The Lazy Duck campsite is well named. Its resident Aylesbury Ducks are so relaxed that the site owners David and Valery once had to bring in nanny ducks as the Aylesburys were too lazy to bother hatching their own eggs. The site seems to have an equally soporific effect on campers, and new arrivals soon slip into a similarly relaxed state here, as doing very little becomes the main aim of the day.
To call the Lazy Duck a campsite is perhaps a little misleading. It’s more a chilled forest clearing, blessed with a sauna, wood-fired hot tub, and a bush shower, where swings and hammocks dangle from the tall trees and man and duck idle side by side. It just happens to have plenty of room for four very lucky tents and their (maximum of three) inhabitants. With typical unassuming attention to detail, David and Valery and their team ask you to move on every three days to another spot to save the grass. Welcome new comforts include the Campers’ Shelter, where you can relax by a chimenea in the evening and meet your fellow lotus-eaters. Other welcome include the eight-bed hut hostel; the Woodman’s Hut, a seriously romantic eco log cabin-style getaway for two; the Duck's Nest, an enviable couple's retreat on the waterside; and the Lambing Bothy, which stands alone among the nuzzling Soay sheep and free range hens.
The larch-built, wood-fired sauna is not just an afterthought, either, with a small chill-out area by the sauna room where you can light a candle, burn a little essential oil and listen to the collection of ambient CDs. The views, both here and all around the site, are sublime, with the heather moorland and patches of Caledonian forest stretching out in front, while the peaks of the Cairngorms National Park lurk to the rear.
Once you've managed to rouse yourself from this wanton relaxation – no mean task here – then even setting out on a walk requires little effort, as the Speyside Way, one of Scotland’s designated network of marked long-distance trails, passes nearby. The area is also very popular with mountain bikers and you can cycle on the Speyside Way itself, around the Abernethy Forest or the Rothiemurchus Estate. The forest and estate are both highly regarded, with a variety of terrains from smooth forest roads to tough muddy single tracks through the thick trees. In winter there are ski slopes nearby; the Deans advise 'hutters' (there's no camping from November to May) to bring their own toboggan if they fancy a spot of sledging.
Back at the campsite, one of the simple pleasures is just watching the eponymous ducks amble through their day. They are joined in the ponds and Fhuarain Burn by myriad other birdlife including mandarin, widgeon, goldeneye and whistling ducks. Red squirrel, roe and red deer, and the odd capercaillie can be spotted within the surrounding forest.
If you want to shun the laidback ways of the Aylesburys, you can also tackle the Spey in a canoe or kayak, or just sample some of its famous produce on a choice of distillery tours – this is serious whisky country. After a few drams, a swing in a hammock is the perfect recreation at a site where relaxation is practically mandatory. Just ask those ducks.
The Owner SaysBeneath a tree-top home to the red squirrel, here you will find a laid back, green-practice, 4-pitch camping ground for small tents only. We look forward to welcoming you.
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