I LOVE finding quirky accommodation in Scotland and it doesn't get much quirkier than the Coastal Carriage, an up-cycled vintage rail carriage set in a quiet field on a family run farm just along the coast from Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire.
When the owner Carole invited me to experience this unique retreat for myself, I was determined to find an excuse to visit and luckily for me I was able to include an overnight stay during my recent #ScotCoast adventures. The first thing that struck me was the privacy and tranquillity of the setting before I was wowed with the views of the Moray Firth and Banffshire Coast stretching across the horizon. It really felt like I had stumbled upon a little pocket of paradise.
I love watching George Clarke's Amazing Spaces and often wish I had the skill and imagination to redesign a small and quirky space into something not only charming but also functional and that is exactly what Carole and Mathew have achieved with the coastal carriage.
On the rails from 1937 until the 1960s, the carriage was later used as storage by a crofter and gradually began to fall in to a bad state of decay before Carole and Mathew rescued it. The video below shows the journey of the carriage through its restoration. The before and after shots would make George Clarke proud!
Inside is beautifully rustic with a wood burning stove to keep you toasty on colder days and you can also boil the kettle or cook your dinner on the hotplate at the same time. Wood is provided.
The cupboards and shelves are packed with all the crockery and utensils you should need.
For convenience there is also a single ring gas stove and a sink with running water from a spring on the farm. There is no electricity in the carriage which might horrify some but delight others, personally I enjoyed being able to switch off for the night and for those in need of a digital detox this is the place to go. If you do need to charge your phone etc during your stay, Carole and Mathew will happily do this so you don't need to stress too much if you can't deal with being completely disconnected from the outside world for too long!
A cool box and ice packs are provided daily for cold storage and a selection of candles, solar lights and lanterns mean you won't have to fumble about in the dark either and they create a rather romantic atmosphere in the evenings.
I loved this little quote on the side of the kitchen unit.
I also loved the bed, it was so comfortable and cosy and hot water bottles are provided for chiller nights. I visited on an unusually warm day so didn't need them but I can imagine that it could get cold at certain times of the year and they would be much appreciated. A single bed is also built in above the double which is ideal for a small child.
The view out the window next to the bed is dreamy, but be warned that if you peek out during the night and discover the most amazing colours in the sky like I did, you might end up staring out all night rather than sleeping. Or worse, getting up and heading outside in the middle of the night to take in the view properly (yes, I did do that but it was just too beautiful!).
The fact that Carole and Mathew have managed to fit a large shower room in the coastal carriage is fantastic, although the shower is probably the quirkiest thing about the place!
An authentic bush shower, you simply fill the bag with water and use the hose to direct the water and wash yourself, what a fun way to start the day!
Being eco-friendly accommodation, it might not surprise you that the toilet is a composting one. Situated in a separate unit just outside the carriage, it has the same quirky touches, from the bright pink toilet seat to the hammer toilet roll holder and handle made from a wrench, going to the toilet has never been so much fun!
For those new to composting toilets, there is a handy list of instructions on the wall. If you can't be bothered heading outside in the middle of the night you will find a Victorian chamber pot tucked under the bed.
Set in a quiet field, there is plenty of outdoor space and up-cycled furniture where you can sit and enjoy the view.
Just along the road from the coastal carriage you can't miss the Mounthooley Doocot which provides 360 degree vistas of the surrounding area and you can even spot the carriage itself.
That evening the most beautiful sunset teasingly began to appear. I wish I could have captured just how stunning it was and just how far it stretched across the horizon. Hours after the sun had set, a deep orange glow remained above the water and explains why I was out in my pyjamas still taking photographs in the early hours of the morning, It was one of the most captivating experiences I've had the pleasure to witness in a long time.
The coastal carriage is set in one of the most picturesque parts of the country and I spent the evening watching the bustling and colourful fishing boats in nearby Fraserburgh harbour. The next day I followed the coast towards Inverness, stopping off at the nearby pretty villages of Pennan and Crovie.
If you're looking for quirky accommodation in Scotland then I highly recommend a stay here and I would love to visit again for a proper digital detox next time!
To book your own unique getaway at the Coastal Carriage or to find out more, check out the website at http://coastalcarriage.co.uk/
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I was invited to experience a stay at the Coastal Carriage, however as always, all opinions are my own and I only ever recommend accommodation that I have genuinely personally enjoyed and I can honestly say I love this place!
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