Minard Castle
Loch Fyne, Argyll, Scotland

News 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 regularly updated blog but we will add to it when we think we have something interesting to say.
31st May 2011

No More Bed & Breakfast!

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!

The 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.


28th June 2009

Scotland's Gardens Scheme 2009

The garden and grounds were again open for charity under Scotland's Gardens Scheme on the afternoon of Sunday 10th May 2009. After a couple of weeks of rain it was a great relief that the weather was nice and sunny. Some visitors even took a longer walk to see the rhododendrons, many of which were flowering.

Many thanks to all who helped.


15th February 2009

New Arrival!

Barney and Benny

And some sad news...

Our elderly donkey Rebecca, the mother of Benny, died at the end of last year.

Poor Benny, who had always been with his mother, was of course distraught. We could not do much to help except put him in the field with a couple of horses. We then began a frantic search for another donkey. After an unsuccessful lead which wasted several weeks, we managed to locate one near Glasgow, a four year old.

Barney arrived late one evening and we left him stabled overnight. Next morning he and Benny were calling to each other across the grounds. Later we introduced them. There was not too much fuss and we were able to put them both into the field. They now seem quite happy together.

They don't really like horses very much so a fence now divides the field and they have their own part into which the horses cannot get. They, however, can push under the fence wire whenever they want! They can also go down onto the beach and eat seaweed! The stones and traces of salt are probably good for their hooves too.


18th May 2008

Scotland's 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

Gale Damage - our biggest Silver 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 several 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 generator!


24th December 2007

Season's Greetings

To all our Friends

 

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 weather.

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

Cats

Leo and Spot

Photo Beverly Schroeder

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

Scotland's 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 2007.

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 years ago!

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 the real gardeners 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 Harry Kent, Jenny, Mark and everyone else who helped on the day.


The garden will be open again on the afternoon of Sunday 11th May 2008.


4th March 2007

Restoration Work

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.


Animals

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 Grace.

Gracie

 

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

 

Now, Anne has 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


 

For further information please contact

Reinold Gayre
Minard Castle
Minard
Argyll PA32 8YB
Scotland

Telephone/fax: 44 (0)1546 886272
E-mail: reinoldgayre@minardcastle.com
Web: www.minardcastle.com

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