Barwhillanty Blog... Raw and Wild retreats and wedding feasts!Posted (14/08/2018)
What a summer it has been! Blessed with brilliant sunshine for countless days, Barwhillanty has blossomed and bloomed all at once... launching our first retreat and first weddings in true delight.
’Raw and Wild’ became real and wonderful in May with our first all-embracing guests experiencing the outdoorsy, invigorating and wholesome living our retreats offer. Interspersing the days with morning and evening yoga that celebrated different styles, paces and locations on the estate, we managed to fit in an afternoon of foraging, wild swimming and pizzas freshly fired up in the walled garden. We feasted as well as foraged, indulging in plenty of Barwhillanty Estate produce, with a nutritional thread tying it all together. Being a dentist and nutritionist, my passion and philosophy lies in creating healthy and wholesome food that is not only nutritious (and delicious!), but free from any attacking or refined sugars, ensuring a low glycemic index and a low cariogenic potential. Thus promoting a happy body, happy teeth and not forgetting a happy tummy! My dream would be to create a ‘Raw and Wild’ recipe book one day... but first, more retreats. We are looking at May 2019 for our next exclusive retreat... so please get in touch if you want to find your ‘Raw and Wild’ side...
Or if you are looking to walk down the aisle embracing South West Scotland’s stunning style. We had the joy of sharing our pocket of magic with two beautiful couples on their big days this summer... two very different, bespoke weddings with a personal touch. There was nothing more magical than bringing an atmosphere of happiness and celebration to the grounds of Barwhillanty. From Tipi tents to Dhol drumming, from ceilidh dancing to campfire burning, from games on the lawn to Sri Lanken style feasting... such creative, charismatic, charming celebrations graced the gardens!
We hope to offer a select few unique and exclusive weddings, as well as retreats, here in the future, so whether it be the sound of the yoga gong or the ringing of wedding bells, look no further than the breathtaking beauty of Barwhillanty...
Barwhillanty Blog... Happy New Year, yoga is here!Posted (10/01/2018)
The year of 'Raw and Wild' retreats is here! Having completed my yoga teacher training at the end of last year - no mean feat with baby Leander breastfeeding throughout - I am now set to bring yoga to Barwhillanty! Yoga has been an incredible journey for me and I am delighted to be able to share the knowledge, calmness and wellbeing it has brought me. Raw and Wild retreats will aim to capture the joy of the outdoors, embracing the natural beauty Barwhillanty has in abundance. Healthy, wholesome living will feature in the food we offer as well as the environment we indulge in. Our menu will celebrate what produce we grow and what game we keep, emphasising sustainably sourced food that is both nutritious and delicious!
Yoga will form the structure of our schedule, punctuated with foraging, wild swimming and breathtaking walks to leave you feeling invigorated and energised, whilst calm and cleansed. We are excited about our upcoming exclusive launch in May, following which, more dates will be released...
The other 'first' for 2018 is Barwhillanty weddings! We are thrilled to be hosting two weddings this year - each will be unique and bespoke to our guests who we are delighted have chosen to celebrate their special day here. So bring on an action-packed 2018, full of exciting events! We hope you will experience some of the 'Raw and Wild' wonders of South West Scotland with us soon...
Barwhillanty Blog... autumnal edition with an addition!Posted (27/10/2017)
Summer was in bloom and so was I, as we entered autumn with our family addition; our beautiful baby boy, Leander. Acacia has quickly become the sweetest big sister, first to his attention upon his cry and never missing her morning kiss! Now the haze of the early newborn days begins to subside, I am taking advantage of a moment's peace to deliver to you our autumnal piece, here at action packed Barwhillanty...
We survived the edge of the storm, keeping our fingers and toes crossed for the forestry and for not too many a frightened pheasant. The shooting season is now well underway and our gamekeeper, David, has been working tirelessly to keep our pheasants and our shooting guests happy... and happy they have been! We are thrilled to welcome Michelle on board, our creative cook, to cater for many a hungry mouth. Game has been the name of the game, as Michelle has been using our delicious pheasant meat in different ways to create many a tasty dish, being true to our ethos of 'eat what you shoot'. A healthy, wholesome and versatile meat... pheasant is SO in season and Michelle has risen to the challenge! Barwhillanty venison is to be on the menu soon... oh and she bakes a mean cake! So look no further than Barwhillanty Estate if you are looking for a delightful and delicious driven day shooting.
Our holiday cottages (yes, two!) are now both up and running, offering a splash of luxury amongst the stunning countryside of South West Scotland. Our newest cottage, Blairinnie, sleeps 10 and Diamonds Laggan sleeps 8, so plenty of space for family and friends to escape to rural bliss... be it outdoor activities or cosy comforts, Dumfries and Galloway has it all! We can't wait to welcome you here...
