We’ve not sold anything north of the border before, let alone a Scottish Highlands home, but so charmed was Simon by the owner’s tales of wonderful weekends away from London and the romance of the Caledonian Sleeper that he couldn’t resist taking a look. And when hearing of his upcoming escapade, Paul was moved to book a cabin for himself as he’d been eyeing up the train for years.
So let’s start with the journey because it tops and tails a weekend in Beasdale with additional magic – far more enjoyable than schlepping to airports hours before departure and then navigating queues and baggage restrictions at security.
Paul had already travelled twice by sleeper to Scotland some years ago, and on one return leg, he could only get a reservation in the seating compartment, which he does not recommend. You won’t sleep great, which kind of negates the point of taking the sleeper!
For this trip, he and Simon each booked themselves a Club Cabin, an upgrade from the regular cabin that includes an en-suite shower and loo along with priority access to the restaurant car for dinner and breakfast – very useful when the train is booked out (as it mostly is).
A club ticket also gets you access to the first-class lounges at the start and end of your trip, where you can shower, relax, and (at Euston anyway) get a gin & tonic for a fiver – what better way to get the ball rolling?
For their weekends, the owners of Beasdale would take the sleeper from London on a Friday evening, spend a couple of blissful days in the wilds, and then get the sleeper back on Sunday night. Arriving back in London on Monday morning, they’d go straight to the office from the train, well rested, well slept, and well breakfasted.
One of the joys of the outward journey is waking up on the train at dawn and seeing deer prancing in the morning mist as the sun comes up over the mountains and lakes. Paul and Simon were left speechless as the landscape drifted by, and they soon gave up on getting the perfect snap in favour of simply savouring the view.
Talking of savouring, let’s talk about the food onboard. The menu is designed to highlight Scottish cuisine, and we can happily vouch for the haggis, neeps and tatties, and the traditional Scottish breakfast. In the evening, you can also choose from about half a dozen whiskies to find your favourite nightcap for a sound night’s sleep.
Once the sleeper arrives at Fort William, you change to the Mallaig train for the scenic one-hour ride to Beasdale, crossing the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct along the way. As it’s a request stop (one of just three in the UK), you need to tell the driver or conductor in advance that you want to get off there. To board at Beasdale, you simply wave the train down – a moment of novelty and joy that Simon and Paul felt sure would never wear off!
While our time at Beasdale was limited to just a couple of hours to get some video footage and write, the owners of the house spent much longer here, so let’s hear from them about their experience of retreating to their Scottish Highlands home.
“Beasdale is what you make of it – a retreat from city life, a perfect home to spend time in, or a fantastic place to party without disturbing the neighbours. We had a wonderful time there, using it as a base to yomp out on big walks or explore the Highlands and Islands, having amazing parties at New Year, toasting friends under an unbroken blanket of stars, and then raising children, enjoying the local beaches and the magical steam train.”
“The wood burner is fantastic, and the sitting room is perfect for curling up by the fire with a glass of red or a tot of whisky to enjoy a good book. Seeing the steam train pass by every day is a fantastic sight, as is making friends with the fantastic train crews who might give you a friendly honk as they gently rumble past. To be able to travel to one of the most remote parts of the UK entirely on public transport is remarkable.”
This Scottish Highlands home is for sale at £235,000. click here for the gallery, floorplan and description.