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Our little black book of enchanting places

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Finding Findhorn

Posted in DESTINATIONS By Maggie O' Sullivan

©PHoyle/thinkstockphotos

Every May, a friend and I head up to Scotland for a few days. We try a different area each time – east coast, west coast, Highlands and islands – but our requirements are always the same: good accommodation, good food and good weather. We usually manage one out of three. But this year we hit the jackpot: a charming holiday cottage by the sea, a local pub serving fantastic seafood, and sunshine for two days.

Findhorn sits at the mouth of the Findhorn River on the Moray coast. If the name rings a bell, you're probably thinking of the Findhorn Foundation, an eco village founded on spiritual values in the Sixties. The Foundation is still there – and thriving – but we were more interested in the pretty fishing village of the same name, which sits on a beautiful bay edged by a dune-backed beach on one side and Culbin Forest on the other.Findhorn, ScotlandAn important seaport until the late 19th century, today Findhorn is home to around 900 permanent residents, many of whom work in the tourism industry, letting out the tiny fisher cottages that are arranged in an unusual grid system, linked by narrow stryplies, or lanes (pictured above). We were staying in one such cottage, pleasingly located within a herring gull's cry of the beach.Tern Cottage, FindhornTern Cottage was built in the early 19th century and though it retains its traditional cottage feel (the bedroom is tucked under the steeply sloping eaves), It has been stylishly refurbished by the current owners. With its tiny garden, coastal-themed decorative accessories, cosy wood burner and vases of wildflowers in the bedroom and sitting room, we loved it.Findhorn Beach, Scotland

We loved this part of Scotland, too. One day we drove along the coast to Nairn, where we walked the wide expanse of sandy beach; on another we explored Culbin Forest where Hill 99 Viewpoint Trail winds through the trees to a treetop lookout. Sadly, We missed the colony of seals in Findhorn Bay – another time.Model boat, Tern Cottage, FindhornFindhorn offers a number of cafés and restaurants, including The Bakehouse virtually next door to Tern Cottage, but just to keep things simple we stuck to a pub called the Kimberley Inn, overlooking the bay. The interior wasn't anything special, but staff were welcoming, it had a great vibe, and the food, with an emphasis on fresh seafood, was excellent. Puddings reflected the famous Scottish sweet tooth: Mars Bar Cheese Cake anyone?

So – good accommodation, good food, and by some miracle, good weather. The only problem now is, will we ever do as well again?

BY MAGGIE O'SULLIVAN

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