Barwhillanty Blog... wild swims and outdoor things!
From spring to summer, from blossom to bloom... we have been blessed with plenty of sunshine (Dumfries & Galloway sometimes boasting the hottest part of the UK!) interspersed with plenty of rain (keeping it green!). I have been plunging into our garden pond for my daily wild swim, floating my ever-expanding belly in silky water bliss! Acacia has now taken to her feet and is charging along, punctuating her path with picking flowers, spotting birds and rearranging stones... a country girl she truly is!
In the name of 'Raw and Wild', our veggies are positively flourishing and our wonderful holiday cottage guests are experiencing a taste of Barwhillanty, with our garden bouquet gracing their welcome packs. We have gone a bit purple this year, from pak choi to potatoes, hoping to inspire a nutritional twist, boosting your antioxidents, whilst giving a colourful addition to your plates! As I write, our outdoor yoga space is receiving some finishing touches in the walled garden. Elegant parasols have been positioned across the terrace to ensure a Scottish shower will not interrupt, only enhance, shavasana. You can glimpse some of the 'Raw and Wild' scenery and food on my Instagram at 'maria_raw_and_wild'.
Our latest project to transform Blairinnie into our second luxury holiday cottage is virtually complete... (drum roll...) our first guests arrive this weekend and we can't wait to welcome them! Previously a crumbling cottage, Blairinnie is now a fine farmhouse, offering cosy comfort whilst oozing elegance and charm, all within truly stunning countryside surroundings. We are thrilled to bring Blairinnie to Barwhillanty Estate's slice of holiday heaven... and for you to experience it! We are also delighted to be supporting and showcasing the incredible artwork of the exceptionally talented Luci Maclaren, which has most certainly brought some of our rooms to life. Be preparted to swoon... http://www.lucimaclaren.com
So with baby pheasants settling in to their new home, keeping our gamekeeper on his toes and Acacia exploring the outdoor wonders of her home, keeping me on my toes... we look forward to the patter of newborn baby footsteps... in about a month!!
Barwhillanty Blog... baa blaa baa!!
The season of the lambs is well and truly here and don't we know it... Acacia has just turned one and it turns out her first word is "baa'! So not only are we surrounded by fields of "baa"-ing lambs, but we have a "baa"-ing lamb of our own!
With lovely long days upon us and regular glimpses of sunshine warming us, my practice of 'Raw and Wild' yoga is underway. From daffodil downdog to tree pose under the magnolia blossom, you can follow my Instagram diary under 'maria_raw_and_wild'.
Since Oscar is out lambing all day, Acacia and I are having plenty of outdoor play. Our vegetable garden has now doubled in size as the second two raised beds have just been built - thanks to Gordon, our forester and Steve, our gardener. We are planning our plethora of produce to tickle your taste buds when you come to stay in our holiday cottages. Our second holiday cottage is coming along - due for its grand launch later this summer. We are fortunate enough to have the artwork of incredible local talent, Anna Wright, on display in Blairinnie, our new holiday home. Her illustrations are delightful and we are very proud to be supporting her in Dumfries and Galloway, where she grew up. Check out her array of wondrous work at http://www.annawright.co.uk
So plan your rural getaway soon and surround yourselves with the "baa"-ing lambs of Barwhillanty... our next baby is due to arrive in early September, so even more "baa"-ing by next spring!
Barwhillanty Blog... Raw and Wild!Posted (17/02/2017)
Signs of spring have already sprung, with spectacular starling murmurations and stunning snowdrops... and we have sprung into action at Barwhillanty. This post comes with a rather late 'Happy New Year', only just having the chance to put pen to paper after a busy start to 2017.
With the shooting season drawing to a close at the beginning of the month, those remaining pheasants continue to roam the rural land and will be fed until there is plenty available for their natural foraging. We have delighted in many a delicious pheasant dish and feel it is under-celebrated on the nation's menu and by chefs at large. So please tag us in any pheasant recipes you have tried and love and let's try to make this gorgeous game a foodie feature! We are strong believers in sustainability and responsibility in that you should eat what you shoot; he that "eats, shoots and leaves" will return only to eat shoots and leaves!
The "Raw and Wild" journey at Barwhillanty is underway! I have spent the beginning of the year on my yoga teacher training course and we will soon be launching wild yoga here: breathtaking views as you breathe and move, raw retreats giving your body and soul a treat. The holistic holiday, embracing our environment and the outdoor wonder it holds. So all you yogis out there, watch this space...
