Delight as Alladale Wilderness Reserve wins eco award
Alladale Wilderness Reserve is celebrating after winning a major award.
The 23,000 acre reserve, located near Ardgay, has been voted Europe’s most eco-friendly hotel 2019 in the Global Boutique Hotel Awards.
General manager Pieter-Paul Groenhuijsen said the 14 staff members were very“chuffed” at the accolade.
He revealed that a decision had been made in 2018 to diversify the business and focus on areas of tourism other than commercial red deer stalking, which ceased at that point.
“We are attempting to run a wilderness reserve that is fully funded by its hospitality effort,” he said. “Since we made the decision to end stalking, we have grown the business exponentially.
Accommodation on the reserve comprises the seven-bedroom Alladale Lodge, two cottages and Deanich Lodge bunkhouse, where several retreats are run including one linked with Bear Grylls.
Owned by philanthropist Paul Lister, the reserve attracts an international clientele, drawn by the opportunity for a "digital detox" and to reconnect with nature.
Huge efforts have been made to burnish its environmental credentials with water sourced through boreholes and electricity via a 90kw micro-hydro scheme which feeds back into the National Grid. Waste water is cleaned via a system of septic tanks before release in the river and the system is checked regularly.
Alladale is also undertaking one of the biggest rewilding projects in the UK, reintroducing species and planting thousands of trees.
And the reserve has just signed up to a new initiative called It Must Be Now.
Members aim to meet the highest standard of verified social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.
Mr Groenhuijsen said: “We want ourindustry to thrive, but not at the expense of our planet.”