In our fast-paced world of 24/7 contactability and the glorification of busyness, it’s true more than ever that we need to slow down. Secluded hillside retreat in Perthshire, Guardswell Farm, is a great place to get away from it all.
This period of lockdown has exposed the cracks in our broken system and enforced a period of slowing down for the vast majority of society. Although there’s been no slow living for key workers, the whole experience has clarified for me what I already knew: that joy is to be found in the wee things in this life, not the big milestones that so often elude us, or leave us only temporarily satisfied. A cup of tea by the stove; the scent of freshly laundered sheets; the warmth of the shower to wash the day away; breathing in the fresh country air; the view of the landscape that dwarves and grounds us. Guardswell supplies all this and so much more from its hillside haven – it takes you back to a simpler world. One where you can watch the sheep graze the hillside, not check your emails; where the cockerel wakes you at dawn not an iPhone; where panoramic views provide perspective and your to do list melts away, at least for a while.
I didn’t realise how much I needed Guardswell until we arrived in the first week of my Summer holidays last year. I’d decided to lean into the post-end-of-session-slump rather than fight it by getting away for a slow-paced break, and we’d been wanting to go to Guardswell for years. We had no plans other than to just be. We wandered the meadows and greeted the chickens, chased sheep and visited the Farm Stand. We cooked over an open fire and drank in the fresh Perthshire air. Best of all, we enjoyed the spectacular views from the Pendicle down to the Carse of Gowrie and all the way to Glencarse and I felt my worries shrinking. I devoured books from cover to cover and didn’t feel the guilt I usually do (why is that?!). We watched the sunrise and sunset through the picture windows every morning and night. Who needs a television? It was so good, we were planning to stay at Easter time but had to wait until lockdown eased to snap up a last minute two-night stay. It was worth the wait. On such a big farm, in self-catered accommodation and with thoughtful extra arrangements in place to make our visit safe, it was heaven.
Guardswell Farm in the Summertime is like nowhere else for me. Something about its unique aspect and quality of light soothed my soul. Even with the best of intentions, I am sometimes guilty of grappling with rather than embodying the slow living that I strive for, but here I embrace it, heart and soul. There aren’t many places I can switch of, but Guardswell Farm is one of them. Time to press pause, to decompress and process, to drink in nature, to wake up and really taste the coffee.
And some ideas for your visit to Guardswell Farm:
- Go to Kenmore and take in the views of Loch Tay (to refuel, you must go to the Paper Boat and sample both the shakshuka and croissant loaf, with views just as edible)
- A visit to Aran Bakery in Dunkeld and new sister shop Lon is surely obligatory. Just you try to leave with “only one loaf of bread”.
- Loch of the Lowes nature reserve (sadly still shut at the moment) to spot red squirrels and birds of prey.
- Thrifting – there are too many places to mention, just be ready to stop at short notice as you drive through wee towns – we stumbled across a lovely vintage shop in Aberfeldy though the name escapes me now – and be sure to visit Homer for Scandinavian-inspired homewares (sister shop of the Edinburgh emporium).
- Have dinner and mocktails at the Grandtully Hotel by Ballintaggart. (You can read about my experiences of their cookery courses here).
- If you’re feeling fancy you could even go for afternoon tea at Gleneagles. Be sure to explore their grounds, especially the lovely kitchen garden.
Pictures taken on our first stay (there are minimal soft furnishings & kitchen bits and bobs at the moment) but there are lots more from our recent visit on my Instagram. Where’s your favourite place for a slow staycation?