purification rituals. All the water comes from their private spring and uses 100% renewable energy.
Less of an ecolodge and more of a top-class eco-friendly haven, the serene Knoydart House – with its lofty vaulted ceilings, exposed timber-frames and floor-to-ceiling windows – gets umpteen stars. It’s hard to believe that this swanky self-catering accommodation can be so environmentally friendly. Aside from the unparalleled views of Loch Nevis and the dreamy floodlit hot tub, highlights include a sauna, canopy bed, energy-efficient appliances and environmentally conscious insulation.
By: Tori Chalmers