Description of the Gate Lodge Apr 9, 2007 7:01:02 GMT
Post by mary ailean on Apr 9, 2007 7:01:02 GMT
DESCRIPTION OF THE GATE LODGE, Ardverikie
As you may know my travel notes from our time in Scotland in the summer of ’06 have been posted on the BBC ‘UK Travel’ Forum. I wanted to spare the general reader the following description that would only be interesting to Monarch fans so I posted it separately!
For the uninitiated, “boglies” (fans of MOTG), are enamored of the quaint little Victorian house at the end of the bridge that leads in to the Ardverikie Estate because it was used cleverly on the show, ‘Monarch of the Glen’. In series two-episode one, the young Laird's parents were fed up with the changes he and his girlfriend were making. They vacated the 'Big House', taking their 5 dogs with them, to reside for a time in the wee Gate Lodge. To be correct, only the Laird’s Father ‘Hector’ was fed up. ‘Archie’-lad’s Mother ‘Molly’ went along with the move to their new digs because the Gate Lodge always reminded her of "something out of Hansel and Gretel”. She also longed for some peace and quiet.
(Check out this estate site)
The outside of the charming lodge was also shown as the characters went back and forth over the bridge directly next to it during the seven series. The estate bridge and the lodge were barriers between the insulated MacDonald family and the outside world.
When we looked into booking a spot on the Ardverikie Estate we could see that both the 'Pinewood' rental and the 'Gate Lodge' were available. We didn't consider the others since they were for larger groups, and were more expensive. We made our reservations in March of '05 for a one-week residency in the summer of '06. There were, at last count, just the five places to rent on the estate. I would guess there will eventually be more 'fixed up' to use as rentals. There are several other cottages scattered about the estate, mainly near the road in to the 'Big House'. The Ghillie's Rest Pub, erected specifically for use on the show, is now vacant. We haven’t heard yet if it will one day be available for rental.
I thought my husband wouldn't like the 'lighthouse' stairwell and would opt for Pinewood, the other rental available for a small number of people. I was happy that he thought we should "go for it", and have the whole 'Glenbogle experience' with a stay in the Gate Lodge. After our stay Bruce said, "Except for the dryer (explanation to follow!) everything was great. It was very clean and homey." I would add that if you are unable to climb stairs it would be difficult to get up to the main bedroom at night, or down to the kitchen on the bottom floor.
As you come into the lodge through the front door you stand in front of a small ledge. Over the ledge is a window that looks to the backyard, and the meadows beyond. The phone is on this ledge, and to its right is a very handy shallow, open closet with four shelves. We put gloves, hats, and all of our travel books and maps on the shelves ready to grab as we went out the front door. Next to the hall closet is an information rack with a lot of local adverts and such. There was a 4-page history of the Ardverikie Estate in the rack. I have posted the article on the forum-I think it is still here. I was very excited to have the information it contained. I hadn't read much of it before. (There is another history on the main Ardverikie Estate web-site.) I left the Gate Lodge sheets, of course, after making copies in Laggan that week.
From the front door area you can step up one step to the right to get to the main bathroom and the living room. If you turn to your left, and stay to the right on the spiral staircase you will go up to the top floor. The way down is to the left, and it will lead to the downstairs hall. This lower hall goes to the one room in the back of the house that is used as the kitchen, dining room, and utility room .
The living room is the only ground level room on the front of the house. From the couch we could see the occasional person go by on the bridge to check out the sandy beach or to walk about. It is so foreign to us in the U.S. to think that an estate cannot lawfully bar visitors, but that is the case in Scotland. There is a code box and a metal arm to keep cars out, however. This, as you have seen if you watch Monarch of the Glen, is just on the estate side of the bridge.
The Saturday morning, after we arrived at the lodge, we were having our usual breakfast in the living room while sitting in the comfortable chairs, and a couple of people walked by. The curtains were open, and they could see us in the front room. They seemed to try to keep from attracting attention to themselves. They might have assumed we would object to their crossing the bridge. They parked their car on the highway before their walk in. There is a small gate to the left of the barricading arm for anyone who is walking onto the estate.