In the same vein, we are currently in the process of decorating our second holiday cottage, Blairinnie. We spent last year bringing this beautiful old farmhouse back to life, that had begun to fall into a state of ruin. Now it looks glorious! Boasting some of the most terrific views and surrounded by acres of incredible walks, we can't wait to offer it to our holiday guests. It holds similar remote charm to our existing Diamonds Laggan, with slightly larger capacity, sleeping 10 at most. We are excited about choosing all our fabrics and furnishings to enhance the cosy countryside comfort that awaits you! So come the summer, choose Dumfries and Galloway and the choice of luxury holiday cottage will be yours...
Barwhillanty Blog... festive fun!Posted (10/12/2016)
'Tis the season; all things merry and bright with cosy fires and Christmas tree lights... as we scuttle around in search for the perfect gift, fill our ears with Christmas songs and begin the festive countdown, what happens here for a countryside Christmas?
Well, we're fattening up our pheasants as the shooting season is truly underway. Our keeper, David, and his wife, Amy, have been meticulously looking after our bouquets of pheasants, making their lives happy until they meet their fates (and our plates!). We are only hosting a few days for family and friends at Barwhillanty to get things back up and running, but more to come in the future!
Our woods have been roamed by a party of Italien guests and their Pointer dogs this past week - woodcock shooting. It is amazing to watch their dogs at work, with such skill and accuracy. We are thrilled they had such a wonderful time and had some wild game to turn into Italien delicacies. This Christmas, we are excited about welcoming a family to our holiday cottage, Diamonds Laggan - the perfect cosy getaway. With fires roaring and hills to be exploring, what enchanting Christmas cheer awaits them. Barwhillanty firewood supports our cosy Christmases at home and beyond, as we supply locally too. Gordon, our forester, has been busy making the wood from the trees as well as pruning our hardwoods to help produce fine, tall and straight trees - just what the sawmills are after!
It is Acacia's first Christmas, so she is very excited in anticipation of Santa's visit, but all she really wants for Christmas is her two front teeth! Merry Christmas!
Barwhillanty Blog... happy horses!Posted (06/10/2016)
The clip-clopping and happy horse sighs can now be heard on Barwhillanty! Our gamekeeper David's wife, Amy, has two magnificent mares that now grace the field by our holiday cottage, Diamonds Laggan.
Morgan and Tuesday are a beautiful and friendly duo, both excited about exploring the Barwhillanty land... they are always happy to see you and you may well see Amy and I trotting past on them, if you are on a wildlife walk. Amy is the professional one, who knows what she is doing, whilst I am the one hanging on. Little Acacia has also been up to say hello! Amy has lovingly had Morgan for 15 years and Tuesday for her whole 8 years of life, so we are thrilled to welcome them to their new home on Barwhillanty.
The cycle of lambs continues, as some have bid farewell to meet the butcher's table and the next flock of fluffies are meeting our testosterone-filled tups! We have some new tups this year to ensure our breeds do not in-breed... we can't wait to meet the fruits of their frisky encounters next spring, in sync with the celebration of Acacia's first birthday.
South West Scotland is still brimming with sunshine and plenty is still in bloom. Our winter vegetables are coming in thick and fast and our green-fingered gardener, Steve, has even managed to grow an aubergine or two... got to get the Greek influence in somewhere!
As autumn creeps in, the colours are starting to change, showing Barwhillanty's new face of seasonal magic. There is always more to experience on your holiday here with us, whatever time of year... so come and experience it for yourself!
Barwhillanty Blog... WILDlife walks!Posted (28/06/2016)
What wildlife wonders await you, as you don your walking boots and wander through Barwhillanty's fields and woodland? There is plenty to keep you on your toes!
The home of the red kite; look up and you will often see one of these regal birds of prey soaring past. The smaller buzzard is also a keen resident here and has been known to show particular interest in Donald, our handyman, who has had several encounters with one on his bicycle! An unusual twist on rural risk... keep your helmets on here!
Watch your step, since we have some spiky friends; hedgehogs that potter along our paths, keeping themselves busy. Such cute creatures - a wonderful sight to see! Red squirrels skip along everywhere and you might befriend a frog or two.
Our roe deer population has been soaring, as we await the arrival of our new gamekeeper/wildlife ranger. So you may well glimpse a deer darting through our woodland on your travels. We are lucky enough to be welcoming David to our team, and his family will be joining him, making their home here in one of our cottages on Barwhillanty Estate. More to follow about this exciting addition to our team in the 'News' section of our website.
