Having suffered weeks and weeks of unseasonably cold and wet weather, it was almost reassuring when this summer was branded “the worst summer in thirty years”, by those that know about these things.
Fortunately nobody holidays in Scotland for the wall-to-wall sunshine and our guests have been very tolerant of the inclement conditions. We have welcomed some lovely new-comers as well as lots of familiar faces who can’t resist the charms of Torrisdale. There is no statute of limitations on being a return visitor and we were delighted to welcome back two lovely couples who had both honeymooned at Garden Cottage several decades ago. Mark and Pippa were celebrating their thirty year anniversary and were delighted to return to this cosy, romantic hideaway. Similarly, Jan and Phil Wiltshire first stayed at Garden cottage 38 years ago, after having a delayed honeymoon. They were back to celebrate 40 years of marriage and were so happy to be at Torrisdale again. It’s a joy to meet such lovely people who have fallen in love with the estate. We hope to welcome both couples back again, hopefully after not such a long pause next time!
Speaking of love and romance, we were delighted to host the wedding of our wonderful Garden Cottage regulars, Chris and Terry, at the end of August. It was a fabulous weekend and the couple worked so hard to make the day so enjoyable for their guests. They even arranged a Haggis Hunt with 20 (homemade by Chris) beautiful toy haggises which were hidden around the grounds. Each one was named for a specific guests and Niall and I were so touched that two had our names on them as well. Lady and Laird McHaggis have have become favourites toys of the children and will be treasured.
Once again, we focused on local produce for the wedding menu, starting with a sumptuous seafood buffet provided by the Kintyre Smokehouse. For the main course, our local chef, Monica Gemmill of Ifferdale, did us proud with her husband’s lamb medallions with haggis, served with seasonal vegetables and a delicious dauphinoise potato. Desert was traditional Scottish cranachan which was so good there were demands for seconds and the rest was polished off after bacon rolls in the evening. The bride’s eldest son declared it was the best wedding food he’d ever tasted!
We are really enjoying this new aspect to our business and it is a great privilege to be involved in such a special day. We have fond memories of all three of the weddings this year and hope to host more in the future.
We welcomed our first WWOOFERs of the season at the beginning of August and was wonderful to have the extra help. Emily and Ben came from Canada and were kept busy working in the walled garden, bundling wood and placing way-marker posts for our Bicentennial Woodland Walks. We loved having them around and they fitted in so well on the estate. Crumble, especially, was a big fan.
The woodland walks is just one of the ways we are hoping to mark the 200th birthday of the castle this year. The way-markers will be permanent and we hope they make the estate more accessible for local people and holiday makers alike. We are also opening our doors in September for ‘Doors-open Day’ which we hope will attract lots of people who are interested in the history of Torrisdale. Or, frankly, those who simply fancy a wee nosey around (As long as my dusting doesn’t come under too much scrutiny). This will take place on Sunday 27th September and we will be running hourly guided tours from 12pm – 4pm. Details of other Argyll venues opening their doors that weekend can be found on the website.
It’s hard to believe that we are into September now and what little summer we had is a distant memory. Luckily autumn is a stunning time of year in our part of the world and already we can see the trees changing. The bookings may be slowing down a little bit but the excitement never ends around here – the next Big Event is the commissioning of the hydro scheme. Let the autumn showers commence!