Wednesday 6 July 2011

Let's Go Explore !

When I was looking for a historic property to restore, I snooped around a lot of ruins.
Most of this is all in the past now.......

However, I did my first bit of ruin snooping for ages about a week back.
I was driving my friend Andrew around (he's also been a big friend of
Balintore Castle) on a glorious warm and sunny day, but we took the
"wrong" route back to the castle by mistake.

As we passed a old stone cottage high up on the hill, almost
hidden by vegetation, I exclaimed "Is that occupied, or deserted?".
Andrew indicated he suspected this had been deserted for some
time, so I couldn't help a "Let's go explore!". :-)

This we did! It was/is an incredibly picturesque place with fruit trees
growing in front of the building, but nature had taken over and it must
have been deserted for decades. The wooden outbuildings had collapsed.
but the stone building itself was good, with just one corner of the
roof needing fixing.

It was a traditional single story "but 'n' ben" i.e. a 2 room cottage consisting
of kitchen and bedroom - in this instance with a short bit of corridor and a
bathroom between. However, the rooms were generous as was the size
of the building overall. We peeked into the loft space through the hatch in the
bathroom - the roof was both high and quite steeply pitched with no beams
crossing the space. The building spoke to us both simultaneously and said

  •                two good-sized en-suite bedrooms in the roof space
  •                bathroom becomes central stairs
  •                two downstairs rooms become kitchen and lounge

The building was on a steep slope of the side of a hill. However, it was
south facing and looked down over a beautiful broad sweep of glen.
The setting could have not been better. The extent of the jungle indicated
the garden must have stretched all the way down to the road, and as such
would have been beautifully staged, and the evidence suggested it would
have been magnificent in its heyday. The only downside would be the
snow in winter given the elevation - though last winter the whole UK was struck.

Anyhow, a perfect little "do-er upper". I have my own little project of course, but
could not help teasing Andrew with this as his!


  1. That sounds like the perfect place for my plans!

  2. Yes, the place did have the quality of a Berchtesgaden. :-)

  3. I may have cooperated with them at times but I am not a Nazi, David :)

  4. Titter, yes definitely not a Nazi. Besonders im Gegensatz dazu, you are the most mellow person I know! :-) However, your feed line was too tempting.

    On of my current thematic pre-occupations are high-up buildings, in fiction and in reality, where there is the concept of looking "down" upon the the rest of humanity - utopia on a stick if you like!

    The list is small but choice:

    Mount Olympus
    Balintore Castle
    Berchtesgaden (Hilter's Eagle's Nest)
    Ghormonghast Castle (I need to read the book though!)

  5. imagine you might also enjoy, David, Robert (Lewis actually) Stevenson`s `Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde` - a disturbing but complex & rewarding story featuring duality of human personality, and(in chapter 4) a broken stick!

  6. Thanks Helen. This is indeed one of my favourite books. :-) You are right about the complexity of the story. It is so not a story about a "monster" but about drug addiction. And indeed "Frankenstein: or, The Moden Prometheus" is even more richly thematic. The point is that the "monster" isn't one, but a sentient being - and if memory serves the book uses the word "creature" which ties in with its creation. A Radio 4 program last night, suggested that most science fiction is premised on man defying god, or man becoming god.

    I recently read Robert Louis Stevenson's "Kidnapped" for the first time (post childhood), and it is the prefect expression of the romantic Highland myth. The book captures and analyses the "difference" of the Highlander, which few of us nowadays think through beyond the superficialities. Balfour Castle is wonderfully evoked implicitly in dark shadow. RLS lived in Braemar for some time, and a recent visit to Braemar Castle suggested this might have been the very model for Braemar Castle.