Last week I visited Balintore Castle, a few miles north west of Kirriemuir in Angus. I’ve known the owner, David Johnston, for just over ten years but it’s a while since I’ve visited his home so it was nice to drive up and see progress on the castle.
David bought Balintore in 2007 when it was little more than a ruin. Now with a huge amount of hard work he’s been able to launch a self-catering Airbnb business and, COVID permitting, is considering opening a restaurant.
Of course there is still a LOT to be done – this is a long, long-term project!
But it’s a project that clearly gives David huge satisfaction. He is dedicated to restoring this traditional Scottish castle in the most authentic and appropriate ways – constantly on the lookout for Victorian furniture and fittings. And he takes especial delight in unexpected finds: He proudly showed me two deer heads mounted on shields “bagged” at an online auction for a song. Well, Balintore was built as a hunting lodge so no surprise that he snapped them up. But there was no hiding his delight in the labels only discovered after the purchase – Deyrolle of Paris – probably the best taxidermy emporium in the world!
So I asked if Balintore is a potential venue for ceremonies? “Definitely,” replied David, “in fact we recently held our first wedding – with a colleague of yours officiating – Angela Maughan! We’ve also held a scattering of ashes. And in time it would be great to offer yoga retreats and the like.”
Balintore isn’t the easiest of venues to reach. And there’s still a lot of work required to restore some of the larger rooms. But it’s a unique place with a very special character. And the location and views are truly stunning.
Definitely worth considering if you want somewhere a little “off the beaten track”!
MIchael Hannah, 7th September 2020