Fab Review from Dog Friendly Magazine

Scruffy Mongrel!We had the great pleasure to meet Tilly the Westie and her owners Richard & Angie Aspinall a few weeks ago. They stayed in Curlew Cottage and really enjoyed the 'wow' factor this cottage offers, they enjoyed their get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, were blown away by the style and size of the cottage and, very kindly, commented that 'it was like something from a glossy magazine on stylish living'.

Angie and Richard have written a wonderful article in the current issue of Dog Friendly magazine so, if you subscribe to and are lucky enough to see a copy of that, do enjoy the story of their stay.

We welcome up to two dogs in each cottage, there are some superb walks from the front door as well as the fun of exploring all that Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park has to offer. We certainly have enjoyed many 'dogs with well behaved owners' staying and enjoying their time here. As the ground floors of both cottages are slate and wood they are very easy to keep clean so dog owners can manage muddy paws and our subsequent guests know that they will arrive to thoroughly clean accommodation.

The 'scruffy mongrel' pictured is our special four legged friend, rehomed with us from the SSPCA, a great companion and perfect excuse for enjoying a walk down to the Loch or up The Dumpling.

Holiday Cottages Underway

So here we are starting a new and exciting adventure at East Cambusmoon. Three years ago we moved into our house, beautifully designed and immensely energy efficient, see here. We adopted a very low energy approach to the design and the construction detailing which focussed on significant levels of insulation, a high standard of air-tightness, strong passive solar design and a ground source heat pump for the heating and hot water, supported by a small PV array and mechanical heat recovery and ventilation. When we were at the design stage 4 years ago this approach was not widely taken but, even in the short time since we moved in, more people and architects are looking more broadly at how homes and buildings are managed environmentally. We joined the AECB and adopted their Silver Standard for energy use and carbon emissions. In truth the house has far out-performed this standard and even in the last particularly cold winter was warm all day every day at very low cost.

The main difference between the projects are that the house was a new build and the holiday cottages are a conversion of two very tired farm buildings. Notwithstanding our intentions to replicate some of the approaches we took with a brand new building we are very aware that we are renovating an old dairy and byre and will certainly be retaining the architectural features the buildings; the red sandstone which was quarried locally, the arch over the doorway and the window recess with wooden lintel. Here we are creating two adjoining holiday cottages, one of two bedrooms, one of four. As we are in Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park we hope that some of the year-round visitors to this stunningly scenic area might like to come and stay in the cosy warm luxury of our holiday cottages. As you can see we're just starting the conversion works and we'll do our best to record the journey on this blog.

The building story so far has been one of rapid change. The roofs have fallen in and the rubble cleared out; in the stone building (which will have two bedrooms) the 'hole' for the sliding patio doors has been punched through and the stone stockpiled for reuse; in the larger unit, which was brick built in the 1950s, the walls collapsed so extra blockwork and labour will be required; floor levels were equalised as existing floors sloped. Then we get into the first stage of serious insulation - the floor. So much heat is lost through the floor, don't waste it!


In the past week 200mm of polystyrene and polyeurathane insulation boards have been laid throughout the buildings and on top of this will float 30 tonnes of steel and concrete in the 4 bedroom unit and 15 tonnes of the same in the two bedroom unit. Before the concrete is poured the underfloor heating pipes are installed; this is done by fixing the pipework (large diameter polythene pipe ideal for use with heat pumps) to the steel reinforcement mesh with tie-wraps. This approach works well with ground source heat pumps which have lower operating temperatures than the more frequently used shallow tray form of underfloor heating. The concrete provides the thermal mass necessary to stabilise the temperature and keep those cottages lovely and warm when needed.We're using Anderson Floorwarming for the underfloor heating, hot and cold water systems, installation of the ground source heat pump and solar. We are happily working with the same builder, subcontractors and architect as we did on the house so its nice to see familiar faces back on site.

New Beginnings


What do you mean that doesn't look like the sort of holiday place you're thinking of for a dream vacation in Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park? The patio areas certainly need a good sweep and, if there were any windows, they would need a good clean so that you could see the splendid views.
RENOVATION WORK STARTS 16th MAY 2011, hurray!
The sun is shining and we are very excited at the prospect of renovating these lovely but very very tired buildings and creating two tip top holiday cottages for visitors.
The plan is to create this. As you can see by the date of the archive entry this has been 'work in progress' for a long time. Lots of unremarkable reasons for that - life work family balance - but we are really keen to see these buildings brought into vibrant and viable use and to share this lovely part of the world with a few people. We'll post more detail on the design and construction approach in due course but, yes, they will have the same high standards as the house we built 3 years ago (can't believe its been that long!). We'll be adopting the AECB silver standard as a target for high levels of thermal efficiency and air tightness to ensure excellent comfort levels for our guests and to promote a more environmentally conscious approach to renovation and building.

In the meantime here's a few moments of Spring beauty present at this time of year...



daffodils at the very end of their prime, blossoms coming forth on the fruit trees...


clusters of primroses in the shady spots...


and a wee bit more apple blossom to show how pretty it is. We planted some fine old varieties of apple 2 years ago to create an orchard and I'm pleased to see that is really taking shape and providing interest now. We planted a mix of culinary and dessert apples and hope the mix will provide a decent long season of apple picking for us and our guests.

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