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Dinner on the Moors: A Rustic, Off-the-Grid Cottage in the Scottish Highlands

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Dinner on the Moors: A Rustic, Off-the-Grid Cottage in the Scottish Highlands

June 30, 2017

Our London friend Nell Card clued us in to what must be the most spectacular location for a dinner party we’ve seen yet: An off-the-grid wood cabin that’s one with the moors in Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park. Culardoch Shieling (named for Culardoch, the mountain above, and the Gaelic word for “hut”) was recently designed by London- and Aberdeenshire-based firm Moxon Architects to blend in with the heathery Scottish highlands and serve as a remote, rustic entertainment space for the private clients—long, communal dining table included. It’s now known as the “lunch hut,” though we think it would be particularly otherworldly in candlelight. Here’s a look.

Photography courtesy of Moxon Architects.

Dinner on the Moors A Rustic OfftheGrid Cottage in the Scottish Highlands The hut blends into the rugged fields and hills of the national park.
Above: The hut blends into the rugged fields and hills of the national park.

The hut has a “cruck” frame (meaning traditional curved timber) made of Scottish-grown European larch. Respect for the landscape was Moxon Architects’ primary consideration when building the structure: “The design draws on the anthropological history of the location; in particular, the trace outlines of shielings and livestock shelters that can be found nearby,” they explain. Aside from some modernist touches, the hut (complete with rugged green roof of heather and moss) seems it could’ve been there for centuries; the all-wood structure and the lack of electricity mean minimal impact.

Dinner on the Moors A Rustic OfftheGrid Cottage in the Scottish Highlands The structure consists of one large, sparse room, where an elongated wood table is the centerpiece.
Above: The structure consists of one large, sparse room, where an elongated wood table is the centerpiece.

The interior is lined in Sitka spruce. A wood stove provides heat and, in the evening, candles grouped on a custom iron shelf suspended from the ceiling provide the only light. On the wall: a dried bough for decor.

Dinner on the Moors A Rustic OfftheGrid Cottage in the Scottish Highlands Rectangular windows cut into the wood are inspired by Le Corbusier&#8\2\17;s iconic Ronchamp chapel in France. The shelf also holds crookery and dishes.
Above: Rectangular windows cut into the wood are inspired by Le Corbusier’s iconic Ronchamp chapel in France. The shelf also holds crookery and dishes.
Dinner on the Moors A Rustic OfftheGrid Cottage in the Scottish Highlands Painterly light and half spent candles. On the wall, wooden crates echo the shapes of the windows and provide shelving (and a place to drape branches).
Above: Painterly light and half-spent candles. On the wall, wooden crates echo the shapes of the windows and provide shelving (and a place to drape branches).
Dinner on the Moors A Rustic OfftheGrid Cottage in the Scottish Highlands The caveat (and charm) of Culardoch Shieling? Since there&#8\2\17;s no electricity (or bath), meals must be prepared elsewhere and, rather rustically, carried through the fields to the small hut for serving.
Above: The caveat (and charm) of Culardoch Shieling? Since there’s no electricity (or bath), meals must be prepared elsewhere and, rather rustically, carried through the fields to the small hut for serving.
Dinner on the Moors A Rustic OfftheGrid Cottage in the Scottish Highlands Looking out to the surrounding glen, where the River Gairn cuts through.
Above: Looking out to the surrounding glen, where the River Gairn cuts through.

We’re inspired lately by new ways to combine rustic with modern, for dinner parties and beyond. For more inspiration in Ireland and Scotland, see our posts:

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