Hello from us all here at Craighead!
This winter has been a bit different for us. We generally try and have a holiday in the winter for a couple of weeks but this year decided to stay home and get some much needed work done in our own house! The time has flown by and the weather has let Ian get out and about in the garden, getting ahead of the spring growth. We have had a long list of jobs sitting on the worktop in the kitchen all winter - great satisfaction crossing them off - but more keep going on the list!
Another change this winter was our decision to keep the Whisky Howf open as well as the Muckle Howf. We have had some lovely winter visitors and the Whisky Howf has proved a winter hit with guests really enjoying cosy nights by the wood burning stove. Watching the weather over the pond come rain, hail or shine! We had some very pretty snow days too.
This last few days has been all about cleaning out animal and poultry housing - taking the opportunity while it is dry.
The cows are still on their winter holiday in Comrie - hopefully you saw the fab picture of them on our social media, they even made it in to a calendar. We love our trips over to see them, they will be returning as soon as the grass starts to grow. It is amazing watching them come back, they trundle out of the trailer and wander straight over the the garden side of the field to check and see if anyone with bread is waiting for them. They immediately know they are home again.
The donkeys and the goats have done really well over the winter and are looking great - a bit muddy - but great. The donks just love to roll in the muddiest spots they can find - generally as soon as you have brushed them. With all the animals and poultry we have it is always someone's turn to have something done - this week it was the cats - oh do they see us coming with that jolly worming medicine! Donkeys, Goats and Alpacas on the list for next week! We are hoping to add some more hens and some ducks to our collection over the next week or two. Perhaps a couple of a different breed of sheep to, but we don't mention that to Gareth and Homer - wouldn't like their black noses to be out of joint and they definitely think they rule the roost!
We are really looking forward to the bulbs coming up - the snowdrops are already out and look gorgeous - my personal favourites. Last year Ian planted lots of additional bulbs ahead of Hayley and Matts wedding - they were lovely and we are really looking forward to seeing them all come back up this year.
We opened the Hobbits back in 2018 and their bright doors and windows are due for a spruce up - the paint is ready, so just prior to opening it will be all hands on deck - or paint!
If you have stayed with us before you will know that we have managed to attract a lot of birds into the garden and grounds. We often see Red Kite here, generally in pairs. A few weeks ago we went along to the Red Kite Centre just across the hill from us to see them feeding and find out much more about them. It was really interesting and gave us a much better insight into these magnificent visitors who spend so much time with us. Another great day in terms of our visiting birds is always the arrival of the swallows. They never fail to amaze -flying all those miles and coming back to exactly the same spot each year - it is quite a spectacle watching them as they arrive and find their way to their old nests, some to the stable, some to the tractor shed and some of course to the Ash Tree Howf! We need a spring watch type camera to record the hatching of the chicks! This year in the wee shop we will have a board where visitors can record what they have spotted in the garden and when. We also have a bat detection kit that you can borrow to listen for the bats at sunset.
So it is full steam ahead now to prepare for the main opening on March 24th. Spring cleaning, stocking up, fixing, mending and improving has already started. We have also started writing the history of Craighead, the story of how we came to be here, the back history of the house itself and the story of the 34 years we have been here, including the animals too. We have been gathering up information from various places and old diaries etc so have lots to work through! We have lots of photographs of the changes and life here over that time so are hoping to get those into some accessible form so people can have a look. It is very much work in progress but we are hoping to have at least some of it started for this years guests! No going back now - we will need to get this done!!
Hoping to see lots of you this year!
Heather, Ian and family.
It is my favorite time of year here! The garden is just full of blossom, the swallows are back and building nests as if there is a real rush to get the job done! The daylight goes on well into the very late evening and the wildlife makes the most of it. Our animals are all enjoying life - Gareth and Homer the Swiss Valais Black Nose sheep had a haircut last week and we are looking forward to a first here - the Alpacas will be getting sheared the second week in June - we are very excited to see that happening and hopefully will have some nice fleece to use. Looking forward to seeing them sheared as Snow Patrol could deinfately do with a bit of s scrub! If you are staying with us then you will be able to watch.