The living room, on the front of the house directly beneath the master bedroom, is a comfortable sitting room. It has a writing desk that we used to store the cameras and their attachments. There is a fireplace with a woodbin, but it was too warm during our week for a fire. I personally don't know how good the lodge heating is, but I have heard that the inside can be kept comfortably warm. The heater used to run by a coin machine system, but now the price for the heat is included in the rental fee. You can read about that on the main site. The cost for heat in the winter months is 25 pounds per stay.
When we first arrived I went around with the camcorder filming the interior for our memories, and was pleased to see comfortable old furniture in the living room. There is a couch and two chairs along with a 'coffee' table. Kim from the East Coast of the U.S., my Monarch friend from the BBC Forum, stayed a week during the month before our visit to the Gate Lodge. Kim got extremely good digital pictures of the inside of the Gate Lodge, and all but one of the attached pictures are hers (Thanks Kim!).
We were pleased to see a DVD player on top of what would turn out to be a good television. I brought our series seven DVD of MOTG along to watch while we resided in 'Glenbogle’, because that just seemed right to do! We used it to look at a couple of locations that were filmed, but we ended up only watching one episode.
When in Scotland, that week, you watched Soccer! We'd gotten quite hooked on the World Soccer Championship the week before, and they finished out on our second week. We would watch what we could during dinner, and before our walk on the sandy beach most nights. It stayed light until 10:30 p.m. and I loved that! You really got a lot out of a day! I wouldn’t like the shorter days in the wintertime, though.
Every surface in the lodge appeared to have received a fresh coat of paint before the summer visitors arrived. The wallpaper behind ‘Molly’ and ‘Hector’ in the bedroom, shown on film, and the paper in the kitchen are both not there now. The walls are painted white, and the whole look of the Gate Lodge is clean and light. The kitchen, though a little less charming in actuality, is the sweetest room shown on the television program. We call this type of room a daylight basement here. The kitchen is well appointed with small appliances, but there isn’t a dishwasher. There are a limited amount of dishes, but we warmed up meals from Tesco, to have with salads, more than we actually cooked.
When ‘Justine’ walked in to greet ‘Hector’, sitting at the computer in the kitchen, she came in through a door that is now bolted shut. If one person was coming in that back door, and another exiting the bathroom off the kitchen they could bump in to one another. ‘Justine’ entered from the back field, and that wouldn't usually happen. Someone coming to the lodge from the 'Big House' would come off the bridge and go in the front door. Maybe the scriptwriter wanted her to catch ‘Hector’ alone to apologize for essentially driving him out of his home! More than likely, though, her entrance in that manner looked better on the screen.
The Gate Lodge does have a yard, but there isn't a fence or wall between it and the surrounding fields, and so it isn't a private place to sit. If you sat on the Pattack side you'd have a sheltered area, but then so would the midges because you'd be right on the water. With Laggan Sands (the name that we have seen used on line) only a quarter of a mile away, we preferred that wonderful spot for our relaxation.
The lace-curtained window well in the kitchen-dining room, (above the chair where the Monarch dogs sat) was the place where I dried heather all week. One day I picked a clump at the wedding site on the hill (#11 entry) and when we were back in the kitchen I pulled it apart and strung it out to dry on paper toweling. I thought that it might mildew in my suitcase on the way home unless it was dried. There is now a low buffet cabinet under the window (and no dogs). The heather traveled well, and it is now in a large celadon green mug in my den. The Queen Anne’s lace from Golly’s cottage yard did not dry quite as well. I also got some yellow wild flowers there and pressed them. They still look very nice.
