A Highland home set in stunning surroundings, Candacraig is the perfect destination for a group get-together of pure sustainable luxury
A Highland home set in a stunning landscape, Candacraig is the perfect destination for a group get-together of pure sustainable luxury. “When we first drove up the drive and saw the house, we instantly fell in love with it,” says Lynne Lino, joint owner of Candacraig with her husband, Marc. “What was meant to be business soon became much more.”
Candacraig is a luxury Highland house in the Cairngorms National Park. Available to hire for private family events and business retreats, it accommodates up to 20 guests in elegant rooms amid breathtaking surroundings. “Guests enjoy everything from our Victorian walled garden to exploring ancient forest and heather-strewn hills,” says Lynne. “The River Don hugs the property and Candacraig has a section where only our guests can fish.”
Built in the 17th century and extended in 1836, the house has been gently modernised over time. “Each owner cared deeply about the property,” says Lynne. “When you walk in, it feels like home. The public spaces are of a generous size and very comfortable, each room flowing into the next.”
The Highland retreat was owned by three prominent local families for many years – the Forbes, Anderson and Wallace families. Sir Billy Connolly and his wife Pamela also owned Candacraig, from 1998 to 2014, having bought it from Anita and Gordon Roddick of The Body Shop chain. “The Highland dining room was specially decorated in Billy’s family tartan for his 60th birthday party,” says Lynne. “The house has had many celebrations over the years – you can almost hear the chatter when you sit down for dinner.”
Candacraig is the ideal location for groups looking to escape the city. A range of activities are available: 4×4 safaris, shooting, fishing, hiking, cycling and more, and it is a stone’s throw from many great whisky distilleries. “Families as well as corporate groups love having the range of activities and attractions on their doorstep,” says Lynne.
Guests are treated to the culinary expertise of renowned personal chef Mark Heirs, who creates one-of-a-kind gastronomic experiences utilising skills developed during an illustrious career cooking in some of the world’s top kitchens. He tailors menus to the tastes and requirements of each guest, from multi-course tasting menus to relaxed family suppers, “all of which utilise the bountiful larder we are so fortunate to have in Scotland,” says Lynne. “Mark spends a considerable amount of time in London and travelling internationally to cook for his clients. While at home in Scotland, Candacraig is one of only a few exclusive properties that he offers his services to.”
Sustainability and luxury go hand in hand at Candacraig. “We recently became ESG accredited by Positive Luxury, which is the only accreditation available for the luxury industry,” says Lynne. This will make Candacraig one of only 155 brands globally to be members of the elite organisation. It has a biomass boiler, uses green energy and the water comes from a natural underground spring. Candacraig is also a corporate partner of Scotland the Big Picture, a non-profit organisation with a mission to drive the recovery of nature across Scotland through rewilding.
All of which helps towards Candacraig house’s specialisation: creating unique experiences with a gentle footprint. “A celebrity guest stayed with us one Christmas and wrote, ‘It is heaven in the Highlands’,” says Lynne. “I can’t think of a better way to describe it.”