Let Rover Roam Free
With its extensive right to roam, Scotland is the perfect place to allow man’s best friend to stretch his legs
Scotland’s extensive “right to roam” access makes it “top dog” (pardon the pun) when it comes to holidaying with one’s canine companion. The country offers an array of experiences, specifically with Fido in mind and now, thanks to EmbraceScotland’s “Pets Welcome Charter”, there’s a wide range of pooch-friendly pads to cater for their every need.
In Scotland, walkers have a more extensive “right to roam” compared to England and Wales. The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gave walkers and their dogs the right to walk almost anywhere in Scotland, so long as they stick to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, making it the perfect choice for a pet-friendly getaway.
As well as the right to explore open land, The National Trust for Scotland allows dogs in all of the properties and gardens in the collection, as long as they are well behaved. CalMac ferries allow owners to take pets on-board, as does ScotRail, making travel to and around Scotland with a dog a walk in the park.
Climb Ben Nevis together: Highlands & Skye
Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles, can be a wonderful challenge for owners and dogs, as long as the dog is used to lots of exercise. All walking routes up the mountain allow dogs, from the ‘Tourist path’ to the very top.
Walkers can stay at Springwell Holidays’ five cottages (Colonsay, Oronsay, Shuna, Kerrera & Lismore) in Onich, near Fort William. The cottages, some of which sleep eight guests and some four, are set on a 17-acre hillside with magnificent views overlooking Loch Linnhe. Ben Nevis towers above the historic town, and a secluded, rugged beach is close by. All cottages welcome pets. Prices for the two-bedroom cottages start from £70 per night and prices for the four-bedroom properties start from £140 per might. There is a three-night booking minimum in low season and a four-night minimum in high season.
Stay in the grounds of a Castle: Ayrshire and Arran
Culzean Castle overlooks the Firth of Clyde, near Maybole, Carrick, on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland. It is the former home of the Marquess of Ailsa, the chief of Clan Kennedy, now owned by the National Trust for Scotland. Culzean Country Park offers walking routes in lush woodland, landscaped gardens and the rugged coastline, with dogs permitted.
The National Trust for Scotland has five beautifully-furnished properties in the grounds of Culzean Castle Estate. Four of the five welcome pets. Royal Artillery Cottage is situated within the Clock Tower Courtyard. North and South Segganwell are directly on the beach below the castle. Ardlochan Lodge is just a few minutes’ walk from the beach. All properties sleep four guests. Prices start from £315 per night for Royal Artillery Cottage, £415 per night for Ardlochan Lodge, £265 per night for North Segganwell and £265 for South Segganwell. All properties have a three night-stay minimum.
Canine City Break: Edinburgh & The Lothians
If a city break is more appealing than countryside, there are many options in Edinburgh for a chic break with your dapper dog about town. Holidaymakers can take in a spot of culture at Summerhall Arts Centre, where dogs are welcome in the various galleries, the café and pub. The mens’ gift store Brotique on Queen Street welcomes pups and even sells a range of dog accessories. Diner and doggie can enjoy the beautiful cakes at Odds and Ends Coffee on Polwarth Crescent, or dinner and cocktails at Treacle, Broughton Street. The Maid of the Forth ferry allows dogs, so a day trip to Inchcolm Island together is a fun day trip.
Stylish Dundas Apartment in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town is a contemporary apartment with wooden floors, traditional rugs, antique pieces, shutters and bathroom toiletries from the White Company. The apartment sleeps up to three people, is just a 10-minute walk from Princes St and welcomes pets. Prices start from £140 per night and there is a minimum three-night stay requirement.
Pooch Paddle-Boarding in Perthshire: Perthshire, Dundee & Angus
Water-loving dogs will love a ride on a stand-up paddleboard just as much as their owners. Paddle Surf Scotland hires out boards and delivers all equipment to any address across three regions of Scotland. Loch Tummel in Perthshire is recommended as an excellent location for paddle-boarding.
Elegant Foss House is an idyllic country home near Pitlochry, with beautiful views over Loch Tummel, as well as the large pond and stream at the bottom of the garden. The house sleeps up to ten people, the interiors were recently renovated and have been beautifully finished with Harris Tweed furnishings, and pets are very welcome. The grounds extend over two acres, with stone garden, decking and hot tub. Prices start from £970 per night and there is a minimum three-night stay requirement.
Ghost Hunting at Inveraray Jail: Argyll, Scottish Islands & Stirlingshire
Built in 1820 in Argyll, Inveraray Jail was once a dire place for prisoners, but is now a fascinating museum. Conditions were terrible for inmates, and now ghosts are rumoured to haunt the jail. The museum is 100 per cent dog-friendly, so furry friends can join the ghost hunt too. After visiting Inveraray Jail, a drink is recommended at The Dog House, a dog friendly pub near Balloch, offering water and free treats for well-behaved dogs.
Restored 200-year-old cottage Upper Croitachonie is situated in Cairndow, 12 miles from Inveraray, set in five acres of beautiful private garden. The stylishly furnished cottage overlooks Loch Fyne from an elevated position and is adjacent to Loch Lomond, the Trossachs National Park and Ardkinglas Estate gardens. The house sleeps up to five people, and pets are most welcome. Prices start from £285 for three nights.
Fairies, Foals & Furry Friends: Aberdeen, Grampian & Moray
Belwade Farm in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, is a World Horse Welfare rehoming centre, home to dozens of adorable horses and donkeys. They have a bistro and picnic locations, and dogs are welcome as long as they are kept under control. Popular nature walks from the farm wind through beautiful woodland and along the River Dee.
Perkhill Holiday Cottages are located on a family farm, home of the award winning Perkhill Aberdeen Angus Herd, near the historic village of Lumphanan, just five miles from Aboyne. Utilising bio-mass and wind power, the site is a point of interest for sustainability in the future. Modern and contemporarily styled, King Duncans View sleeps seven people, and Macbeths Retreat and Lady Macbeths Rest both sleep four.
Information: Launched in 2016, EmbraceScotland’s “Pets Welcome Charter” sets out a range of standards that the holiday homes in its collection must meet in order to be classified as “pet-friendly”. All must provide a water bowl, poop bags, details of suggested local dog walks, contact details and directions to a local pet shop and vet, pointers to suitable exercise areas nearby and details of the local pubs and restaurants where pets are accepted. Many properties also provide towels for drying off wet dogs, food bowls, blankets, dog tags, a lead, a dog walking service, day kennels, treats and dog grooming. Holidaymakers can identify the properties that are pet-friendly by ticking the “pets welcome” box in the search function on the website.
Embrace Scotland is a comprehensive directory of over 3,000 self-catering properties from city pads and beach chalets to farm houses and country cottages. Holidaymakers book directly with the owner/managers. All the holiday homes featured on the website are run by owners/managers who are members of the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers.