Ettrick Valley Yurts
Once blanketed in endless forest, the beautiful Ettrick Valley is one of the last strongholds for true wilderness in the UK. While the woodland swathes may have shrunken since the days of early settlers, it remains a place where the world seems to have passed quietly by. Get out on your bike, however, and its history, myths and rich cultural heritage can be discovered in every nook and cranny. St Mary’s Loch, Neidpath Castle, Melrose Abbey and a peppering of quaint border towns blend amid the beautiful natural scenery, carved by Ettrick Water and the Yarrow River. The banks are dotted with sheep or long-horned cattle and here, when you step from the saddle, you’ll find what you were looking for. Nestled by the waters that trickle down into the weaving river, Ettrick Valley Yurts awaits.
Poised in quintessentially rural Scotland, yet just 70 minutes from Edinburgh, Ettrick Valley Yurts is a glamping experience that offers both quiet seclusion and speedy access to some of the best sights in the region. A network of footpaths, cycle routes and off-road trails make it a wonderfully diverse location, regardless of whether you want to take on the great outdoors, or simply hide away in castles and museums all day long. At its heart, however, the surroundings of the site are only a backdrop. Traditional style Mongolian yurts are warm, welcoming and wonderfully furnished, ideal for a family glamping holiday.
Ettrick Valley Yurts is just a few hundred metres from the river, known locally as ‘The Wild Ettrick’, and closer still to the Newburgh Burn, a trickling stream that babbles through the site. Overlooking the waters, on a raised deck, two yurts accommodate up to six people each and are separate enough from one another to allow guests a private glamping experience. These cosy green abodes blend seamlessly into the lush surroundings, while within, the warm red lattice woodwork is set against the light interior of the canvas. Comfortable beds come in a few different forms: day beds that fold from sofas into king-sized beds, a permanent double bed, a bunk bed and futons, all alongside wooden furniture, tables and chairs. There are also cooking facilities inside that are accompanied by all the crockery, cutlery and utensils you'll need.
While the outside decking (complete with BBQ, firepit and picnic table) is an ideal sun spot in summertime, a pre-prepared wood burner awaits inside for your arrival, so all you need do is strike a match, sit back and watch the kids, who won’t take long to be dabbling in the stream.
From here, guests can walk around to the back of the yurt where a footpath leads you up towards the main building, where new toilets and showers are found. Next door to the ablutions there is also a small shop and common room with electricity, (including a kettle, fridge freezer and Wi-Fi connection), games and a stash of good books to borrow.
The great Scottish setting does come with a caveat or two. Don’t expect to find ten bars on your phone signal and don’t be surprised when a bug or two comes nibbling at the waterside. But using the onsite payphone and lathering on a little insecticide is a small price to pay for this breathtakingly beautiful location – a plethora of historic sites nearby, some of the best fishing in the country and cycle and walking routes fit for anyone with aspirations to enjoy the outdoors.
There are currently 5 yurts onsite (each sleeping up to 6) with single folding futons and larger king-sized beds. Bedding is provided, as are rugs and cushions. A Windy Smith wood burning stove provides heating and can be cooked on. There's also a gas burner and grill. plus a BBQ outside. Tables, chairs, pots, pans, crockery and cutlery are all provided. Though there are plenty of solar lights for the evening, the 5ft crown in the centre is perfect in the daytime and if you turn everything off at night you can enjoy the stars from inside. A short walk from the yurt are proper flushing loos and hot showers, along with a common room with table football, games, books, Wi-Fi and an electric kettle and fridge/freezer. There is ample space around each yurt for playing and a raised deck outside for sitting out and enjoying the views. One of the yurts is also right next to the Newburgh Burn, brilliant for paddling around and having fun, and the second yurt is also extremely close by. The burn flows into the River Ettrick, which is securely fenced off but still easily accessed. Fishing permits are required (salmon and trout) which can be bought in Selkirk at Rogersons Newsagent or online at Fishtweed. Maps are provided for those wanting to take on the local walks or cycle routes, of which there are plenty.
Each yurt can sleep up to 6 people but, with beds and futons that can fold away, it is also available for couples looking for plenty of space. Glamping only so tents, campevans, caravans – no.
Walk or bike the hills close by including famous cycle routes used in the Tour o' the Borders road race. For off road biking, the internationally-renowned 7 Stanes courses (01387 702228) at Glentress and Innerleithen are a great day out where bikes can be hired. Those on the hunt for the best views and landscapes should look for routes around Grey Mare's Tail waterfall (08444 932249) and St Mary’s Loch. The Scottish Borders boast more than just a natural outdoor playground and there is culture and history aplenty: Country houses such as Bowhill (01750 22204), Abbotsford (01896 752043) and Traquair (01896 830323); castles such as Neidpath (01721 720333), Floors (01573 223333) and Thirlestane (01578 722430); the ruined abbeys of Melrose (01896 822562), and Kelso (01316 688600); and pretty Border towns like Peebles (01721 723159), Melrose, and Newton St Boswells to name just a few of the top spots.
Food & Drink
A small shop stocks any essentials, plus a few luxuries. If you don't fancy using the cooking facilities in your yurt then The Gordon Arms (01750 82261) and The Cross Keys Inn (01750 52224) are a 10 and 15 minutes' drive from the site (or a slightly longer cycle). Both welcoming and friendly, serving excellent food and drinks, sometimes with live music.
The Owner Says
Enjoy a breath of fresh air among stunning scenery and stay for a while in one of our gorgeous Mongolian yurts. Comfy beds, fresh linens, colourful rugs and cushions, and a cosy wood burner await you in our beautifully furnished authentic yurts.
The views around this small and exclusive site are simply stunning; it really is a romantic idyll. After dark you can sit around a camp fire, toast marshmallows and gaze at the countless stars visible in the unpolluted night sky.
You can easily idle a day away pottering around the stream with the kids. There is wildlife to watch out for, games to play, adventures to be had and relaxing to be done. There are plenty of walks in the area (for all levels) if you are feeling like a stroll or a challenge, with maps and directions provided.
The area is a must for cyclists with miles of lovely (but not too challenging) scenery to cycle through - again with many maps and routes available. For those who like a cycling challenge, 7tanes mountain biking centre is on Forestry Commission land close by. Fishing, horse riding, and kayaking are all available in the area, or how about 4x4 driving, paragliding or a tree top adventure at Go Ape?
The Ettrick Valley is also a wonderful base for exploring the Scottish Borders with its rich cultural and historic heritage, and natural wonders such as the Grey Mare's Tail and St Mary's Loch.
Hot showers and proper toilets are a short stroll from your Yurt. We also have a small honesty shop on site for any essentials you may have forgotten as well as a few little luxuries.
Cooking facilities include a gas burner and grill as well as a stove top in your Yurt, and your very own charcoal BBQ and fire pit outside.
We look forward to welcoming to you to this special part of Scotland: come and escape to the Ettrick Valley.
From Edinburgh: From the A720 City Bypass, follow A68 south to the Newstead Roundabout then follow signs to Galashiels and Selkirk. From Selkirk take the B7009. We are about 6.5 miles past Ettrick Bridge on the left.
From Edinburgh Airport/Glasgow: Travelling east, turn off the Edinburgh bypass at the Straiton Junction and take A701 to Peebles. Then take the A72 to Innerleithen and then the B709 past Traquair to Tushielaw. Turn left here, Ettrick Valley Yurts is about 2.5 miles on the right.
From England: From the A1 take the A68 north of Darlington. Turn off at Newstead Roundabout and follow signs to Galashiels and Selkirk as above.
Or from the M6 take the A7 to Hawick and then Selkirk.
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