When the doors to this 12th-century rectory swung open again after meticulous restoration, locals were moved to tears. Set next to a Romanic church on Garrotxa’s volcanic western fringe, the sturdy building served as a school under Franco; the last priest left in the 1980s. Roy and Goretti, a Scottish chef and a Catalan whisky expert who met at The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh, have revived chunky oak beams, made bed heads from doors, lamp stands from wine kegs, a coffee table from a baker’s chest. Leather armchairs sprawl by the fire, the bakery-furnished room makes a cosy games den, a garden terrace catches sunshine and birdsong. Wonderful rustic-chic bedrooms with snuggly beds flaunt their history: patterned tiles, a stone basin, translucent pictures in tiny bathroom windows. And in the sunny gallery where schoolchildren pored over Don Quixote, Roy serves beautiful plates of local lamb with wild mushrooms, whisky cake, Catalan wine… a feast to savour after exploring spectacular volcanic landscapes (by foot or hot air balloon), or cycling the Via Verde from Olot to Costa Brava beaches. A mini-escape for active families – remote yet close to Gerona.