3 x Artist Bothies / Inverlonan, Argyll

Inverlonan is a remote retreat on the picturesque shores of Loch Nell near Oban. It offers simple accommodation in three Artist Bothies nestled amongst ancient oak trees. Two of the bothies were installed in 2019 and the third in 2022. They have since received glowing reviews from hundreds of guests, as well as widespread press coverage. The owner of Inverlonan, Lupi Moll, has curated a premium, ‘slow-living’ hospitality experience with the bothies as the star attraction.

This is Lupi’s bothy story:

When I got hold of the family farm at Inverlonan, I wanted to create an environmentally focused agri-tourism business that would make the most of this amazing site. I camped here as a Scout when I was about 12 years old and I remember thinking that there is something magical about this ancient oak woodland on the edge of the loch.

To start with we planted about 200 acres of trees and then set about installing the first two bothies, ‘Uisge’ and ‘Beatha'. These were followed by a third bothy, ‘Sitheil’ and a wood-fired sauna. We also have plans to convert the old farm steading into an ecologically focused hotel.

An off-grid eco-tourism experience

Our objective is to provide a unique eco-tourism experience. The accommodation is off-grid and true to nature. For this we needed structures that would sit well within the existing natural surroundings. I approached Bothy Stores because I liked the concept and design of the bothies, which somehow feel uniquely Scottish. The different cladding options seemed like they would blend in with the bracken and trees, helping to ground them in their settings.

I also appreciated the historic link to bothies as simple places of refuge and the way Bothy Stores supports Bothy Project, which operates as a social enterprise providing opportunities for artist residencies at its bothy on Eigg.

A striking and sensitive design

I looked at many different options and decided that the Artist Bothy was the best and most suitable structure for my purposes. It is beautifully designed and its simplicity matches the simplicity of what we’re trying to achieve at Inverlonan.

We went for the ‘shell only’ option and I worked with a team of builders to install them on the tricky sites. Because they’re off grid, they sit on a ring beam that is anchored using simple ground screws. This minimises any impact on the environment and means they could be moved if necessary in the future.

Beatha has black corrugated cladding, Sitheil a rusted corrugated cladding and for Uisge we sourced raised-seam, Corten steel cladding. We used Clayworks plaster to give the interiors a really warm, tactile finish and chose furnishings, fabrics and products that celebrate the best of Scottish craftsmanship.

A successful business model

The bothies are the foundation for the experience we’ve created here at Inverlonan. They help to facilitate ‘slow living’ by only including basic amenities. Guests still need to shower outdoors and get the fire going to keep warm and heat water. We provide a bothy breakfast featuring local produce and offer a selection of provisions sourced from the land, sea and our farm that can be cooked on the indoor or outdoor stoves.

Guests love staying in the bothies and the feedback we get is overwhelmingly positive. We’ve received excellent press coverage including in The Times, The Observer and Condé Nast Traveller. Our occupancy rates are 100 per cent over the summer and about 80 per cent the rest of the year, which is a testament to the unique experience we provide.

To book a stay at Inverlonan, visit: inverlonan.com

Latest news: Inverlonan wins Scotland's Greatest Escape

Image courtesy of Ross Baynham