House of Mark is a unique and unforgettable guest house experience. This is because of a spectacular location at the end of a 16 mile single-track road, friendly hosts and a house full of character that makes you feel like you have gone back to a different era.
House of Mark is the only accommodation in Glen Esk, a glen on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park. It is located 16 miles from the village of Edzell. This road is perfect for cycling and the views of hills and mountains completely stunning. The house is close to a ruined castle and a loch. For tranquility the location is hard to beat. There are no shops, no pubs and no traffic.
The interior has been kept true to its Georgian roots with fittings and furnishings appropriate to that era. Original wooden floors and a minimal decor of traditional furniture make you feel like you have gone back to a simpler and more elegant time. The crispest of white sheets and a thick duvet makes sleep come easy after a day in the fresh air.
A cooked Scottish breakfast includes bacon from House of Mark pigs and eggs from the guinea fowl that live in the garden. You can make an advanced booking for dinner, which is a good idea because the food is excellent. I was served duck legs in a sweet red wine sauce with braised cabbage followed by a gorgeous lemon and orange cake.
There are special touches like rooms scented of smoke from the fireplaces and a dinner table set with crystal glasses and white napkins. After dinner you can retire to the lounge for coffee and sink into a leather armchair in front of the fireplace. There are no televisions, but conversation with fellow guests and the host, Ian, who has led a colourful life, is much more entertaining.
During breakfast I watched red squirrels feasting at a bird feeder. The area is rich in wildlife such as red deer, mountain hares, and golden eagles.
House of Mark is a great base for the spectacular walking in the glen. The Queen's Well walk takes slightly over one hour return. A path lined with purple Heather and framed by mountains leads to a stone well that was constructed by locals to mark the occasion of a visit by Queen Victoria.
My name is Colin Baird and I want to see all of Scotland by bicycle.