Beautifully located in a quintessentially rural corner of the Scottish Borders, Ettrick Valley Yurts is a glamping experience that offers both quiet seclusion and speedy access to some of the best sights in the region. Its traditional Mongolian yurts are warm, welcoming and wonderfully furnished, ideal for a family glamping holiday, just a few hundred meters from the Ettrick river, and closer still to the Newburgh Burn, a trickling stream that babbles through the site – and the same people offer more conventional self-catering accommodation nearby. Overlooking the waters, on a raised deck, a handful of yurts accommodate up to six people each and are separate enough from one another to allow guests some privacy. These cosy green abodes blend seamlessly into the lush surroundings, while inside there are comfortable beds that come in a few different forms – day beds that fold from sofas into king-sized beds, a permanent double bed, a bunk bed and futons, all alongside wooden furniture, tables and chairs. There are also cooking facilities inside that are accompanied by all the crockery, cutlery and utensils you'll need, along with a pre-prepared wood burner for cosy evenings, while the outside decking (complete with barbecue, firepit and picnic table) is an ideal sun spot in summer, The main building has new toilets and showers, and next door is a small shop and common room with electricity, (including a kettle, fridge freezer and Wi-Fi connection), games and a stash of books to borrow. As for the location, it's pretty wonderful, but don't expect to find ten bars on your phone signal and don’t be surprised when a bug or two comes nibbling at the waterside. But using the onsite payphone and lathering on a little insecticide is a small price to pay for this breathtakingly beautiful location, some of the best fishing in the country and bike and walking routes fit for anyone with aspirations to enjoy the outdoors.
Our favourite spot
Each yurt can sleep up to 6 people but, with beds and futons that can fold away, it is also available for couples looking for plenty of space. Glamping only so tents, campevans, caravans – no.
The local area
Walk or bike the hills close by including famous cycle routes used in the Tour o' the Borders road race. For off road biking, the internationally-renowned 7 Stanes courses (01387 702228) at Glentress and Innerleithen are a great day out where bikes can be hired. Those on the hunt for the best views and landscapes should look for routes around Grey Mare's Tail waterfall (08444 932249) and St Mary’s Loch. The Scottish Borders boast more than just a natural outdoor playground and there is culture and history aplenty: Country houses such as Bowhill (01750 22204), Abbotsford (01896 752043) and Traquair (01896 830323); castles such as Neidpath (01721 720333), Floors (01573 223333) and Thirlestane (01578 722430); the ruined abbeys of Melrose (01896 822562), and Kelso (01316 688600); and pretty Border towns like Peebles (01721 723159), Melrose, and Newton St Boswells to name just a few of the top spots.
Best local places to eat and drink
A small shop stocks any essentials, plus a few luxuries. If you don't fancy using the cooking facilities in your yurt then The Gordon Arms (01750 82261) and The Cross Keys (01750 52224) are a 10 and 15 minutes' drive from the site (or a slightly longer cycle). Both welcoming and friendly, serving excellent food and drinks, sometimes with live music. Twenty minutes away, The Southern Upland Way (01835 824000) passes the Tibbie Shiels Inn (01750 42231) – the haunt of both James Hogg (the Ettrick Shepherd) and his friend and contemporary Sir Walter Scott – on the shore of St. Mary's Loch. This is a great place for Sunday lunch.
Why stay with us?
There are currently 5 yurts onsite (each sleeping up to 6) with single folding futons and larger king-sized beds. Bedding is provided, as are rugs and cushions. A Windy Smith wood burning stove provides heating and can be cooked on. There's also a gas burner and grill. plus a BBQ outside. Tables, chairs, pots, pans, crockery and cutlery are all provided. Though there are plenty of solar lights for the evening, the 5ft crown in the centre is perfect in the daytime and if you turn everything off at night you can enjoy the stars from inside. A short walk from the yurt are proper flushing loos and hot showers, along with a common room with table football, games, books, Wi-Fi and an electric kettle and fridge/freezer. There is ample space around each yurt for playing and a raised deck outside for sitting out and enjoying the views. One of the yurts is also right next to the Newburgh Burn, brilliant for paddling around and having fun, and the second yurt is also extremely close by. The burn flows into the River Ettrick, which is securely fenced off but still easily accessed. Fishing permits are required (salmon and trout) which can be bought in Selkirk at Rogersons Newsagent or online at Fishtweed. Maps are provided for those wanting to take on the local walks or cycle routes, of which there are plenty.
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