Kennels Cottage Bed and Breakfast
All Photos (c) Donna Dailey
Just off the A977 near Dollarbeg in Clackmannanshire, a single-track road leads us to a secret hideaway where hens peck around and several classic cars are parked in the forecourt and outbuildings. We get a warm welcome from Alex and Tanya, and from their two friendly Labradors, one black and one golden.
We enter through a porch into the huge and immaculate guest lounge, with two white sofas, two olive-green easy chairs, interesting artworks on the walls and other Oriental-style furniture collected during Alex and Tanya's 12 years working in Hong Kong.
A large bookcase fills one wall with an eclectic collection ranging from literary fiction through guidebooks to Alex’s collection of books about classic cars. On these shelves Alan Bennett sits next to the Dalai Lama. There’s also an extensive and equally eclectic collection of DVDs, for guests’ entertainment. We could have spent an entire day just watching some of these.
Checking Emails in the Guest Lounge!
Along a corridor, past the breakfast room, is our room, one of four ensuite guest rooms, all with garden or countryside views. It’s quite a simple room but very stylish, with colourful cushions on the large bed matching a painting on the wall, though the rest of the room was mainly pale and restful. There’s a TV, tea- and coffee-making facilities, free WiFi and a big window looking out onto the garden where birds are flitting to and from the bird feeders.
Tanya offers us a drink – tea, coffee, beer, gin and tonic? We settle for tea and shortbread, as we’re driving out later to the Unicorn Brasserie in Kincardine, where Alex has booked us a table. Till then we relax in the quiet guest lounge, chatting for a while to two other guests who have been out in the Morgan for the day, one of the cars we'll be driving tomorrow. It was a birthday treat from the wife for her husband, a surprise booked 12 months earlier. She Googled ‘classic cars’ but not many people had a Morgan, like Alex, which he specifically wanted to drive.
Our Room at Kennnels Cottage
Red Squirrels in the Garden
On our first evening we heard what we thought was a fox squealing as we went to bed, and hoped the hens were safely locked up for the night. The next day Alex told us it was probably an owl, maybe a short-eared owl, and the hens were perfectly safe. There are also some red squirrels nesting in the birch tree in the garden, he told us, although we didn’t see them.
Included in the price is a full cooked breakfast with eggs from their own free-range hens and meat from a local farm. It's one of those menus that's hard to choose from, as every dish sounds good:
It's a true feast to send us on our way, though before we leave we spend time chatting to Tanya and Alex. They're the kind of perfect hosts who make you feel like you're old friends within a few minutes of meeting them. We never did sample the gin and tonic, although each night when we returned there was a not-so-wee dram waiting for us in the lounge - true Scottish hospitality!
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