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Saturday, 26 January 2013

The Winter Re-Stove.

First the bad news. The Rayburn that took pride of place in the back end of the Beermoth has had to be pensioned off. It was very pretty indeed and an important part of the unlikely decorative scheme that made the 'moth quite the media darling over last year. However, a Rayburn weighs 350kgs, its really designed to go in a house and this one was sitting on a 2" deep snooker table slate weighing most of that again. Having all that weight hung out the back rendered the truck virtually unusable on the road. There was certainly no danger of the truck bumping its way onto a remote beach in the western isles.

A little barter took place mid way through the year which left us this Quebb stove, now cleaned and painted and rebricked. That's going out to the yurt (which has stayed open for the winter and has a string of bookings but which could always go with more warmth). Then the little Windy Smithy stove from the yurt is getting a refresh and will go into the truck and I have built a matt black steel surround and replaced the super slate with slate tiles on a ply bed, thereby bringing the levels up and the weight down.

So - going from a totally over the top stove to a really small one will save at least half a ton, it will also see the moth holiday ready and (all things being relative) handling like a sports car. In the process the truck will inevitably lose a little of the decorative implausibility that was its hallmark. On the bright side it will free up a wood fired Rayburn and snooker slate (I have another 4 around here somewhere) for some other whimsical and weighty kitchen project.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

It looks like SNOW.

We usually get into our stride quite gently with a couple of repeat bookings through February but this year, with some ambitious plans requiring funding, it seems like a good plan to let the world know that we have availability between the 4th and the 18th February and again from the 25th to the 4th March. £2200 for a full week or £1650 for a Thursday to Monday weekend. And its a beautiful day, carpeted with snow and with more forecast.

Anyone fancy a ski?

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The game of squash.

This is the Edwardian squash court, or at least one of the versions of it that are kicking about. Its a tremendous building and a huge rarity and at the moment it leads the race to be the next building to be converted. There is no doubt it has the potential to be something really special and give accommodation somewhere between the two people in splendid off grid woodland isolation that the yurt and bothy offer, and the 15 or so people in country house comfort than the main house provides. Also as we get moving with the music schools we need buildings that are both livable and workable and nothing we have now is suitable.

Each clever bunch of people to pass by add another layer, some very good ideas and some well meaning but less well founded. We are filtering through interpretations from builders, architects and anyone else who pops in for a cup of tea and it is improving as and end product all the time. We are debating whether we can keep the original staircase to the gallery, whether the lobby can stretch to take a bathroom, does it get a second bedroom or is it an uber honeymoon suite? What is certain is that there is going to be a lot of glazing and a lot of insulation and underfloor heating, that I have just pulled nails out of 750 square feet of reclaimed oak parquet and it will have big views across the valley. It must hang onto its identity, its volume, its purpose and its height, and as much of the original detail and material as possible.

At the same time as this we are thinking of putting a recording, rehearsal and even performance studio down in the farmyard, and that's a whole other set of drawings.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Inshriach Music - The Charlie McKerron Fiddle School.

As we put our heads together to organise the 5th Insider festival (21st - 23rd June this year) we realised we were in a pretty unique position. We have some of the finest musicians in Scotland at our fingertips, a super musical community living and teaching at Inshriach and a beautiful and conducive part of the world in which to operate and yet each year we throw all our resources at a mighty weekend long crescendo of musicality.

We thought maybe it was time to start a music school. And why not start one in style.

So this year we are getting the festival infrastructure in early and from Monday 17th June until the festival opens on the 21st our very own fiddle superstar Charlie McKerron is putting together the first music school. With the help of Tim Edey and Ross Ainslie and a further two fiddle tutors still to be confirmed, plus visiting tutors and masterclasses, the school will have a maximum capacity of 80, includes food and camping and will cost £350 per head or £400 with a full weekend festival ticket (that's half price).

This one is not really aimed at beginners but we have more in the pipeline and have already had requests to put together programmes focused on the harp, pipes and guitar, covering both weekend and week long courses and for various different abilities. We have also been approached by two or three superstar bands who would like to run their own courses here.

Not only that but plans are in the pipeline to convert some of the buildings down on the farm to provide acccommodation, studio, rehearsal and recording facilities to cater for smaller, more specialised groups, year round, without sleeping in a field and without going to the expense of using Inshriach House.

It's early doors for this scheme so we would very much appreciated your feedback and ideas. We are getting a website together over at but for the time being if you want to know more please email

Watch this space.