Lying close to the shores of Loch Alsh in the western Highlands, not far from the iconic landmark that is Eilean Donan Castle, you'll find one of the UK's most magical gin distilleries.

The aptly named Fairytale Distillery at Ardelve will be unlike anything you'll have seen before, in fact, you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd been taken to a place transported straight from the pages of Harry Potter.

With crooked chimneys, slanted windows and a sweeping slate roof that almost touches the ground on either side of striking pea-green walls, the distillery is one of the most unique looking you'll find anywhere.

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Founded in 2018 by German couple Thomas Gottwald and Manuela Kohne-Gottwald who moved to the area in 2013, the gin production site became the latest addition to their collection of fairytale builds.

A bit of a hidden gem, the site also plays host to Manuela's Wee Bakery and daughter Joline's pizza parlour, PizzaJo.

Distillery manager Joline explained that they decided on the fairytale theme as it suited the "mystical area" around Ardelve, which is situated not far from the famous Eilean Donan Castle and the Isle of Skye, where you can find the Fairy Pools and the Fairy Glen.

Thomas added that the distinctive build took around 4 to 5 weeks to construct, with the distillery building put together using timber.

Seeming to float above its own little lochan, the distillery, which houses a little Austrian copper still named Tinkerbell, produces a range of interesting gins that come in black stone bottles.

Numbered, rather than named, each has its own unique recipe and comes in two sizes, 20cl and 70cl.

Joline stated that Thomas came up with the idea to make gin, after becoming friends with spirits specialist Roger Knight.

The pair then put together a plan that resulted in them using water from the spring fed burn Alt Mor na Dornie and enrolling with botanists Martin Wünsche and Stefan Lipka to create a variety of non-chilled filtered, Highland gins that they say "appeal to a wide range of cultures and palates".

Though the team aren't able to do tours due to the small size of the distillery, Thomas confirmed that people can visit the little steading with its unique buildings, where they can walk around and try out some of Manuela's baking and Joline's delicious pizzas.

He added that any gin fans who want to try the range of gins can book a tasting in advance, though these are usually held outside under the gazebos,

With Manuela's bakery open for takeaway now, and Joline's pizzeria to follow in May, Thomas confirmed that he hopes to have a new building ready for the tasting sessions for the summer when restrictions allow.

So how do people react when they see this incredible little micro-distillery?

"The usual reaction is 'Wow, that's so quirky'," Joline said. "People feel very drawn to us to come and explore. They find it very magical and peaceful.

"They often say it is a bit like Hanzel and Gretel, so we often describe to people as 'Hanzel & Gretel meet's Braveheart'."

Their motto is perhaps a little more fitting though, with Joline adding: "When people ask us what our slogan is, we reply 'Away with the Fairies'."

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