Cabin on the Lake...

Gwalia Cabin Cake (A Poem by Sarah Grass)

Sarah and Lee came to stay in early March and Sarah wrote this wonderful poem, we were absolutely delighted to receive it. It makes me smile every time I read it. It feels like she captured everything we hope that our guests enjoy about staying in the Cabin. She agreed to let us put it here for all to enjoy!

There’s a photo of Sarah at the top lake enjoying the wintry weather.

SarahGwalia Cabin Cake
(The recipe for a slice of heaven!)

In the middle of nowhere, off the
beaten track is a little slice of heaven,
the Gwalia Farm wooden shack.
Tucked away amongst the hills and the
Silver birch, you can watch the clouds
roll by and listen to the birds that perch.
As they serenade you, the winds melody as
the strings, you become enchanted with the
echo from the springs.
Leave behind the daily grind and pack it
all away, forget about the mundane things
as the night closes in on the day.
Sit and breathe the cool crisp air and
watch the water ripple, enjoy the moons
pale spotlight with your favourite tipple.
Unwind inside this haven as the fire crackles
and sends out an amber glow, you wont want
to burst this bubble to pack your things and go.
When you wake in the morn there’s a drizzle of
snow on the lake, just like a fine mist of
icing sugar dusted onto a cake.
Looking out to the banks with their thick
mossy rug, you sit on the porch with a
steaming hot mug, you think about this
glorious view and now you have a reason,
you must return to see it’s wonder
in the summer season!

Sarah Grass (03/03/15)

Guest Blog by Heather & Dan – The Winter Experience

Home fires burning

Home fires burning

We stayed at the cabin on the lake for 4 nights over new year 2014 and wanted to share our experience of being in the cabin over winter as we had a wonderful time, and we think future guests will have equally amazing stay if they choose to visit in winter.

It was such a relaxing stay, being beside the lake and so close to nature. Being cut off from the TV, computer and, whilst inside the cabin, mobile phones, meant you could really relax, enjoy the beautiful surroundings and get stuck into a good book!

We had a wonderful stay due to going prepared and having read-up on Gwalia website about the facilities and what to expect. The website really does try and give you a flavour of what the cabin is like, with the photos and also the very clear information from Dee and Amy. We knew it would be cold, and that the weather might be bad, so we simply packed accordingly. Lots of thermal socks, vests, waterproofs, gloves, wellies etc.!

We had our main meal of the day at lunchtime whilst out and about, and then we bought provisions in the local supermarket for a simple dinner at the cabin in the evening. Eating a sausage sandwich or tucking into a warm bowl of soup with crusty bread, whilst sitting out on the decking lit by tea lights, was the perfect end to our busy days of walking and adventure!

Icey Lake

Icey Lake

Chilly canoeing!

Chilly canoeing!

  • A lovely log burner inside the cabin so we were never cold.
  • Plenty of wood to keep the log burner going through the evening.
  • Plenty of warm bedding and blankets provided to ensure you were never cold. Blankets meant you could sit outside in the evening with them wrapped around you.
  • Paraffin lamps meant plenty of light in the evenings outside on the decking. The torches and battery light bulbs meant we could read inside the cabin. Lots of tea light lanterns to light up the outdoor area beautifully in an evening.
  • The hot tub was brilliant! What a wonderful experience to be in a warm hot tub at night time, with the stars twinkling in the sky above you. Being wintertime, it took us a few hours to get the water up to temperature on our first evening, however, the following nights didn’t need so long as the water had retained some warmth. Anyway, it gives you something to look forward to!
  • Composting toilet was absolutely fine (to be honest, much nicer than any portaloos or public toilets!!) Nice to have a natural fragrance spray inside the toilet hut just to keep things smelling fresh whilst you were inside. I loved the heart-shaped window cut into the door so you could look out at the lake.
  • Having the canoe was great fun to explore the lake. We certainly enjoyed having a paddle!
  • Super range of resources in the kitchen to cater for your cooking needs (the website explains what is supplied so you have a good idea what to expect prior to arrival).
  • The outdoor sink for washing up the dishes and washing yourself was tucked around the side of the cabin. Yes, the water was cold coming out of it in winter as it came from the natural spring. However, all you had to do was boil the kettle.
  • We tried all the methods of showering! Dee and Amy kindly let us use their indoor shower at the farmhouse. We also used the pump up shower, although the low pressure (well we are all used to power showers nowadays!) meant in winter it was a rather chilly shower experience. Our final shower was using hot water from the hot tub in our bucket, which worked brilliantly and definitely worked better for us than the pump-up shower. This was a very invigorating wash outside on the decking and finished off perfectly but jumping into the hot tub afterwards!
  • The warmth from the log burner in the cabin meant clothes and towels dried very quickly!
  • Lots of thoughtful touches to the cabin, such as providing a compact mirror, mulled wine and mince pies on arrival, binoculars and nature books provided.
  • Being winter it was cold enough outside so we didn’t need to use the natural fridge!
Candlelit evenings

Candlelit evenings

We would absolutely recommend visiting the cabin in winter. I have no doubt future guests will also have a beautiful and peaceful stay. Just use your common sense! Go prepared for a simpler way of life and pack plenty of thermals!

Our thanks to Heather and Dan for their blog entry and general loveliness xx

Heavenly Hot Tub

The wood fired hot tub is one of the main features of the new cabin which will hopefully add that bit extra when people are choosing where go on the their short break.  We’ve also been looking forward to a dip in it as well but first we had to get it off the lorry, over the field, over the stream, over the style and onto the new decking.  Not so easy when the whole thing weighs in a 190kg!  We disassembled what we could, found several strips of old carpet, tipped it on its side and then rolled.  It was quite a sight but luckily the chunky wooden tub is so substantial that we all survived in tact, despite early fears of an Indiana Jones, Temple of Doom scenario.

"Temple of Doom" removal technique

“Temple of Doom” removal technique

Once in place we quickly got it reassembled and it was all ready for filling.   Harry had helped us out with getting a fresh water supply by tapping into the spring source 50m away and so we quickly got filling the tub with beautifully clean and clear water straight from the ground.  The tub holds 1300 litres so after 2 hours we were all ready to light the flames.  It’s quite a brilliant design whereby the metal stove sits inside the wooden hot tub but is surrounded by a wooden gate so that once you’re inside it you can’t burn yourself on the stove.  The wood is fed in from the top and then once you surround the stove in water it all starts hotting up.

Lesson one is don’t leave the stove unattended.  We nipped away for some dinner and when we got back 45 minutes later the fire was nearly out.  Nonetheless, the floating thermometer was rising and once re-lit it soon got up to temperature.  The moon was really bright, the stars were out and the beers and wine were loaded into the handy drinks holder.  A quick strip off in the cold night air and we were in!WP_20140419_001

 Oh, it was sooo heavenly!  The water was so warm and soothing, it was like having a romantic bath but we both actually had room to move around!   We’ve spent so much time out by the lake getting the cabin ready but it was such a different experience at night.  There was a full moon and the sky was a bit cloudy so it made the moonlight seem all the brighter as it bounced off the clouds.  Unlike having a bath the water stays nice and hot as the heat from the stove keeps releasing slowly.  We ended up being in for at least an hour and a half.  I was nervous about being cold when we got out but the hot tub was so warm that we were actually still super warm whilst towelling down on the decking.   I kind of always thought that hot tubs were one of those things that other people raved about but were probably over-rated but I have to say I absolutely loved it.  Peaceful night air, moon and stars, glass of wine…romantic perfection!