The start of this year was busy busy getting the Wee Tree Howf finished and we were wedding planning! The Wee Tree Howf, I think, is the best yet! Ian and Lewis did a fabulous and very quirky job on it! Upstairs the bedroom has such a special feel to it, Robinson Crusoe would approve! Hayley our daughter was married to Matt, here in the field in a tippee at the end of April. It was really special to finally have the wedding here which like so many was delayed by a year.
It was all hands on deck to get it ready but once done the tippee looked great.
Ra Ra the little grey fergie tractor played a part in it and Haggis made sure to get into as many photos as he could! The photographers were great and am hoping we will have some profesional photos to share soon but in the meantime here are a couple of fun ones!
How delighed are we that we will soon be greeting guests again! The weather has been a tad chilly over the last day or two but Spring is definately here and how we wish people could see the lovely daffodils and tulips.
As soon as we realised that visistors were not going to be able to join us for April we decided to use the time doing some upgrading!! The Tree Howf has had a gorgeous additon of a new sink, oak work top and a fab wee cooker. It now has a wood burning stove with glass door so you can sit round the flames in the evening. As I write it is having a new hand made bed installed.
The Wee Howf has had a full internal re piant and is looking great and all ready for its first visitors of the year. We really understimate the Wee Howf - its more of a Tree House with its huge stilts standing over the burn and its veranda up in the Trees - to make sure people can enjoy that element of it we are putting a table and chairs on the veranda at the back so you can enjoy breakfast sitting up in the Trees looking over the Ochils.
The Muckle Howf hasn't been left out of this make over month with new curtains on the go, a new decking around the hot tub and some lovely new outside furniture in the pipe line.
Not sure we will be siting down much this month!!
Of course no blog at this time would be complete without news of the Whisky Howf - almost finsihed, some things still to go in including the glass top for the Whisky Barrel table. Here are a few pictures to tempt you - we will have some proffessional pictures soon - these are just from our phone!
More photos coming soon! Keep your eye on the Whisky Howf page.
Our animals all think spring is coming too! Two of the geese are sitting on eggs so hopefully some goslings soon. Lots of birds around too and this year two swans stayed with us for several weeks. The red kites have been over the Tree Howf nearly everyday, the Oyster Catchers are back and there was a Curlew in the field at the weekend!
We don't have any lambs of our own due this year but are hoping to add two coloured Ryeland lambs to our crew - once they have been born and are old enough to leave their Mum...
We are really looking forward to the 26th and the arrival of our visitors - think we will be having a glass of fizz that night!!
Ian, Heather & crew.
My new years resolution has to be - become a better blogger!!
January this year is a tad different but there is always plenty to do here and looking after the animals takes up a lot more time in the cold weather.
We had quite a lot of snow on Thursday, couldn't get the car out so I took a walk to Braco for essentials (milk and lemons!) - it was a lovely walk.
Chirstmas and New Year were much quieter than normal with us sadly unable to have any visitors in the Muckle Howf (fingers crossed our February Muckle Howf visitors will be able to come) Have to say I am a bit zoomed out and Ian is definately not a fan but we did manage to do family Secret Santa via zoom which worked a treat and I managed to set it up!
Ian is beavering away to complete the Whisky Howf ( I was going to say he was quietly working away but he corrected me), we are missing Lewis terribly, he is grounded with a back injury - no fun at all. His skills are much missed. The wedding cancellation scenario has struck here too, Hayley and her partner are no exception with their wedding - which is to be a Celidh here, now put back until 2022. Though Arran and his wife are only in Glasgow we are missing seeing them both at the moment -we will be making up for it as soon as we can!! Thank goodness for WhatsApp - necessary evil!
We are really delighted with our refreshed new look web site and do hope you like it - many thanks to Gigha! We hope to add more to it as we go and one day we will get round to writing the story of how all this started here at Craigheadhowfs! The calendar for booking the Whisky Howf will be on line soon but in the meantime just get in touch by email if you would like to book it.
