Studio Bothy / Colintraive, Argyll

 “A cosy slice of luxury” is how one guest described the experience of staying at this Studio Bothy on the shores of Loch Riddon in rural Argyll. Owners Mandy and Colin Hamilton had the Bothy installed on a plot close to their house and rent it out to supplement their pension income. They have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of bookings in the first year and are already seeing an impressive return on their investment.

We spoke to Mandy for this feature. Here is her Bothy story:

My husband Colin and I moved to Argyll in 2016 because we thought it would be a perfect place to retire. Colin enjoys sailing and I love my garden so we bought a site with two acres of land close to the shores of Loch Riddon. As part of our retirement plan we were looking for a project; something on our doorstep that wasn’t too onerous and would suit our abilities. That’s when we first started thinking about providing simple accommodation for overnight guests.

Looking for the ‘wow’ factor

I became aware of Bothy Stores when I read an article about the self-catering Bothies at Inverlonan in the Sunday Times newspaper. They looked really good and shared some design features with the house we built for ourselves here. We felt the Bothy’s clean and simple design would complement our home and the local vernacular.

Our aim was to install a building with an elegant exterior that makes visitors say ‘wow’. I looked at a lot of different cabins but I didn’t see anything that matched the style and quality of the Bothies. It’s more like a small house than a hut or a cabin. It has everything you need, including water, drainage, electricity and WiFi. In fact, somebody wrote in our guestbook recently that they could happily live in it!

A secluded spot

The Bothy is located quite close to our house but is screened by trees and large rhododendron bushes. This spot also has the best views straight out over the loch and across to the mountains beyond. We couldn’t install a prefabricated Bothy because of tricky access to the steep site so we went for a flat pack. The installation process was split into three distinct operations; laying the foundations, erecting the Bothy and fitting out the interior. We used a local crew for the groundworks, then the Bothy Stores team built the Bothy and we had a local carpenter complete the interior.

A home away from home

We opted for the Studio Bothy because we wanted the integrated shower room and toilet. The interior is lined with plasterboard that is painted white to provide a neutral backdrop for our collection of artworks. My cousin is a cabinetmaker so he built the kitchen using old whisky staves and we also installed a playful countertop by a Glasgow company called Mirrl. We specified the Charnwood Aire 3 wood burner and engineered oak flooring, which we also used on the mezzanine. The simple, natural materials are a perfect foil for the arty bits and bobs.

Alongside the Bothy we’ve built a lovely deck so guests can sit outside with a glass of wine and take in the view. We offer fruit, vegetables, salad and  herbs grown in our garden that can be prepared alongside local produce in the Bothy or outside on the barbecue or fire pit. It’s the sort of place you want to spend most of your time outdoors and the Bothy is surrounded by nature so guests really feel immersed in the landscape.

An excellent investment

Using the Bothy as guest accommodation is a fun thing to do and something that fits around our lifestyle. We have our own booking system and we use Airbnb so it’s easy to block it out if we want to go away for a while. Our guests typically stay for just one or two nights, although we’ve had people stay for up to five nights. We really enjoy meeting all of these different people and are about to have our first return visitor!

The Bothy was an expensive initial outlay but we’re very happy with the quality of the design and how it’s held up to regular use. We are still in our first year of hosting guests and so far it’s been much busier than we anticipated. The return on the investment has been impressive, so for anyone looking to add self-catering accommodation on their property I would definitely recommend speaking to Bothy Stores.

To book a stay at Loch Riddon Bothy, visit:

All images courtesy of Otago Street Collective