Relaxation or an adventure?

Cottages at Moness Resort, Aberfeldy

Cottages at Moness Resort, Aberfeldy

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Aberfeldy is described as the adventure capital of Scotland, and to be fair, it is not far wrong.

The town is framed by majestic mountains, perfect for cycle enthusiasts or hikers who wish to explore the natural beauties of the land.

Food at Flemmyng Restaurant at Moness Resort

Food at Flemmyng Restaurant at Moness Resort

If watersports are more your thing, the largest loch in Perthshire, Loch Tay is just a few miles away, offering ample opportunity to go kayaking, canoeing, or even rib riding - the latest adventure known for commonly as simply a trip on a small boat.

But who am I kidding?

As I watched two young boys dare themselves to count to 10 whilst they waded into the loch and run out again, I knew there was no chance of me dipping my toes in, even if there was a sauna there to warm the cockles.

Luckily, I did not have to venture into cold waters, as I was not too far away from the luxurious and warm facilities at Moness Resort, where my partner and I stayed for two nights.

Birks of Aberfeldy

Birks of Aberfeldy

The complex has a host of facilities to enjoy, which includes a swimming pool, steam room, sauna and hot tub, plus a bit of pampering in the treatment rooms.

It doesn’t matter what you are looking for, Moness Resort can offer it. For families wanting a break away with a living space, the complex has a selection of self-catering holiday cottages, many with views overlooking the magnificent Aberfeldy Hills.

We wanted something a little more intimate and so we chose to stay in the four-star hotel, in one of the individually-styled rooms.

The building used to be a hunting lodge and set in 35 acres of woodland, it is easy to unwind and escape into the deep copse.

A bedroom in one of the cottages in Moness Resort

A bedroom in one of the cottages in Moness Resort

Food is never far from our mind and luckily we were not disappointed.

The luxurious Flemmyng Restaurant shows fine dining at its greatest. All meat, fish and game are locally sourced from around Perthshire, allowing for a truly authentic experience.

The chef should truly be commended here, as each dish delivered to us was carefully prepared and was as delicious as the last.

The pan-seared wood pigeon with puy lentils, pickled radish, celeriac puree and pancetta crumb was a new taste to the palate and was very succulent.

Loch Tay

Loch Tay

Although not a big fish fan, I opted for the pan-seared scallops, with cauliflower puree, seranno ham crisp and curried cauliflower chutney, and I was certainly converted. My main, breast of corn-fed chicken, with rosemary fondant potato and a damson and herb jus, was also a delight to my taste buds.

Even the bread was worthy of note, deliciously seasoned with a garlic and rosemary.

For those with a simpler palate, there is the option to dine in the more laid-back Terrace, which offers classic home comforts.

After being well and truly spoilt, it was time to sample the great outdoors. Cycling is one great - and fast - way to roam free on the beautiful highlands.

Guests can also bring their own bikes, which are incidentally also given the VIP treatment by way of a special storage room, which certainly saves the carpet getting muddy. Don’t worry if you don’t own a set of two wheels, as the resort hires out a range of bikes.

My more adventurous partner spent the morning exploring Tay Forest park, taking in the undulating route around Schiehallion, one of the higher mountains in the area. He rode to Loch Tay and then Loch Tummel, following part of the Etape Caledonia route, which is itself part of a larger network of cycle routes in the area.

Flemmyngs Restaurant, Moness Restaurant

Flemmyngs Restaurant, Moness Restaurant

Every climb offers a different view to the last, as the imposing mountains, ablaze in their autumnal plumage of purple heather and russet bracken, are mirrored perfectly by the silent waters below.

Whilst my partner was on his cycling jaunt, I opted for something a little more refined. Wanting to maintain my princess-like status, I made my first visit to a Scottish castle, which was far grander than I expected. The former home of the Menzies clan had transitioned from a rugged highland fortress to a mansion house fit for royalty. Even Bonnie Prince Charlie had rested there during the second Jacobite rising.

We cannot mention Scotland without the famous poet Robert Burns. It was he who put Aberfeldy on the map, with his musings of the beautiful Birks of Aberfeldy.

We were lucky enough to trace his steps as we completed the 90-minute circular walk, which starts just minutes away from Moness Resort and takes you to the impressive Upper Moness Falls. It was worth the steep climb to bask in the marvel of the falls and stop by Burns’ Seat, where he gathered his thoughts.

One bedroom self-catering cottage sleeping up to four, from £70; two bedroom self-catering cottage sleeping up to six, from £100; three bedroom self-catering cottage sleeping up to eight, from £120. Hotel prices from £105 bed and breakfast and £159 dinner, bed and breakfast. There is a winter warmer discount of up to 55 per cent for winter stays if booked before November 30. For more information visit www.moness.com.