Architecture & History
The first lodge, ‘Old Corrour’, was built on a mountain slope overlooking Rannoch Moor in the early 1800’s. It was reputed to be the highest occupied house in Britain and could only be reached on foot or by pony. You can still see the ruins from the Road-to-the-Isles footpath, above Loch Ossian.
The West Highland railway arrived in 1890. In 1891 the then 24-year-old Sir John Stirling Maxwell, a scion of one of Scotland’s oldest families, bought Corrour. He built a new lodge on Loch Ossian in 1897. He was passionate about trees and flora and helped establish the Forestry Commission in 1919. Sir John also planted Corrour’s renowned rhododendron gardens.
The Forestry Commission completed the road to Corrour in 1972. Before then, everything that came to and from the estate – people, supplies, vehicles – was by railway. Larger items were brought in pieces and assembled on site.
Guests were met at the station by horse-drawn carriage and taken to what is now Loch Ossian Youth Hostel, which was then a stable. There, they transferred to the steam yacht ‘Cailleach’ (the Old Lady) which took them in style to the jetty below the lodge. The lodge was destroyed by fire in 1942. It was replaced by a small, shingle-clad bungalow.
The current owners bought the estate in 1995. They built a new lodge, designed by Moshe Safdie, which was finished in 2003. It is a rare example of first-class twentieth-century architecture in Scotland. Built of granite, steel and glass, it is set between the surviving arms of its Victorian predecessor on the bank of Loch Ossian. The lodge’s geometric composition echoes the grandeur of its surrounds; pyramidal glass towers connect it with the wilderness beyond.
Inside, bespoke contemporary and twentieth-century Swedish, Danish and Viennese furniture sit alongside mostly Nordic antiques, glass and ceramics, as well as a rare collection of Henry Koerner’s paintings and drawings. Designed collaboratively by the owner and Suzy Hoodless, the lodge has been featured in many publications.
Between the lodge and the loch Sir John’s alpine garden survives, with lattice beds and a circular lily pond. It is managed organically as is all the estate – without any herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides.