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A Potted History on Riverside

The original Invergloy Estate was created some time in the middle of the 19th Century. The exact date isn’t clear, but the house would have been built before the boathouse, and 1860 is still visible above the boathouse door.

Probably its date was carved on the main house too, but sadly it was totally destroyed by fire in 1948 and the ruins were later bulldozed flat. If you walk along to the present Invergloy House, you will pass the site where the old house stood. You will be on Mr & Mrs Cairn’s’ property by then, and their residence, the present Invergloy House, is a conversion of the coach house and stables which served the old house, and alone survived the fire.

In it’s heyday Invergloy must have been impressive. The estate stretched right over the hill behind us, across all of Upper Glen Gloy and up to the watershed between the glen and Glen Spean, so anyone standing on the edge of Invergloy land could have looked down on Roy Bridge. Two entrances served it; each with a gate-keeper’s lodge and long drives lined with the newly fashionable rhododendron shrub. There were substantial kennels, a schoolroom for children of the estate workers and house staff. In the walled gardens there were great quantities of topsoil imported from Ireland on the proprietor’s own ships. These ships were able to use the Caledonian Canal to enter Loch Lochy, and they off loaded their cargo at a private pier built specially for the purpose. Much of the building materials and lavish furnishings arrived via the same route.

Around 1901 the Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway Company approached the then owner of Invergloy, a Mr Bailey, for permission to track across his land on their way from Spean Bridge north-east to Loch Oich. Permission was granted and a private “halt” was built for Mr Bailey’s use. Grandiose plans for the line to continue to Inverness were never implemented, so it stopped at Fort Augustus, and never had a hope of being profitable. It closed before World War 11, reopened briefly for the carriage of munitions during the war, then closed for good in 1946. With the rails lifted, the bridges mostly removed, and with brambles and rhododendrons rampant, the route is barely passable for walkers, but Invergloy Halt is still there, in the form of a reconstructed guesthouse.

At the time of the fire, Invergloy had been stripped of much of its land and it had been a hotel for a couple of years. Not too successful a one by all accounts! It was empty when the blaze started, and there was a hint of skulduggery, but the insurers paid up! The estate changed hands once or twice shrinking the while to a mere 56 acres. The coach house conversion was undertaken and completed in 1952.

Then after more changing of hands, the then owners Mr & Mrs Douglas, their family all grown, wedded and dispersed, decided to build a much smaller house in the nicest corner of their grounds, and to sell the rest. Hence the appearance of Riverside, the bungalow in front of your lodge, in it’s own 12 acres. Mr & Mrs Douglas didn’t survive the move more than a few years.
David & Joan Bennet arrived in 1978 and erected the three chalets and opened for business in May 1980. Over the next 20 years they worked extremely hard on the gardens, planting hundreds of shrubs and bulbs and turning them into the beautiful grounds that you see today.

Steve and Marilyn Dennis moved north from Hampshire in February 2001 to run Riverside Lodges, and tried hard to maintain and add to the gardens; season by season. They had stayed at Riverside Lodges as guests most years since 1985 and fell in love with the beauty of the area and Riverside.

The King family (John, Janie, Pauline and Iain) fell in love with Riverside by chance and took over operation in August of 2013. Being a family of keen fishermen and gardeners you will often see them around the property enjoying all that Riverside has to offer. With years of experience in the hospitality industry I am here to make sure your stay is as perfect as you can imagine.

Riverside Lodges is open all year and every season looks different, so perhaps you may be tempted to see the beauty of this area in the winter months, the snow capped mountains add to the splendour of this beautiful location.