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From the outside
Great whisky selection
King size room
Bella and Lesley would like to welcome you to the dog friendly Whitebridge Hotel.
The 2 star hotel has 12 en-suite bedrooms and is ideally situated for walking, fishing, hunting and exploring the south side of Loch Ness.
Whitebridge is at the foothills of the Monadhliath Mountains on General Wade's Military Road (B862), where it crosses the River Fechlin, approximately 8 miles from Fort Augustus and 25 miles from Inverness.
The hotel also has fishing rights on the nearby Loch Knockie, where brown trout are in abundance.
The hotel was built in 1899 on the site of a King's House destroyed by fire some years previously. A King's House was a hostelry used by the soldiers while in a specific area; this King's House was used by the soldiers of General Wade while they were stationed in the Highlands. Building roads was one of the garrison's duties, and you can still see the original bridge built here in 1732.
The local stone is a very bright white, and, when the bridge was new, this earned it the nickname The White Bridge.
The Whitebridge Hotel seeks to provide a relaxed atmosphere for our guests. We also welcome well behaved dogs in our rooms and the bar.
We have a comfortable residents lounge with fireplace and books and magazines.
Our rooms all have TVs and tea/coffee making facilities. There are a selection of DVDs to borrow too.
There is a wireless network available in all of our rooms.
Dogfriendly Magazine Review
Read our comprehensive review of this listing printed in our bi-monthly magazine.
The Mighty Deerstalker
Whitebridge Hotel, The Great Glen, Loch Ness
By Tracey Radnall
Walking, twitching, fishing and a spot of scandal
Whitebridge, a hamlet roughly midway along the south side of Loch Ness where it crosses the River Fechlin in the foothills of the Monadhliath Mountains. The location is undoubtedly an outdoor enthusiasts dream.
Finding the prominent road-side hotel dating from 1899 is straight-forward. On first impressions it has all the air of a pleasantly old-fashioned Highland lodge. Entering via the attractive vestibule, complete with dog towels and treats. Inside there’s a lovely relaxed feel about it. It is snug, mellow and welcoming. A bit like walking into extended family’s country home. There’s no mistaking you are in Highland with yards of tartan rugs and antlers defending the walls. Curiosities abound, comfy deep leather sofas, fireplaces flanked with old black and white family photographs complete the setting. Fabulous views in every direction too.
I wasn’t aware of this, but apparently mid-October is peak stalking season, which explains why there’s a herd of folk clad in camo outside. There’s a jolly group from Sussex who ‘come up every year’, they take a shine to my spaniel Bertie. But I’ve got my eye on him, although a game hound – he’s all for pastoral ball sport rather than wildlife.
Nearby, adjacent Loch Ness is the village of Foyers, famous for the Falls of Foyers. Here, a well-maintained path descends to a viewing platform. The Falls, both hugely high and powerful following an extended spell of rain. It’s not the best attraction for those who don’t have a head for heights however. On the way back to the hotel, I spot a red squirrel with a black bushy tail – apparently a genetic mutation affording these beautiful creatures added immunity to disease.
The hotel bar, with its attractive wooden pews, features in the CAMRA real ale guide. I try a pint of the‘Happy Chappy’ brewed by nearby Cromarty Ales. A very tasty pint following the epic Falls and an afternoon wandering among the glen. The staff are relaxed and friendly too. Over dinner of local venison, resident waiter Hamish, imparts some handy advice on dog walks from the hotel door.
The next day we cross the old white stone bridge, passing some handsome wooden holiday lodges, through a farm gate to follow the uphill track. Passing several clumps of dense pine as we ascend. Luckily, we spot a flock of Gold Crests feeding among the pine cones in the bright autumn sunshine. Passing some old stone sheepfold ruins to a deer-fence and gate, where it’s possible to climb a further 200m to the summit of Beinn Sgurrach (470m) – an excellent viewpoint on a fine day.
That evening back at the bar, an enthusiastic hotel resident imparts several details in quick succession, with regard to how he divides his time between Balerno (near Edinburgh), The Algarve and The Great Glen, before enquiring if I’ve ‘been far’. I inform him I have been stalking in the hills behind the hotel for, err Gold Crests. He doesn’t seem too impressed.
The road to Fort Augustus is well worth a visit too. Do pause to take-in the magnificent return view at the end of Loch Ness – tapering into infinity along it’s 22 mile length. Driving back to Whitebridge the high-road affords another, stunning viewpoint too.
Following dinner on my second night, I make a discovery – local scandal. Nearby, is the location of a tale known as ‘The Scottish Lady Chatterley’. Indeed, you’ll find a copy of the original in the sitting room bookcase. It’s a similar tale of adultery, property, power and money. Back in the late ’60s at the nearby Knockie Estate, a real life Mellors tried to kill his Lady Chatterly… A certain Lady MacTaggart, the owner of Loch Knockie shooting lodge and wife of Sir Ian MacTaggart of London. She was known locally as Mrs Crawthorne, for her regular and apparently open dalliances with her game-keeper. Said game-keeper – Mr Crawthorne, an ex-commando and a crack-shot by all accounts ‘released an arsenal out of rage’ after finding out his name wasn’t among the title deeds to the estate after the relationship turned sour. He was subsequently handed a nine year sentence for his errant ways. Her ladyship was heard declaring after sentencing that “I am still fond of him but never want to see him again”. The whole episode was reported in the local press, including Sir Ian’s subsequent divorce proceedings when he described Crawthorne as “the best of the bunch”. Obviously not a ‘happy chappy’.
The next morning, filled with intrigue, I follow the track towards Loch Knockie to see what all the fuss was about. Happily, it’s both a peaceful and beautiful loch-side setting today. The lodge is now privately owned but you can hire a rowing boat – Whitebridge has fishing rights here, where brown trout are in abundance, booking required. It’s also a great time-of-year for fungi hunting, we spot scores of spores, including many colourful toadstools – Fly-Agaric on the retrun to Whitebridge.
Whitebridge is an ideal stay-over too if traversing the length of Scotland or returning after rounding the North Coast 500.
The hotel is 25 miles south of Inverness on the B862 or ten miles north of Fort Augustus on the B682.
King size room, ensuite shower, continental breakfast: £85 (single occupancy).
Roast haunch of venison, cranberry mash, braised red cabbage & red wine gravy: £16.95
Angry Stage burger. Topped with cheddar cheese, jalapeños & onion rings: £14
Dogs: £5 per night up to a maximum of £20. The hotel is set in open land adjacent a B-road and the river Fechlin. Beds, dog towels and treats are available in the hotel vestibule.
Look out for regular offers online and on social media. Currently two nights or longer get a 30% discount and dogs go FREE. Running till 22 December. Quote: AUTUMN30 May extend the offer to January ’21.
Good mobile signal locally.
Seasonal, local daily specials such as local sirloin steak, haunch of venison. Alongside staple regulars such as beef lasagne, fish and chips and steak and ale pie.
Bar, restaurant, sitting room, beer garden, ample free parking.
• Farm track from hotel to the hillside above the hotel.
• Path to Foyers 3 miles. Follow the track through the Dell Estate, free-range livestock so keep dogs under close control.
• The hotel has fishing rights on nearby Loch Knockie. Or simply hire one of their boats for exploring.
THE WHITEBRIDGE HOTEL REVIEW BY TRACEY RADNALL APPEARS IN DOGFRIENDLY MAGAZINE ISSUE 64. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE DOGFRIENDLY MAGAZINE VISIT WWW.DOGFRIENDLY.CO.UK/MAGAZINE.
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