A traditional croft on the outside,
a touch of luxury inside.
Aberdeen: 47 miles, Inverness: 66 miles
Banff, and the coast: 15 minutes
Balwarren is hidden away at the end of a half-mile farm track on the higher slopes of an ancient rolling landscape of stone circles, cairns, woodland and grazing. It is a real working croft farmed by Hazel and James Watt who have converted what used to be their cow byre, a wing of their cottage, into comfortable accommodation for bed and breakfast guests.
James is a professional dry stone dyker and together they are always busy upkeeping and improving the land and surroundings with a strong conservation ethic. The Watts are making a path around their 30 acres, a gentle walk which goes alongside a tumbling stream, a dragon-fly pond, gorse and woods and their field of pedigree Highland cattle, past a mysterious standing stone, then back to their herb and vegetable gardens. It is very calm and peaceful here, the only sound being the leaves of the trees and the birds.
Secluded in the country it may be, but Balwarren is conveniently central for the famous Whisky and Castle trails, the wild Cairngorms, the sunny beaches and fishing villages at the coast, and at least 10 golf courses.
Although there are pubs and places to eat out within 20 minutes drive, Hazel's particular passions are good food, growing herbs and her vegetable garden, so why not stay for dinner as well!
Magnificent and cosy at the same time, the guests' sitting room is a quiet place to relax and has a woodburning stove for cool weather.
Guest accommodation is in a self-contained wing with its own sitting room (above right).
Twin bedroom with shower-room en suite with shower, basin and wc.
Below left and right;
Double bedroom with shower-room en suite with shower, basin and wc.
Both rooms have superior memory-foam mattresses, air-dried linen, hair dryer, bottled water and flat screen televisions.
A broadband internet connection is available for your laptop.
Breakfast is served in the guest's dining room between 8.00 and 8.30am (or at another time by arrangement)
Fresh fruit salad, stewed prunes, cereals, luxury muesli, home-made bread, toast, teas and fresh coffee and home-made jams and marmalade.
Cooked breakfast: Eggs from Balwarren free range and organically fed hens, excellent local bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, smoked salmon, etc.
Hazel offers afternoon tea with traditional home-made scones, cream and home-made jam for £5.50 per person.
With advance notice Hazel is delighted to make delicious home cooked dinners using produce in accord with the seasons from the garden or locally sourced specialities, such as fresh fish from the harbours on the nearby coast, or their own home-reared beef.
A guide price for the 3 course evening meal is £25. The Watts do not have a licence to sell alchohol, so please bring your own wines.
£68 to £80 per room per night, for 2 people, including breakfast.
Sorry, no children under 14, and no smoking, and because this is a working farm no pets please.
Standing stone in the field behind the house.
To enquire or to book:
Please tell Hazel and James you found Balwarren through About Scotland!
Balwarren is ideal for visiting Turriff, Banff, Keith, Cornhill, Portsoy, Cullen, Buckie and Elgin.
From here you can go on The Coastal Trail, the Victorian Heritage Trail, The Whisky Trail, The Stone Circle Trail and the Castle Trail. There are about two dozen amazing castles and old country houses to visit in Aberdeenshire!
The coast, only 15 minutes away, is dotted with traditional fishing villages.
Hazel and James Watt
Ordiquhill, near Cornhill
Aberdeenshire AB45 2HR
Tel: 01466 751688
Mobile: 07740 399135
or from outside the UK:
Tel: 44 1466 751688
Mobile: 44 7740 399135
Five photographs around the croft.
The garden and grounds have no chemical pesticides on them and there's diversity of plants and animals.
Moths, butterflies, deer, badgers and many birds including Corn Buntings and Ring Ouzels.
Red stems of spinach in the polytunnel where Hazel and James grow salads and vegetables following organic principles.
The burn which runs through woodland at the south side of the croft.
A natural ecosystem, the pond has resident dragon-flies which appear in August. Balwarren in Gaelic means "homestead of fresh water springs"
The Watt's inquisitive herd of Highland cattle graze in the meadows above the house.