We are well acquainted with the sheep and their rapidly growing lambs that fluff up our fields, but we have plenty of curious cows too! And before you open the gate to cross through a field, remember there is a brazen bull hanging out in one of them. An excitement that I, and possible baby Acacia, won't forget! Nonchalantly stepping into the field, on a walk with our good friends, each with our babies strapped to their respective daddies, the young bull decided to take an interest... before we knew it, we were dancing around the field, dodging the bull. It was Oscar, with our little Acacia hanging on, who took the initiative to face the bull! Realising this was the way to frighten the bull into retreat, we all joined in with flailing limbs in unanimous panic... fortunately enough to allow sufficient space to leg it back through the gate! Well done Oscar and Acacia - a rather animated adventure for such early days of her life!
So for a taste of the wild, or just walks with wildlife, we have it all waiting here...
Barwhillanty Blog... blooming BarwhillantyPosted (14/05/2016)
Spring has truly sprung and my overdue blog post is finally here! The Easter arrival of our baby girl, Acacia, has put my writing secondary to feeding and catching up on snippets of sleep - but what a wonderful time! Acacia was born in sync with the lambs, which made for a busy time for our farm manager, Paul, who would have normally had more help from my husband, Oscar, but our little lamb became our world!
All 1500 or so lambs are now here, joyfully dancing around the fields and entertaining Acacia and I on our walks. Playtime amongst the lambs happens around 6pm each day; "Lamb Derby", whereby they really do bounce and spring about together. Such fun to see!
The recent spell of super sunny weather has brought beautiful Barwhillanty into full bloom! From carpets of bluebells to trees bursting with green, it feels like summer and we could even boast the highest temperature in the UK earlier this week. A true summer holiday destination! Such that we have been indulging in 'al fresco' dining, outdoor swimming in the loch, yoga in the garden and jogging with Acacia in her buggy - she loves the bumpy ride!
We have also been building our chicken pen - which has turned into a chicken palace - ready to house some happy hens! So when you come to stay in our luxury holiday cottage, you will have some fresh eggs to welcome you in your goodie bag!
Begin your wholesome, healthy, happy holiday here, at Barwhillanty... there is more to come...
Barwhillanty Blog... welly wellbeing!Posted (18/02/2016)
Wash away your winter blues with lung fills of fresh country air at Barwhillanty Estate... the remote, rolling hills of Dumfries and Galloway offer an abundance of health benefits to tempt you away for a rural retreat.
An escape to the countryside can be mentally and physically reviving; evidence even suggesting better quality air helps you live longer! Being outside is the forgotten antibiotic, and when combined with exertion or activity, the effect on your wellbeing is boosted even further. Welly wellbeing is what we do best here at Barwhillanty...
Furthermore, with a watersports and sailing centre five minutes away on the beautiful Loch Ken (lochken.co.uk), the '7 Stanes Mountain Biking Mecca' on our doorstep and a feast of tracks and trails for walkers, runners and horse-riders, there really is plentiful opportunity to secure your healthy dose of fresh air and fun, for adults and children alike!
The soothing sights and sounds of nature must also be remembered... we have a whole host of wildlife frolicking in the forests for the keen eye to spot: from red kites to red squirrels, from roe deer to great crested newts. Being in tune with the outside world helps to relax us and has a medicinal effect on stress levels. So let the chattering of the birds wake you and fall asleep under the blanket of a 'Dark Sky Park' area, where the lack of light pollution can reveal a staggering amount of stars.
Wholesome living is what we are passionate about; there is nothing better than to come back to a warm, crackling fire and homemade food after a day indulging in the outdoors. Being far from fast food options and takeaway culture, healthy and wholesome eating is easier in the countryside and culinary creativity can be embraced! With our raised beds being made as we speak, soon we will be serving up some of Barwhillanty's own home-grown greens...
So come and treat yourself to some countryside therapy and reap the rewards of welly wellbeing!
Barwhillanty Blog... counting sheep!Posted (19/01/2016)
It's not just the abundant fresh air, indulgence of outdoor activities and rural quiet that ensures a good night's sleep at Barwhillanty... we've been counting sheep too!
Our frisky flock, that's 998 of them, have all been scanned and we now have count of how many lambs to expect... 1,941! Our sheep population will increase by almost 200%... that is a lot of new fleeces to appear in the spring! The majority of our ewes are Easycare; a breed that sheds its own wool. With the cost of wool being too low to generate profit, these hardy ladies are well adjusted to their environment and suffer few health problems... perfect for the wild weather that can excite Dumfries and Galloway.