When Hector is shown sitting at the computer he is facing the wall that now has a washer-dryer combination. The washing machine worked well, but when the dryer function was on, it would only spin and not heat. We ended up hanging our clothes to dry about the place on racks and coat hooks just as Kim had done. I would hope, since we both wrote it up on our management questionaires on the last day, that the dryer has been fixed. The only thing that is familiar from the show, apart from the curtains in the room, is the refrigerator. It may even be the same one. I will admit that I am a lighting 'freak', and I found it hard to eat in the dining room because the lighting was harsh. With only one window, the room is a bit too dark to eat or work without the lights on.
There are two bedrooms on the third floor at the very top of the spiral staircase. When you get to the landing the smaller of the two, with the twin-sized bed, is straight ahead of you on the back of the 'house'. It is the only room with wallpaper, and you can see what a cheerful little room it is! You turn right into the fairly large master bedroom, and you are at the top front of the lodge. The large windows on the front look down over the entrance to the bridge, and beyond to the Pattack River that flows underneath. The window on the other side of the room looks out over a grassy pasture to the A86 highway.
I can't remember the Ecosse Films camera ever showing the busy two-lane road during a peak time for traffic. I didn't know that the bridge came so quickly off the major route either. It wasn't traveled much at night, and so the cars weren't a bother while we were trying to get to sleep. It's a different story when you are driving on that highway! The speed the natives drive is upwards of 70 mph, and the cars will overtake if you are just ho-humming along looking at the loch!
We kept the unscreened windows open almost every night of our week in July, and although there was often a slight breeze, it wasn't too cold. We weren’t troubled by the notorious midges, except along the area waterways during the daytime. There is a little desk in the room, and airy white curtains, with a floral design, hang over the windows.
The beds are just right if you like a firm mattress, and the frame, without a headboard, in the larger bedroom, is placed on the bridge end of the room. The armoire is not the same antique chest shown on the show, but it is a big one. There are plenty of drawers for your clothing in this piece that takes up most of an entire wall.
The linens for the bed were clean, and though we are quite partial to contour sheets on the bottom we managed without one! In every other room we stayed in Scotland, the bed was made for us. In this case the sheets were placed on the end of the bed and we were to make it ourselves. It is not the Ardverikie equivalent of the army, though. The estate office employs a cleaning service instead of a maid at the end of each week. It was spit-spot when we moved in, and we were asked to tidy up a bit before leaving.
There are two bathrooms in the Gate Lodge. One is located off the kitchen downstairs, and the other is on the middle floor off the hall. The hall bathroom is 'modern' enough with a pedestal sink, and a mirror, plus a wooden drying rack for wet towels. The shower is quite new, and it works well, but instead of wrap-around glass to keep the water inside, there is a glass shield that can be moved into place, and swung back away when you want to take a bath. The shield is attractive enough, but you have to wipe water off the floor after showering. No matter, all we require is plenty of nice hot water coming down!
In the summer if you are standing in the shower facing the large open window at the end that looks out over the Pattack River anyone driving across the bridge can see you. Bruce laughed at me when I read this part to him, and he said that he doesn't agree that it's a problem, but that is because he didn't look up during his shower to see a group of people looking in! It only happened to me once, and I will never know if it was the guests in Pinewood or Gallovie who got to 'know me' this way!
Remember, if you are considering the Gate Lodge for your stay in Monarch Country that you must use the spiral staircase to get to the different floors of the 'house'. And remember that there isn't a bathroom on the bedroom floor at the top. ‘Hector’ managed that, you may recall, by bringing a 'chamber-pot' along with him! You may chose to curtail the amount of tea you drink while you read yourself to sleep in the master bedroom! I skipped my late night decaf mocha altogether!
We spent an enjoyable time in the Gate Lodge, and found it to be very comfortable. The best view of the lodge and the bridge to the estate is from the air on the DVD of Monarch 6:2 when the family black sheep, Donald MacDonald, comes home to ‘Glenbogle’. When you get to Scotland (or back again), it is a big plus to stay on the Ardverikie Estate so that you have the permission of the owners to drive anywhere you want on the scenic back roads.
mary a. mcg
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