Escape: The Pavilion

A small stretch of North Sea coast now feels like California or Bondi Beach, thanks to the arrival of a spectacular new holiday home

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens. While watching the incredible thunder and lighting storms from the balcony of the Pavilion, I was taken back to childhood; to watching The Sound of Music, to be precise. I kept thinking how this place, on the east coast at Coldingham Bay in the Borders, would have suited the Von Trapp children, so fearful and tense during the film’s very own thunderstorm. For example, there would have been no need for them to huddle together in Fräulein Maria’s room – the Pavilion has more than enough bedrooms to accommodate all of the Captain’s kids quite comfortably. And who could bear to hide beneath the sheets (even if, as here, they’re made of the most luxurious Egyptian cotton) when there are walls of sheer glass through which to take in the spectacular flashes and rumbles. My own children (just the three of them, though as demanding as the Von Trapp seven) revelled in their new home, thunder­bolts and all: the Pavilion is undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking new buildings in Scotland.
Next morning, with the weather on our side for once, the bay is chock-full of surfers. For a moment, I completely forget that we’re still in Scotland: hot sun beating down on shoulders, sunscreen liberally applied, watersports in full flow. This could be California or Australia.
The Pavilion, emerging from the hillside like a graceful, gleaming sea creature, is what elevates this place to so much more than simply a self-catering holiday. Combine the location (overlooking the bay where the beach is essentially your front garden) and the house itself, then factor in a bit of sunshine, and this is one special destination. That was what owner Rob Cameron spotted when he was out surfing in the bay one day. “Afterwards I took a wander up to the site, fought through the nettles and thorn bushes, and stepped inside the dilapidated, collapsed old timber building,” he recalls. “It was overgrown with weeds and strewn with the remains of teenage camp-outs, but you could look out the front and get the view. I was sold.”

This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 252-255, issue 103.

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Photography Coastal Retreats
Words Catherine Coyle