Last week I was absolutely delighted to open a delivery of two pieces commissioned from young furniture designer, Matt Robinson. I had seen his creation of a revolving vanity mirror which would be absolutely perfect for our cottages. His original piece was finished just with a danish oil, looks fabulous and is wonderfully contemporary; our holiday cottages are a rich and stylish mix of contemporary and modern but still maintaining strong connections with nature and the countryside so, following a conversation with Matt, he used our very own beeswax to finish the items and bring a warm honey oak look to the new revolving vanity mirrors.
I love the combination of shapes and planes on these products with their gorgeous curves, beautiful lines and a bold, decent sized rectangular mirror which is just perfect for what we need. The stylish design incorporates various shelves, pegs for hanging jewellery and plenty of space for bottles and the bits and pieces of toiletries and make up you bring on holiday. The beeswax was produced here in Gartocharn by our fabulous honey bees; we've got 6 hives in total, all in pretty good health so far through this winter which is always a great feeling. Its nice to incorporate this local and personal element into the new mirrors.
You may have seen our 'free whisky' offer? Our special offers page always has something of interest, whether that's a late availability offer or some other benefit for holiday guests. Glengoyne is our local distillery, it is the most southerly of the Highland malts, has some really superb distillery tours and is an incredibly interesting place to visit. You can easily combine a distillery visit with a walk along part of the West Highland Way or up local hills Dumgoyne or The Whangie; alternatively why not enjoy lunch at The Old Mill in Killearn or The Beech Tree Inn.
In October 2018 I was fortunate to join an Erasmus sponsored visit to South Dublin and Donegal in Ireland where I met many tourism, food, drink and accommodation businesses. So many great conversations took place, lots of sharing of experiences and challenges in business, and I developed a whole plethora of ideas and thoughts for the future. Since my return I've developed stronger collaborations with other local businesses, Glengoyne being one of those. We have supported them for a long time, sending customers their way and both benefiting from offering superb quality accommodation and visitor experiences to people from all over the world. All guests can benefit from discounted distillery tours (I particularly like the sound of the Whisky and Chocolate one!) but if you book with us before the end of January you too can enjoy their 12 year old as our New Year gift to you.
Beautiful scenes across Loch Lomond to Ben Lomond from the southern shore of the Loch. You can walk to this view point from the cottages, downhill through the village of Gartocharn, across the fields on the Aber Path and continue your stroll along a country lane to the shoreline footpaths leading to the Endrick Mouth, National Nature Reserve and RSPB Loch Lomond’s estate. A perfect way of exploring the local vicinity and leaving the car at home, you are likely to see deer, buzzards and geese en route but you might also be lucky to see osprey on their summer vacation. You walk through a mix of woodland and fields so there is plenty of bird life to enjoy as well as the range of flora and fauna. Last weekend our guests spent some time watching a stoat scamper in and out of the red sandstone garden wall, wildlife to enjoy form the comfort of the sofa!
We love that our guests can enjoy the National Park throughout the whole year and, as you may have appreciated, the cottages are warm whatever the weather outside! Underfloor heating, very comprehensive insulation and air tightness in the buildings and free top ups of the log basket ensure that 😊.
We are so pleased to share the great news that we have won the Success Through Sustainability Award of the 2018 Working4Business Awards.
Do awards matter? Perhaps I mean, WHY do they matter?
It is all about recognition.
When you own and operate a small business you’re right there at the coal face, dealing with enquiries and bookings, marketing the properties, constantly reviewing what works, what doesn’t, being social media savvy, organising cleaning and laundry, undertaking maintenance, repair and renewal. And, oh so much more.
Guests love to experience a smooth and friendly service so (we try very hard) to ensure that is what happens. Meanwhile, like many businesses, we are achieving that beautiful gliding across the surface of the lake thing whilst frantically paddling beneath the surface. So, being selected as a finalist for an award offers a moment to pause, reflect and enjoy telling the story of what we’ve achieved in the past 6 years of business. We actually enjoyed our interview and presentation to the judging panel! It’s a great feeling that we have won this award but, even if we hadn't, it has been rewarding to stop and appreciate what we have achieved. These were derelict farm buildings when we settled here, they are now wonderful places to be on holiday in the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park which have been designed, built and managed to a really high standard of comfort, demonstrating environmental and sustainable design excellence.
It is with great thanks to Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and award sponsors Group Saur that we at East Cambusmoon Holiday Cottages were selected to be winners in the Success through Sustainability Award of the Working4Business awards. Steve had the joy of attending the awards presentations and dinner on Friday and bringing home the fabulous trophy, certificate and champagne. It is also truly a great cause for celebration that 60% of all employment in the UK is with small and medium sized enterprises.
Sustainability runs through everything we do, and it’s absolutely brilliant to be recognised for it.
Great sadness to see a tree felled to the ground in an overnight storm on Christmas Eve, the branches scattered across the field, some sticking out of the soil spear-like, others disintegrated into ready made kindling for the fire. The tree was dead when we moved here 11 years ago, it has provided a home and habitat to all sort of birds and beasties, an excellent vantage point for owls and buzzards, the starting point for many a starling murmuration. However, there was never any real sense of continuing life of the trunk and branches of the tall tree at the junction of two fields. Some magnificent gothic fungi have grown on the trunk for years and, hopefully, these will continue to flourish as the tree lies prostrated on the ground. We shall tidy the strewn branches, create logs to fuel the wood burning stoves in the cottages and our own home, gather the kindling and build up wood stocks for the year ahead, but we shall also leave the larger part of the main trunk for the birds and beasties to enjoy, and for the children to play on, or just for any of us, adults and children, to sit on and watch the world go by. Sometimes we just need to stand and stare.
The wonderful poem ‘Leisure’ by William Henry Davies is well worth a read and, perhaps, in this busy, busy world the words provide a great reminder for the year ahead.
What is this life if, full of care
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep and cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
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