This year has been one of the best in terms of amazing trips both in Scotland and abroad. We’ve enjoyed both slow and fast-paced trips. So we decided to end the year with our final trip of 2017 being one to unwind and recharge our batteries. Having enjoyed a few long weekends here before we knew Airhouses would do just that.
Located in Lauder near the Scottish Borders, Airhouses have four lodges (sleeps 2-6), one house (sleeps 10) and a pod (sleeps 2) to choose from. All set in the most peaceful and calming spot with animals and nature all around. Perfection! Owners, Carol and Martin are lovely hosts and made us feel very welcome.
It’s easy to take the wrong track once you arrive at the entrance of the grounds. We ended up taking the back road, which was….bumpy to say the least. We realised this wasn’t the right way as soon as we started heading down the track, but it was too late and there wasn’t any space to turn around. Don’t worry if you go this way because you’ll still get to Airhouses, it’s just going to be bumpy.
The better option is to take the main track (see images below), which is a nice open track with most of the road surface being smoother. The views are so much better as well. Just look at that view.
Arrival and Check-in
By the time we arrived at Airhouses it was already dark. We headed straight for the owners home to check-in. Allan popped into check-in and collect the key from Carol for our lodge. Check-in is super quick so within minutes Allan was back in the car. We drove down the short track from the house to the lodge.
It was lovely to see all the lodges had Christmas lights decorating the decking area, which was glowing in the dark. Martin popped round shortly after arriving to ensure we had everything and to explain how everything worked such as the hot tub.
The Ramsay – Wheelchair Accessible Lodge
The Ramsay is one of Airhouses wheelchair accessible lodges with a category 2 disabled access rating by Visit Scotland. The other accessible lodges are The Lamont and The Capercaillie. The Ramsay is described as a “luxurious, romantic retreat for 2 people or for parties/families of up to 4”. This lodge ticked all the boxes for a relaxing weekend just for the two of us.
There is a parking bay right outside the lodge and level decking leading straight to the entrance. Since we’ve been to Airhouses many years ago, we knew what the lodges and farmland looked like. Although this was our first time staying in The Ramsay. Even though we arrived in the dark, you can still get a sense of how lovely the lodges and surrounding area are. There were acres of field all around and we already felt relaxed by the peace and quiet.
There is a small door threshold to cross over when entering the lodge. I recommend being aware of this as depending on how low your wheelchair lies it may catch the threshold a little. I say this because the tiny stabilisers at the back of my wheelchair got stuck so I had to take care when coming in and out of the lodge.
Once inside the lodge, you will be faced with an entryway and display unit with lots of leaflets and information on the local area. These will come in handy for exploring and learning more about the area. Then the wide hallway lined with books leads us to the bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms on either side and the kitchen and living area straight ahead.
The open plan lounge, kitchen and dining area were cosy and comfortable. There were a 3 seater sofa, an armchair and large snuggler chair in the living room. We had to slightly move them around to give me more room for moving around in my wheelchair, but it wasn’t a problem.
The massive windows were perfect for looking out and enjoying the amazing view that surrounded us. I really do love getting away from it all and just doing nothing for a few days. Who’s with me?
The kitchen was fully fitted with everything we needed. There was a welcome breakfast basket so all we had to do was bring food to last us the rest of our stay. However, there is a list of takeaways and restaurants in the local area as well as the option to order your food delivery from the supermarket.
During our stay, we drove to the grocery shop, which was about 20 minutes away. We planned on getting a takeaway on the night of my birthday, but we realised we didn’t have any cash on us, so I’d recommend making sure you have enough money as the nearest ATM is around 15 minutes away.
The Ramsay sleeps four people in two double bedrooms each with their own ensuite bathroom. The bedroom we choose was the master bedroom so it was a little easier for manoeuvring around in. The bed was a super kingsize which was great and as always I took my trusty travel mat with me to lay on in case the bed was too hard.
There wasn’t a great deal of space under the bed for a portable hoist, but I think something could be placed under the legs to raise the bed up if needed. The bedside tables on each side meant items such as a phone etc could be kept within reach.
When doing my hair and makeup in the morning I need a table to sit at so my arms have something to lean on. Unfortunately, the position of the table in the corner of the bedroom was not wheelchair accessible so I had to get myself ready at the dining table instead.
Our ensuite bathroom had a shower and a bath. There was no built-in shower seat, but there was a shower chair on wheels which I requested during the booking process. Although it wasn’t the type of shower chair I am used to using at home, it did allow me to shower. There are no grab bars in or around the shower area, which could, in fact, make showering difficult if not risky for some people.
The toilet also didn’t have grab bars, which made toileting independently challenging for me. Without grab bars, I have nothing to lean on and my balance is non-existent. Instead, there was a toilet frame that was placed over the toilet. Depending on your ability, this could be suitable, but for me, it wasn’t. The sink was a good size and I was able to roll underneath due to the half pedestal.
Second Bedroom & Bathroom
Since it was just the two of us on this trip the second bedroom and bathroom weren’t used. I thought I’d share some photos and a few of my thoughts on them anyway. This bedroom and bathroom were smaller than the master bedroom but I was still able to drive my wheelchair in and move around.
Therefore I’d recommend if you’re a wheelchair user taking the other room as it would work a lot better for you. This bathroom had a similar set up as the other one, but this one only had a wet room shower.
Private Outdoor Terrace
As you know I love going to lodges/cabins that have hot tubs. I love being able to soak my muscles in the toasty tub. It is great hydrotherapy for me. I’m always cold so it’s amazing for that too.
The hot tub at the Ramsay is on the accessible private decking. There is a handrail next to the steps into the hot tub, which is the first hot tub I’ve been in with a handrail.
The large decking area had two patio sets perfect for when the weather is lovely. Just like the main door, the patio door also had a slightly raised door threshold. Once over the threshold, there was so much space for moving around in my wheelchair. Although it was the middle of November, I can imagine sitting on that decking in the beautiful sunshine. My previous stays at the Airhouses were during summer months so we had amazing weather and it was great to relax in the sun.
Things to See & Do at Airhouses
On the Farm
There are lots of things to see and do around the farm for all ages. Things to keep the children entertained for hours include a treasure trail, puzzle trail, playden with games, toys, books and more. There are also an enchanted wood, farm walks and more. For more information on what to see and do look here.
Animals on the farm:
- Shetland ponies
- Rare birds
- And lots more wildlife
Being only 20 miles from Edinburgh, Airhouses is a great base for exploring the Scottish Borders and surrounding areas such as Stirling, Glasgow and Loch Lomond. There are lots of things to do from castles, museums, beaches, activities, cafes, restaurants and lovely little towns with boutique shops.
Borders General Hospital
Somewhere I’ve never visited while on holiday is a hospital. That all changed during my weekend at Airhouses. There is a first for everything, right?
Let’s just say it wasn’t the ‘break’ I had in mind. Well, if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you probably will have seen a few photos of my little accident involving my thumb and my wheelchair armrest. Unfortunately, the armrest won, but my poor thumb ended up fractured. As I was getting transferred back into my wheelchair my arm fell down and because I don’t have any control or resistance my hand smashed down full force onto my armrest, fracturing one of the bones in my thumb.
It was just one of those fluke things that happen that even if I tried I could probably never recreate. On the plus side, the staff at Borders General Hospital were amazing! They were absolutely fantastic, friendly, caring and so efficient.
The Ramsay is a lovely lodge with wheelchair access throughout. If you can manage with the bathroom setup and you’re looking to recharge your batteries after a hectic 2017 then I recommend you take a look at Airhouses. A long weekend break might be exactly what you’re needing to kickstart the New Year.