March has an old saying, “In like a Lamb – Out like a Lion”. I can only assume we will be wearing shorts come the end of the month? There has been some damage sustained from the cold temperatures, with a few burst pipes, where insulation was insufficient or removed to make some warm bedding for mice. Several missing roof tiles and slates caused by wind, also enabled fine snow to drive into loft spaces and cause some unwelcome damp stains on ceilings. However, we are always glad to have roofers like Lee Johnstone on hand to repair in a hurry and continue with the routine maintenance.
The West Lodge is looking stunning on the inside and awaits some warmer weather to complete the outside. Clark Mercer is building the stonework and will compete the render outside with a traditional shell sand/lime harl. It is fantastic to see such craftsmanship re generating this building. With a complex twisted chimney and stone detail, Clark has been in his element.
Work on North Baldutho Farmhouse has also begun, with the new-build structure due for delivery in April, foundations have been poured. Already in need of some tree planting for wind protection, the sites exposed position also providing spectacular views over the Forth.
We hosted The Soil Association’s Organic Served Here meeting at Comielaw Farm. The meeting is part of the movement to connect producers with consumers, and saw a mix of farmers, processors and local chefs come together with some inspiring talks from Denese Walton of Peelham Organics, discussing supply and quality control. Chris Grierson of the food chain Feed who uses low-value cuts of meat to create fantastic American Diner menu and Richard Murray Connecting Chefs & Producers with a new App called Food Chain, which helps chefs place orders and small producers fulfil them.
With Bowhouse now becoming a monthly event, we were delighted to welcome 4300 food visitors over the 2nd weekend in March. A varied programme of producers, makers and stalls is planned for the coming year and we will see more opportunities to meet, see and discuss with producers over the next few months.
Kinneuchar Inn renovations are still on hold while we await planning permission for the alterations. We are hopeful that this will be in place soon, but it now looks as the Inn will not re-open in 2018, but be ready for Easter 2019.