Pamela Goodman falls for the rustic charms of Glen Glack Cabins in Perthshire.
Am I the only one to feel a little challenged by the pervasive use of the word ‘porn’ on social-media sites or in book titles? ‘Porn’ seems to have become a generic, catch-all suffix for something that aims to tantalise or to stimulate, generally in an aesthetically pleasing way, hence food porn, property porn, bicycle porn, chocolate porn. Add the word porn and supposedly the most prosaic of subject matters will become instantly desirable.
When a friend gave me a book called Cabin Porn, there was a moment’s hesitation as my imagination fluttered briefly over the possible contents. No need to worry, of course, as the book was as tasteful as could be, presenting an assortment of exquisite rural escapes the world over, plus advice on how to build your own. I have since discovered that Cabin Porn is a New York Times bestseller — translated into eight languages.
Taking the porn out of it, let’s talk about cabins. I, for one, have always been a sucker for cabins. Treehouses, too, and shepherd’s huts, although I tend to draw the line at a yurt. Full immersion into Nature is clearly what we all crave, yet I don’t imagine anyone anticipated the trend taking off in quite the way it has over recent years. The bandwagon for dusting random countryside — woods, hills, riversides, fields — with escapists’ retreats is fully rolling. Even small, enterprising sauna companies have begun offering mobile sauna units in converted wagons or Portacabins on beaches along the UK’s coastline.
Yet our thirst for escapism is not quite what it seems. Although we can clearly handle the Nature aspect of cabin life, we are more reluctant to let go of the creature comforts. Perhaps, when it comes right down to it, there is no escapism quite as marvellous as super-luxury escapism, where you can feel as if you are embracing the wilderness, but from the comfort of an embracing king-size bed with a 13-tog duvet and Siberian goose-down pillows.
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Cynical as I may sound, I am all for a bit of super-luxury escapism. Indeed, I recently had the good fortune to visit Glen Glack Cabins, five new, exquisitely designed retreats overlooking Cally Loch in the woods above Dunkeld, all part of the mighty Atholl Estates in Scotland’s Perthshire.
What sets these cabins apart, apart from the fact that most of them are larger than the average two-bedroom flat, is the creative input of a top London design duo (Turner Pocock, should you wish to know), which was called upon to fashion the interiors. Yes, I had the king-size bed, the 13-tog duvet and the Siberian goose-down pillows, but my bedroom also had wallpaper — and not any old wallpaper, but Robert Kime, interior-designer-to-The-King wallpaper. How far cabin life has come.
Furthermore, outside Juniper, the smallest of the cabins and clearly designed for the romantics among us, was a wood-fired bath with a novel chimney at one end and space enough for two. Although not looking quite the vessel for spontaneous bathing (I assume that the water takes a while to heat) there was, nevertheless, something rather tantalising, and aesthetically pleasing, about all that this bath promised.
Cabin porn, I guess you might call it.