From fleeces to forests, Barwhillanty Estate is currently pioneering a training programme, aiming to support local communities in providing skilled training in many aspects of rural life. Having teamed up with Graeme Hodgkinson, a proactive and passionate Forestry Industry Safety Accord (FISA) instructor, 'Land Based Training' has been born... with a vision to fill the void of practical forestry training that is both safe and of value to land management.
It is early days, but if we can even begin to fulfil our mission, bringing support to the local economy and industry of forestry, it is something Barwhillanty can be proud of. Furthermore, it would profit generations to come; a legacy we hope Oscar's father, the late John Yerburgh, being a pioneer in forestry of his day, would have loved to see in support of the industry he was passionate about.
Keep dialled in to hear how 'Land Based Training' progresses... and remember Valentine's Day is not too far away... we have plenty of rural romancing ideas for you to escape to...
Barwhillanty Blog... a happy New YearPosted (08/01/2016)
Happy New Year... resolutions at the ready! Healthy, wholesome outdoor living is what Barwhillanty is about... and we are waiting to welcome you. Holiday, mini-break or weekend escape, the Scottish countryside is calling.
Never short of an adventure here... for after the rain comes snow. We have had so much rain, fortunately unaffected by local flooding, leaving copious muddy paths and fields to embrace with wellies and waterproofs. A muddy run turns out to be quite hard work too (even more so when pregnant!). January does not have to be dull - the crisp, country air is a great medicine and there is nothing better than coming home to a roaring fire after a burst of chilly activity. Especially now it seems the sledging season has descended upon Dumfries and Galloway... and hills we have plenty!
I am excited to announce that the Barwhillanty Estate Facebook page has been launched this week, so you can follow our progress with pictures and postings... and start planning your visit. Also, rather excitingly, our smart, new signage is being put up around the estate, displayed on Barwhillanty's own oak, crafted and mounted by Donald, our handyman and Gordon, our forester.
Next week, our expectant ewes will be facing their scans, to find out how many lambs we are due... follow us on Facebook for a glimpse of the action!
Barwhillanty Blog... a countryside ChristmasPosted (15/12/2015)
With Christmas cheer building up; cosy fires being lit and carols being sung, I thought I'd bring you an insight into Barwhillanty Estate's countryside Christmas, amongst the rolling hills of Dumfries and Galloway.
Love has been in the air, as Oscar and I have just returned from our honeymoon in South America whilst the tups have been let loose, romancing the ewes. We seem to be rather in sync with the sheep; our baby being due in the middle of lambing season! So in the festively appropriate words: "love really is all around".
Our delightful holiday cottage, Diamonds Laggan, has just been kitted out with a fancy new biomass heating system, ready for those cosy Christmas fires and ready to welcome you to indulge in the charming remoteness of our rural getaway location. We will soon be adding to our holiday cottage portfolio too, with the prospect of an exciting new build (watch this space...).
The team at Barwhillanty have been busy tidying up after some wild winds had taken some trees down. The weather always brings some excitement here, but also such gorgeous changes in colours, making our views and walks endlessly interesting. We have two new tenants recently settled into a couple of our residentially let cottages and are thrilled that the secrets of South West Scotland will be opening their doors to them.
So come and share some of these secrets of Scotland soon... there's no "bah-humbug" at Barwhillanty for our countryside Christmas!
The Barwhillanty Blog beginsPosted (03/11/2015)
Let me introduce the "Barwhillanty Blog"... a personal insight into the rural happenings that conserve the beautiful countryside, whilst inspiring enjoyment, within the realms of our estate in South West Scotland; a business and a home, recently taken over by a young landlord, Oscar Yerburgh, who happens to be my husband!
For a little background, Oscar made the decision to move back to the family estate full-time, as his father, the late John Yerburgh, was becoming very elderly. There was a steep learning curve as Oscar took on board the management of the accounts and begun to work towards his vision of an exemplary estate. After a few years of groundwork, hands-on learning and administrational organisation and tidying, beautiful Barwhillanty is beginning to bloom and bear the fruits of labour.
For me, it has been a journey of education and newfound appreciation for the countryside and I would like to share my journey with you. Let me begin with our wedding... a magical day in May, where Scottish bagpipes filled the streets of a small mountain village in Greece (where my father is from) to meet traditional Greek dancing, amongst a celebration of energy, joy and laughter to pave the way for our lifetimes. Upon our return, I begun my transition from working full-time in Edinburgh, to a split week between Edinburgh and Dumfries and Galloway. We relish the outdoors and are fortunate enough to be placed in an outdoor playground, where we hope many will come to experience and enjoy.
Now, five months in and expecting our first baby in the Spring, we are excited about the journey ahead and capturing your enthusiasm for the wonders of Barwhillanty...