The Mill is everything you'd expect from a perfect self-catering lodge, in the summer. The location is divine, the old mill-turned-into-modern-bungalow is charming, the landscapes are romantic, the owners are friendly and helpful. It is close to the Lecht, and an hour away from Cairngorm Mountain. In fact, at £500 for a week over the Christmas period, on paper, you couldn't fault it.
We have agonised over whether to award it four or three stars; eventually, the cold experienced during the week spent there won over warm hearts.
For the Mill has overnight storage heaters, and with winter temperatures below or hovering around zero, they just couldn't cope.
Of course, there were also electric heaters in the living areas, and in the bedrooms, but the Mill is a substantial property which could house a family of six and it was like putting a teaspoon of honey in the ocean, expecting it to taste like sugary tea.
The boys, always keen to have their private space and individual rooms, decided very quickly that they'd rather die of hypothermia together, and one of the bedrooms was closed to try and contain the heat elsewhere in the house.
Mr Husband, after teaching us a range of swear words never heard before, and aimed at the overnight storage heaters, spent most of his time trying to regulate a temperature which was elusive to reach and remained firmly in the realm of fantasy. The sight of us walking around the house wrapped in blankets shocked the sheep outside.
Colds and bad moods egged each other. Even the dog, who'd give her last bone to spend the night in one of our bedrooms back at home, stayed well away from the sleeping areas overnight, preferring to lie under one of the storage heaters.
We made pretty necklaces out of the ice gathering from the inside of the master bedroom's window in the morning.
The shower, an excellent device, clearly new and working effectively, was one of the places (apart from our car with a running engine) where one could escape from the cold for a while... until it ran out of hot water - unless you boosted the system on a regular basis (this, too, was charged separately).
We occasionally wonder whether it would be fair to have a trip advisor facility for property owners. You know, something to warn them of people like us, who expect a house to be warmer than the outside in the winter, and seem to forget the wonderful aspects of places like the Mill.
Our dog, a toy poodle the size of a gnat, trotted around the place perfectly well behaved until she decided to walk a little closer to three sheep. There was no sudden movement, no barking, no threat. The sheep jumped and moved away. Then they moved a little faster. Before I knew it, they were running, and the dog with them, happy to play. It was but the question of twenty seconds, and the telling off from the local farmer kept my cheeks warm for the rest of the day (which was not a bad thing).
We did, to be fair, notice the lovely Christmas card left for us, the mince pies, the pretty little bottle of milk (nice touch!) in the fridge, the Christmas tree complete with lights (alas, they were not warming the place up) and the efforts made to make our stay comfortable.
However, even the Mill's owners cannot perform miracles. The place needs proper central heating and for that to be running 24/7 for the place to be comfortable during a cold winter.
We had to pay an extra £45 for the heating consumed during our stay; frankly, it would have been better to add an extra £100 to the rent and make it all included, but have the place warmer. Having to calculate the extra charges only focused our attention on the fact that we effectively were paying for woefully inadequate heaters.
Would we recommend the Mill? Of course. In the summer, spring or autumn. A glorious place managed by utterly charming people. Until its heating problems are solved, though, we'd stay well away during the winter.
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Great scenery in Cairngorms National Park. David and Margaret make you feel right at home. You have to do the wildlife safari with David. Top!
Cottages are comfortable. The Mill is very spacious. Getting it warm in the winter might be a slight problem but there are electrical fires at hand.
We will most certainly come back here.
We booked a cottage here -- just a stone's throw from the quaint village of Tomnavoulin and about five well-hit 3-wood shots from the Glenlivet Distillery -- for four nights. It was a bit of an unknown to us but we threw caution to the wind. We were booking late in the season. We wanted a place with three bedrooms. We wanted to fill a block of time. And we wanted this block of time to be away from the bustle of Scotland's cities. Our choices, to be frank, were scant.
I'm not sure how we came across Easter Corrie -- they have their own web site -- but we booked and, on account of the amazingly low rate, we crossed our fingers. It was all that we had hoped for, except only in the ways it was better.
The cottage we were in -- the Mill -- is possibly the largest of their cottages. We drove up on a rainy afternoon and walked in. Everything was ready for us. Instructions were provided on how to do laundry (there's a common laundry room, with washer and dryer, that we seemed to have to ourselves) how to get around the region (you're in the middle of Cairngorm National Park, and specifically, on the expansive Glenlivet Estate), where to do grocery shopping (which required a VERY long drive for a Tesco and a 15 minute jaunt to nearby Tomintoul for some basic supplies, so shop before you get here), and more.
There's a limit on Internet access -- but we have two teenagers and we all use Facebook too much yet we never got shut down, except for a short time when the modem needed to be reset, which was our only encounter with the proprietors prior to our departure. They also charge separately for electricity, although -- again, with two teenagers oblivious to electricity conservation and some evening heating needs -- came to about £3 to £4 per day. Of course your mileage may vary. The proprietors live on site. They were always available. We saw them as we moved about, leaving for a drive or departing for a long hike, but this self-catering accommodation required no hands-on assistance, so we were pleased to have hands-off proprietors.
The rooms and bathrooms were modern and updated. The decorating was charming. The entire place was spacious. The view was nothing short of majestic. The kitchen suited our needs -- as we ate in most evenings. There's a TV and there are dozens upon dozens of DVDs in the laundry room to borrow.
What makes Easter Corrie so magical is its location. It’s located in the center of a series of excellent, well-marked hiking trails (purchase a detailed trail map at the ranger station at the end of the main drag through Tomintoul) with what is possibly the flagship trail, to the summit of Cairn Gorm, starting at the driveway to Easter Corrie. What’s more, your view from the sitting area of the Mill at Easter Corrie is basically a panorama with Cairn Gorm as its centerpiece.
The entire time we were at the Mill, the proprietors were busy renovating accommodations so they were always present, always available (not that we need their attention) and committed to improving their guest experience. Easter Corrie was a fantastic choice – and that’s before factoring in the price. It was fantastic all on its own but the price makes it imperative to find time to steal away to this secluded self-catering Shangri-La.