Smell the sea air as you drive into sleepy Ballantrae – a food store, a thrift shop, a good pub and lots of friendly locals. Windyknowe is the largest of these river-facing homes, while 1870s Stinchar, originally the toll house for the bridge, is the smallest. Dotted along a small road each cottage faces south and has a well-tended garden and a terrace, so sit out with a G&T, fire up the barbecue and drink in the peace. High Mains is enclosed for little ones, whilst Windyknowe – popular with fishermen – has a sheltered veranda. Inside this big attractive whitewashed house all is light, bright and inviting with a scattering of old and the very best of new. Find country scenes on pale walls, log fires for chillier evenings, refurbished and sleek bathrooms (fluffy white towels; soaps from Arran Aromatics), and books, games and country magazines – a ‘home from home’ without the clutter. Overseer of all this delight is Caroline, the perfect owner host. Rest and read, chat and chill, bring the dog – walks start from the door.