We have recently had some fabulous photos sent to us by Alan Gray Images - we love them, it is great that Glamping Scotland has so much to offer now and we think our wee corner offering quirky places to stay in Perthshire is adding some great options for visitors too.
Will be back soon with an update on the animals, progress on the Whisky Howf and our preparations for (fingers crossed) - opening up again on time at the end of March!
Heather Ian & Family.
Ps Our grandsons like to check the Burrow and Bagend to see if they can spot any Hobbits having Elevenses!
The year has flown by due to one thing and another - enough said! We can not believe that the clocks go back tonight and we have only five weeks left of our glamping season! Family and animals are all doing OK, like everyone else have all had some challenges to say the least.
The sun is out today, the flowers are out, the birds singing - and we sincerely wish you were here!
We are trying hard to find the positives and make the most of this time. We have been trying to do the best for visitors who have not been able to come and stay when they were meant to but despite the loud proclamations from government about all the funding that is being made available, the reality is very few people seem to be benefiting from it - certainly not us! Insurance companies too seem to have found a very secure loop hole and have managed to get off the hook without paying out a penny even though our insurance includes business interruption and pandemic!!! I would name and shame but across the whole accommodation sector the situation seems to be the same with them all. Back to the positives.
Well one huge positive of been locked in is that work on the new Howf can go on so lots of exciting photos to come soon. Also we have been spending a lot of time in the garden and with the animals, getting things done that often just stay on the to do list.
Our three Ryland and three Zwarble sheep are due to have their lambs in the next few weeks which is something nice to look forward to - hopefully will go well and we will have some nice pictures to post.
The donkeys Jason and Spot managed to get out today and were found heading towards the Hobbits - should have had my camera they looked so happy in the sun wandering down to the shire! They did look a tad chuffed with themselves.
The Rhea have been in the large field for sometime now and just love it, this week they have started laying their amazing eggs - at the moment we are collecting eggs from Rhea, Turkey, Hens, Guinea Fowl, Geese and Quail and have duck eggs hatching!
Ian and I decided to have an evening staycation and chose the Burrow for our night out! We managed to choose the night of the pink moon and were definitely treated to a special evening! We forget how much wildlife there is here when you are here everyday, the birds are especially busy at the minute. We have red kite over every day, oyster catchers, buzzard and lots of small birds.
Some photos of out and about -
Hello from us all at Craighead!
Apologies for the long silence over the winter months and in to Spring!
After a lovely break in the sun we returned with batteries recharged and with lots of ideas for sprucing things up for the season ahead and all so for the building of our very exciting Cruck House.
Whilst we were away we were contacted by George Clark's team of Amazing Spaces fame which was very exciting.
Well things sometimes just don't run to plan and the rain tried to dampen our spirits a little but we just got going and made really good progress, then along came the dreaded virus with its own intentions!
We are really delighted to be able to say we are opening the Tree Howf, Hobbits and Summer Howf as planned at the end of next week. Lots of visitors took advantage of us keeping open the Wee Howf over the winter and at the moment are really enjoying be able to escape away from everything to their own space down by the pond!
We have been spring cleaning, replacing things that needed replaced, fixing things where necessary and making some improvements - we are very pleased with the new hand crafted table in the Tree Howf, pictures to follow next week when its final coats of oil have dried and the Tree Howf is set up for its first visitors of the season.
Over the next week or so our two gorgeous Highland Cows will be coming home from their winter grazing - perhaps some of you saw the delightful film on BBC Alba in January of the Highland Cattle on Uist - we are proud to say that is who bred our lovely ladies.
The Ryland and Zwarble sheep will also be coming home and we are expecting them to have lambs in May.
The geese have made a fabulous nest up beside the pond at the Summer Howf and any visitors to the Summer Howf over the coming months will be neighbours with the goose family and hopefully see at first hand the arrival of goslings!
The goats are very happy that the wet weather is finally going and are very keen to get out to play.
So if you need somewhere to go where you can get away from it all, have your own space, fresh air and time to your self, then do have a look on our calendar for a date that suits.
