It's a Dog's Life

16 May 2017

dog on beach

Photo: Eoropie Beach by Andrew Bennett via CC

Choosing a holiday is often a family decision, the perfect holiday home would have or be near to something that appeals to everyone. But what about the four legged member of the family? Where would they choose to go if they had a choice in the matter? It is National Pet Month in April so a great time to look at some of the top destination for dogs in Scotland and the best accommodation that caters for their needs.

The Hebrides are one of the best family destinations in the country and part of the appeal are the golden sandy beaches that stretch for miles. Space is not at a premium here so dogs have free reign to tire themselves out without the worry of harassing livestock. Long walks along the shoreline are must for all the family and when it’s time for sandcastle building and a picnic there is usually enough driftwood for games of fetch to last all day.

Kneep Cottage is a traditional Hebridean croft house a stone’s throw from the beach. Two dogs are welcome here and the garden is large, fenced and gated so that they can maximise their time outdoors. The Calmac ferries that service the islands have in recent years become very dog friendly, most vessels now have special internal pet areas with seating for owners. Guide dogs, the elderly and infirm can also use the special lifts.

Clashindeugle is a luxurious farmhouse where your pets are as well catered for as you are. The property accepts up to 4 dogs and in addition to the outdoor kennels they have a dedicated room inside with stable doors and underfloor heating. The location is spectacular with a vast landscape of rolling hills in every direction, perfect for exploring but still accessible from the main towns in the Cairngorms.

The Scottish National Sheepdog Trials are being held this year in Ballinluig in Perthshire. It’s a sociable and fun day out, especially for visitors with working dogs. Perthshire in general is very dog-friendly with a host of pubs and eateries that place no restrictions on our four legged friends. Strathlyon Cottage near Aberfeldy is only a half hours drive from here and will take two dogs. There is even a special dog washing spray hose here so you can make them look their best before a trip to dine out at nearby Ailean Chraggan which features in the Good Pub Guide.

East Cottage lies between the sea and the mountains and is surrounded by woodlands and forests. It is well suited for those pursuing an activity holiday as well as a relaxing break. The house has views over to Ben Wyvis which is a fabulous day out for the fitter pooch. Often dismissed by hillwalkers as being one of the least challenging Munros, the lack of any technical scrambling means it is perfect for paws. It’s still a challenge for the fit and competent but the rewards of a day out with your favourite hillside companion make it worth all the effort. For an easier day out then breeds that love the water like Setters and Poodles will relish the proximity to the pristine beachs at Nairn or Culbin Sands.

Another highlight on the dog lovers’ calendar is the annual Siberian Husky Rally in Aviemore. The Sled Dog Centre here can be visited year round and it offers a variety of courses and safaris but it is the rally every year when the glens reverberate with the sound of hundreds of visiting hounds that is truly special. If this is too much excitement for your little one then luckily it is not far to Woodlands Cottage and the security of a fenced garden. Forest walks can be had just out the door.

Greenhill Lodge offers tranquillity, luxury and total privacy. The luxury extends to the canine accommodation which comprises specially heated kennels. From here you can explore the Borders and all it has to offer including some of the most dog friendly bars in the south of Scotland. One of our personal favourites is the Red Lion in Earlston. A rare combination of award winning real ale pub that also has top notch dining. Water bowls and treats are available at the bar.