Two weeks ago the husband and I headed North to a tiny place called Appin, near Oban in Scotland. We were going to an Eco Pod.
It felt cool, adventurous and loaded with anticipation; the trip had been booked for months and it was a place I’d wanted to stay for a while.
The sun came out briefly as we drove over the narrow bridge, in awe at the sight of Loch Awe.
It soon started pouring again as we arrived at the Castle Stalker View Cafe. I was glad I’d brought wellies and a rain mac.
A winding path led through the woods like a mystical fairy trail. The leaves seemed more green, the rustle of nature amplified; more noticeable, the air laden with purity and relaxation. We’d arrived. The door was unlocked.
The Eco Pod was much bigger than we’d imagined, but looked just as luxurious as the pictures on the website promised (we stayed in Pod 1).
Except it was cold. The weather didn’t help, but even looking back over the pictures now, a shiver goes down my spine. (Did I mention it was cold?)
The hot tub was wonderful – the second time.
The pod features a Japanese cedar-wood affair, and for hygiene it requires to be run fresh each time. So far, so good. But on our first attempt the gas ran out resulting in less than luke-warm water, followed by a freezing shower.
The situation was quickly rectified after a desperate voicemail, text, and a hot breakfast in the cafe. (Thanks Jim.) I felt warmth for an hour, and then it was back to the Eco Pod. It was raining and we could see our breath in the air. (Did I mention it was cold?)
We took our own champagne and a basket of goodies left in the fridge meant we didn’t go hungry (eggs, smoked salmon, cheese, chocolate…)
One thing the Eco Pod does guarantee is privacy and isolation, but when you want it, there’s an Apple TV, iPod dock and Wi-Fi. And a hairdryer. (If you need that kind of thing in the rain-strewn wilderness.)
On the Saturday we headed into Oban.
The infamous Scottish weather persisted, honouring us with gorgeous atmospheric cloud and a moody sunset. The harbour held a particular draw for me with all the little fishing boats, the fishing equipment, the sea air.
It felt merry and bright; the heater in the car efficiently keeping us warm. But when we got back to the Eco Pod, sans roaring fire (because how can you maintain a fire when you’re not there?), it was cold. Really cold. Did I mention we could see our breath in the air?
At one point I thought it might have been warmer outside.
Apparently the underfloor heating is only on during the winter months, as it runs off a bio-mass boiler…
Perversely I think if it had been sunny, the pod would have heated up like a balloon in a sauna (uncomfortably so).
The rain tapping against the walls of the pod was soothing and reassuring at first. But then it was a psychological reiteration of the cold. The summer storm that seemed to rage outside kept us awake and tree branches beat against the roof.
In the mornings we woke earlier than we wanted as there aren’t any curtains.
On the way home we stopped at Glencoe so I could admire the mountains. (Here’s a little photo/poetry book I created as an ode to the mountains.)
The verdict: did I enjoy my stay at the Eco Pod?
Yes – it was an interesting experience, it was an adventure and it was fun together and creative time away from home.
No – I didn’t expect to feel so miserably cold the whole time.
Would I go back? Err…
The Eco Pod is a popular destination in a scenic location, and is definitely a step up from a tent. Check availability/find out more.