Ian, Heather & Family
Ian, Heather & family, wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
We hope you manage to come and stay with us in 2020. The New Year is promising to be very exciting as we start our really quirky Stone Howf, built using very old construction styles with a Cruck frame. Follow us on social media or read our blog to watch it grow, to hear about general goings on and to find out about all our animals.
We are delighted that we have so many visitors making the most of the Wee Howf staying open through the winter - we are sure they will love it.
We are thrilled to be featured in BBC Scotland's Getaways program and believe the episode that includes Craighead Howfs will be aired some time in early January - very excited to see that.
The Tiny Houses Magazine did two delightful articles about Craighead - we were really chuffed!
February will see the main work starting on our very exciting new project!
The animals are currently all in their winter quarters and we will be featuring them in our blogs over the coming months!
Many thanks to all who stayed with us in 2019, for the fantastic reviews and many happy conversations along with some very nice glasses of wine!
Ian, Heather & family.
How did it get to May!
We re-opened on March 29th and have already had lots of fabulous visitors from as far away as Dubai and as near as Falkirk - they have all loved it so far. We have welcomed all ages from 16 to 70 plus. We have had lots of surprise birthday treats and such lovely comments - one we really loved was a 65th birthday treat - a visit to Bagend, a delightful message left in the visitor book declared it her best ever birthday!
The Summer Howf got a make over and we are delighted with the results - a different colour outside, lovely tiles on the floor inside, painted throughout, new curtains, bits and pieces. A blanket of forget me not is out in front of it and it looks great.
The Wee Howf has been painted outside too and we love the new colour, sitting on its stilts by the pond, with so much wildlife to watch, it remains one of our favourite spots in the garden. We have started keeping a note of when birds are seen and have a running list in the Wee Shop that we hope visitors will add too. The swallows arrived back and got busy straight away building nests - it surprises us every year that they manage to fly all that way for winter and then find their way back to Craighead - amazing!
Our animals have been very busy - spring is definitely well under way! So far our new arrivals include - quail chicks, Brahma hen chicks, two pygmy goat kids - Hannah had a boy and a girl two weeks ago, 'Bit' the little black and tiny bit of white cat has three kittens - still only 3 weeks old - one was born very tiny indeed and is only half the size of his brother and sister - know lovingly as tiny toots he is hanging on in there at the moment. We have three Ryeland lambs all girls and doing really well. Very excitingly Hope the pygmy goat is due to give birth on Thursday - we are anticipating twins and think looking at her today they may arrive any time soon.
Our Quails have started to lay and their gorgeous speckled eggs are in the shop. Along with some Rhea eggs and our delicious hen eggs.
Our pygmy goats - Harris and Percy Jackson have decided it is great fun to escape and head for the hay shed - self service reached new limits!
Just as soon as the next kid goats are born we will post a photo. The little white kid in the pictures with the black boots, we think is gorgeous - he decided to be born backwards and give us a run for our money encouraging him to breath - but within minutes he was proving he has plenty of attitude!! No names as yet.
Meet Huff and Puff - the latest additions to our cat team! They have settled in really well and are full of fun.
Last week two swans came to visit, they have stayed and their relatives have now joined us too - it is easy to spend time just watching them - they are beautiful, but true free spirits so not sure how long they will be with us!
We took delivery of the new glamping luggage transportation system this week, tried them out in the sun in the car park - think they are going to be fab!
The Turkeys out in the woodland today really enjoying the early spring weather we are having, daffodils are nearly out - very early!
It will be busy busy this week - with only four full weeks left until we reopen - very exciting!
Ian & Heather
Craighead Howf is a collection of self-catering accommodation styles from a 5 star luxury stone-built cottage to quirky glamping cabins. All are completely secluded and are designed by the family who lives at Craighead Farm. Craighead is located near Dunblane, Stirling and Perth and is perfectly located to access Glasgow, Edinburgh and the Highlands of Scotland.
Craighead Farm, Braco, Dunblane, Perthshire FK15 9LP, United Kingdom Tel: 01786 880321