**Disclosure: We were guests for four nights at Couthy Harbour House. Regardless of this, please be advised that all opinions expressed in this blog post are genuine and authentically our own.**
Last May our family set out to discover the northeastern region of Scotland known as Moray Speyside. Besides being home to more than half of the country’s whisky distilleries, and being the base to famous brands such as Walkers Shortbread (think of their world-famous red tartan cookie boxes), Baxters (known for their tasty soups) and Johnstons of Elgin (maker of cashmere and fine woolen goods), Moray Speyside is packed with things to see, do and experience. With so many gems to discover and uncover, we knew we had to stay somewhere equally impressive. We knew just the place to go - although we could not pronounce it!
Can You Say Findochty?
Lesson number 1: What you see is not what you pronounce. Lesson number 2: Learn from a local. Lucky for us, one of Barry’s friends is from where we decided to base ourselves in Moray Speyside, and he immediately corrected our butchering of “Findochty,” In the Scots language, it is pronounced, “Finechty.” Class dismissed.
We embarked on our road trip from Aberdeen to Dufftown where we excitedly met the team behind Speyside Cottages, James and Louise. They took the time out of their busy schedules to give us a warm welcome and provide us with insights to their accommodations, especially to where we were basing ourselves for the next four nights, Couthy Harbour House in Findochty, located over half an hour away from Dufftown.
We had a very pleasant and effortless chat over a cup of coffee in which during this time it was evident that both James and Louise love connecting with people through self-catering and know how to add “that little something special” to the overall accommodation experience to make it memorable. My personal experience to the aforementioned took place soon after our booking dates were confirmed, and we received a secure link from the owners which provided the helpful and handy digital welcome packet all in one go. Everything was at our fingertips! Practical, informative, easy, and succinct. I loved it.
Cozy & Comfy = Couthy Harbour House
We left the Speyside Cottages’ duo team an hour later and arrived at the picturesque and historic fishing village of Findochty which dates back to the 1400s. Of all the fishing villages dotted along the Moray coast, I considered Findochty’s entrance to be the most beautiful and scenic of the bunch. The characteristic charming painted cottages, the peaceful sandy and rocky beaches, and the sheer joy of having gorgeous weather while away gave the entire place a great, positive, holiday atmosphere. An added bonus was that Findochty can boast of having an excellent wee restaurant & bar, Admirals Inn. However, we were there on a serious mission, and both Barry and I had our quality assurance auditor thinking caps on (we met as Quality Assurance Engineers back in the day) and we were ready to inspect our temporary lodging.
Prior to leaving home, I read on Speyside Cottage’s website that the word "couthy" is a Scottish term meaning “cozy, welcoming and comfortable.” Upon entry to the pristine white painted house, it was clear to me why the abode had been baptized as such. It was all of those things. It was absolutely couthy!
Smart and Stunning
Thanks to the digital welcome packet received a week prior to our road trip, we were well prepared on all aspects of our arrival. The whole process was hassle free. Soon after we unpacked, we became acquainted with our internal surroundings. Right off the bat I could tell that a lot of TLC had gone into the refurbishment of this home which was originally built in 1848. The best part of it all is that back in 2020 James actively participated in restoring the abandoned house to its “former glory and more,” as described on their website.
I could try to go into detail as to what the house offers, but I consider that Speyside Cottage’s website illustrates it superbly well in a nutshell.
Couthy Harbour Home will exceed guest expectations. It has 3 bedrooms, two King size beds and one double. There is one luxury bathroom with separate walk-in shower, dual sinks, and ambient lighting plus another WC. The Ground floor has exceptional social space with a large kitchen opening onto a private south facing garden, large dining area and cosy living room with wood burning stove and conservatory also opening into the garden. Smart TVs and reliable WiFi throughout. Located moments from the Harbour, local bar & restaurant, the sandy beaches and coastal paths. Enjoy the comfort of Loxone Smart Home features such as its ambient heating system, motion based and multiple scene lighting options and luxurious hotel quality beds…. We love there is very limited if any phone signal, letting you enjoy your retreat in peace!
What I truly loved about Couthy Harbour House was the sheer luxury exuded through the large and small details incorporated throughout the dwelling. For me, the house’s ‘wow factor’ was the impressive ambient ceiling mounted LED lighting found in the kitchen, dining room, living room and bedrooms. It was very clear to me that the owners have excellent taste and that they did not withhold in getting the best of everything when redoing the house.
Couthy Harbour House is smart and stunning. It is luxurious and it is not too big yet not too small. It is simply perfect. Barry, mother-in-law, baby, and I each felt like we had plenty of areas to relax and unwind without being immensely separated from one another. Equally, we enjoyed each other’s company when we came together during mealtimes and afterwards while sipping on a refreshing G&T garnished with cucumber slices, a cold Scottish craft beer or a dram of whisky from one of the nearby distilleries. Needless to say, Couthy Harbour House welcomed us from the moment we arrived. Mission accomplished.
**See below for more videos of the property**
Moray Speycation Expectations
Couthy Harbour House was our perfect holiday home. I only have the highest regard for the quality of stay and experience that the house affords. It was the ideal base for our family to explore Moray Speyside by car and foot. While our days were enjoyed participating in a wide variety of activities, both locally and further afield, all four of us always looked forward to returning to our couthy home by the late afternoon. Although bigger than a cottage, it amazingly provided the snug feeling of being restful and sheltered. I cannot recommend Couthy Harbour House, Speyside Cottages and Findochty highly enough. Indeed, it exceeded our expectations. I cannot wait for us to go back with family and friends and experience a new “Moray Speycation.”
Remember, take the challenge, discover what is in your backyard, whether you live in Scotland, in the other parts of the British Isles or even Europe, venture into magnificent Moray, Scotland. Don’t forget that at Tailor-Made Itineraries we delight in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting Moray appeals to you, reach out to us by email. We would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the amazing attractions of Moray, or indeed, of Scotland in general.
Join us next time when our family adventures continue as we explore the Moray area of Scotland. Until then, happy reading and safe travels.
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*Interested in staying at Couthy Harbour House or another of Speyside Cottages' excellent self-catering properties, like the Ben Shea in Dufftown - Scotland’s first luxury self-catering Smart Home? For more information visit: https://speysidecottages.com/