Saturday, 19 December 2015

Happy Christmas 2015

The photos I've chosen for this year's Christmas blog entry were taken early in December at Balintore, just I was driving away from the castle and heading towards the south of England. The combination of the blue skies and snow glinting in the sunshine made me very reluctant to leave. However, gainful employment is required to keep the restoration in funds.

bottom of castle drive - looking south-west

Due to the mild winter, so far, this snow on the upper slopes at Balintore may be the best the UK has to offer this year in the "White Christmas" department.

driving east with a snow-capped Cat Law (671 m) on right-hand side

The restoration work keeps going with further gains in reclaiming internal space in 2015. Now the principal bedroom level is completely floored and all the windows are installed. The windows in particular make a huge difference with light now flooding into the building on this level as well as the level below. The rooms even warm up while the sun in shining! My pet project, replacing the castle's marble fireplaces, is in full swing and a  number of the reclaimed fireplaces that I have purchased are now installed. We are now working on the top servants' bedroom level rebuilding the floors here.

There has been further work on the roof, with the last sections of box gutter being totally rebuilt - we have been slowly working round the building. Two additional turrets have also been given a complete makeover. The dry-lining and insulation of the kitchen wing has started so finally the holes in walls and ceilings which allow heat from the wood burner to rapidly escape the building are being blocked-up. There may even come a day when the wood burner does not have to be run at full throttle.  :-)

Fighting wind farms proposals in the unspoiled scenery around the castle has taken up far too much time this year, but then that has been the case for the last 7 years; expect some more related blog entries in 2016.

I am hoping to spend some quality hands-on restoration time at the building in 2016. However I am resigned to keep working in order to keep funding the restoration and for Andy to handle things on site on a day-to-day basis. Thank goodness for Andy. :-) In fact, I am only too pleased to be working again after last year's back operation which made it possible for me to walk again and sit-down again. Never underestimate the power of sitting down for a computer geek! 

It is continually heartening to hear from people all over the the world through the blog, despite the fewer entries this year (heavy work schedule!). I wish all friends of Balintore Castle, old and new, a "Happy Christmas" and best wishes for 2016. 

And finally, here's a photo taken inside the castle by my friend Andrew, I wish you could all join me in front of this roaring fire to celebrate the festive season! 

a roaring fire in the principal dressing room/study


  1. You've accomplished so much this year! It still fills me with dread when I read the words "wind farm"! God willing that battle will be won next year.
    Love the fireplace pic.

    1. We are definitely kept busy with castle work, though there always seems a vast amount still to do. :-) My joke when I telephone Andy is "You're not short of anything to do, are you?". It may be an old joke, but it does engender useful discussions of tasks and task dependencies. As romantic a building as Balintore is, its restoration is a project like any other. I can't pass a wind farm nowadays without feeling nauseous. Don't take on a big restoration project unless you are prepared to fight long campaigns on many fronts. I used to think, naively, that restoration was about building work. :-)

  2. Great to hear about the progress. Was particularly impressed by the sight of ONE rug on the floor on my brief summer visit.

    1. The one rug was a deliberate/desperate attempt to make the building site look like a home. :-) And actually it did work.

  3. You have a fan in rural Kansas, America. Right in the middle!

    What you are doing just astounds me, and your project makes my almost 9,000 square foot project seem...petite, by comparison!

    Happy holidays!

  4. Great to hear of your progress, would love to visit the old place again next summer, if possible. Do you have in mind a date for stopping work to spend more time at the Castle? And how is 'your flat' in the castle coming along? Hazel

    1. Good to hear from you! Please come along in the summer, I will certain be around for some time. It's impossible to make definitive long term plans as you never know what the job market will do. Angus Council stopped work on one attempted flat inside the castle. I was in despair - despite spending so much on the building I was not allowed to make anything habitable. However, planning permission for the kitchen wing has come through after 7 years, and work on this has started in the last month. David