Loch Fyne, Argyll, Scotland
from Minard Castle
This page is intended to keep our friends and visitors
up to date about events here. It is not meant to be a daily updated
blog but we will add to it when we think we have something interesting
Gale Damage - our
Fir has fallen!
We had a bad gale on the night of Tuesday 8th January,
and a scene of devastation greeted us on the Wednesday morning.
Not only have we lost our tallest Silver Fir (Abies
alba) but also a large limb from another one and
other trees, including a copper beech felled by the big tree.
The Silver Fir was about 130 feet (40m) tall and had a girth of
about 17 feet (5m). When it fell it blocked the front drive and
it was a couple of hours before we could visit the outside world
again. The usual entrance over the cattle grid was closed for
several days by the large limb from the other tree which fortunately
missed The Lodge, because it fell along the line of the road.
Clearing up all this timber will keep us busy for a long time
yet. Most will become firewood but we hope to slab some of the
larger parts to make usable building material.
Fortunately there was no damage to the house itself,
and we were only without electricty for a few minutes. This contrasts
with the local televison and radio transmissions which were off
for days afterwards due to a power failure and the lack of a standby
31st May 2011
No More Bed &
We very much regret to tell all our friends that we are no longer
offering bed & breakfast in Minard Castle.
If you would like suggestions for staying in this area, please phone us
on 44 (0) 1546 886272 and we will try to help!
reason we have stopped is that the recently introduced fire safety
regulations are much more onerous than those with which we have
complied for years. The alterations required of us were estimated at
about £30,000! Such a cost was clearly not justified for a small
business like ours. Also, the many intrusive fittings, illuminated
signs and fire doors would have seriously detracted from the historic
character of the house - and of course we do not want our home to
resemble an office!
We would like to extend our thanks and good
wishes to the many thousands of guests we have had the pleasure of
welcoming to our home during the past fourteen years.
18th May 2008
Gardens Scheme 2008
Our garden was
open on 11th May 2008
Our our garden and grounds were again open under
Scotland's Gardens Scheme on the afternoon of Sunday 11th May 2008.
The weather was fine and sunny and we raised a useful
sum for charity, though not as much as last year. Perhaps there were
too many competing events in the area that day.
Thanks again to all who helped both in the preceding
weeks and on the day.
22nd January 2008
24th December 2007
To all our Friends
Anne acquired two donkeys, Rebecca and her son
Benny, which she insists on calling "burros" - the American for
donkeys! She missed the donkeys she had years ago in California, and
seized the chance of re-homing these two who were surplus to
requirements on a local hillside. We are still trying to persuade Benny
not to chase Gracie, who of course accompanies us into their field. We
have recycled an old garden shed as a shelter for them in wet weather,
though they seem mainly to prefer to stand in the rain!
Rebecca and Benny
in their winter quarters
This has been another busy year for us and we are very
glad that the season is over and we can now catch up on sleep!
In fact we did take a break in September when we went
to California for two weeks of nice weather and no work.
In the spring we acquired two donkeys, Benny, on the
right in the picture, and his mother Rebecca. They have spent most of
the year in the large field in front of the house but are now indoors
in the interest of keeping their hooves dry and healthy in the wet
It can probably be counted a success as we took about
£350 in total including the money for the teas. The proceeds
go to charity, 40% to the Scottish Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals and the rest to the charities supported
by Scotland's Gardens Scheme.
We were very lucky with the weather as the forecast
had not been good, but in fact it was sunny and there was enough
breeze to keep the midges away. We had many favourable comments,
and at least some of the visitors walked all around the Woodland
Garden. Many had not been here before, and two couples had stories
to tell about parents or grandparents who had worked here many
The garden and grounds were looking quite good, as
we had all made a big effort in the months leading up to the event.
Anne painted garden gates and did some weeding, and
had put in many extra hours. Matt Heasman, our rhododendron expert,
had given even more care and attention to the rare plants in the
Woodland Garden he has created beyond the pond. Many thanks to everyone
else who helped on the day.
The cat population continues to thrive. In January two of Gracie's
kittens were re-homed, together, and are doing well. The two we kept,
Leo and Spot, are now much larger than their mother. All three cats
supplement their perfectly adequate diet with mice and other small
rodents from the garden - as well as, regrettably, the occasional bird.
Wishing you a
Good New Year!
All the best for
2008 from Reinold and Anne Gayre
15th August 2007
Leo and Spot
These two and mother Gracie are spending most of their
time outdoors, sleeping in between mouse duty. They are thriving,
obviously. We try to keep them in at night but occasionally they manage
to evade us. The "kittens" are now fully grown and very agile. Tree
climbing is a speciality, mainly to show off to an audience!
16th May 2007
Gardens Scheme 2007
Our garden was
open on 13th May 2007
For the first time, we opened our garden and grounds
under Scotland's Gardens Scheme on the afternoon of Sunday 13th May
The garden will be open again on the afternoon of Sunday
11th May 2008.
4th March 2007
We have been continuing, all too slowly, with the
restoration of the windows and other features of the building. By now,
most of the windows in the front of the house have been re-built to the
original pattern, using recycled timber as it is better quality and
more stable than new wood from a builders' merchant. We have been able
to make the window sills out of oak from our own trees. We did not fell
any but used trees which had fallen in gales.
Three of the windows are in the "conservatory", the
room over the front door. It was a building site throughout 2006 but we
hope to have it finished for this year. The work also involved making
new shutters, panelling and small turned wooden features. When
complete, most of the many houseplants will be returned to the room,
and it should be a pleasant place to sit on warm days.
Another project has been the conversion of the tower at
the end of the east wing into some accommodation. We have formed a
small house on three floors with a kitchen-livingroom, two bedrooms and
two bathrooms, one of them en suite. This has involved building a
completely new staircase, as well as the inevitable window
reconstruction. This conversion has been a painfully slow undertaking.
It took us thirteen months just to obtain planning permission! The work
is at last nearing completion and we have just recently taken delivery
of the stone with which we have already formed one of two new small
windows at the back.
For further information please contact
Many of you will already know that our dear old
retriever Rory died in September 2006, after a very short illness, at
the good age of thirteen and three quarter years.
Not long before that, we were adopted by a cat who
moved out of the trees and into Rory's quarters in a matter of days.
She is bright, a busy mouser, and has the unusual characteristic of
accompanying us for walks! In the early days she came with us and Rory,
and has continued since. Anne has named her Gracie, short for Amazing
Following earlier rumours of a roaming black tom cat in
the vicinity, in October four kittens were born! We have since found a
home for two of them, together, and have kept two - Leo, a ginger male,
and Spot, a tortoiseshell like her mother.
The four kittens
Argyll PA32 8YB
Phone: 44 (0)1546 886272
Copyright © Reinold Gayre 2001-2020