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Uniquely peaceful

glamping holidays

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The Old Pine Yurt - uniquely peaceful glamping holidays with a touch of luxury - a truly relaxing escape to nature.

By oldpineyurt, Jul 14 2019 04:47PM

As it's been over two years since we published our previous effort, we think that we’re probably not cut out to be bloggers or social media influencers! However, thoughts of a carpet have moved us to take to the keyboard again to tell you a wee story. Intrigued? Read on!

A day or so ago, as we were cleaning the Hut in readiness for guests’ arrival, we spotted a small dirty mark on the carpet. Out came the Vanish (other carpet cleaning products are available) and a damp sponge; we sprayed the affected area and sat back to allow the product a few minutes to work its magic. As we waited, thoughts came to mind of how the carpet had come to be in the Hut in the first instance.

About four years ago a young couple asked if they could come to stay, bringing their baby, which had just begun to crawl. We discussed the issue, and decided that we would say yes; provided that the parents kept a close eye on the infant, there didn’t seem to be any reason not to – apart from the Hut floor. The floorboards are old and, although they have been polished smooth by generations of feet, we worried that a crawling baby might pick up splinters. What to do?

Then we remembered the old carpet square in the loft. It was something of an heirloom, having been a family possession since at least the early 1950s, and probably well before that. The trend towards fitted carpets, and subsequently for laminate flooring, had rendered the old-fashioned carpet square largely redundant; ours had lain in the attic, rolled up under a pile of junk, for nearly forty years, destined, most probably, never to see the light of day again – but, from memory, we thought that it might just fit the Hut floor.

Donald was despatched to investigate, and reappeared some forty minutes later with the carpet over his shoulder, perspiring and grumpy because he’d had to move the mountain of relics beneath which the carpet had been buried. We rolled out the carpet, a fine pure wool Wilton, on the Hut floor. It fitted – almost. An upright post, which Donald had used to strengthen the Hut roof during the heavy snowfalls of winter 2009-10, stopped the carpet from rolling out fully on one side; on a second side the fireplace prevented it from lying flat. Otherwise, it was perfect! We looked at each other, Donald obviously itching to use the Stanley (other makes of knife are available) knife that he was trying to hide behind his back. Half an hour passed, in a combination of heated discussion, long silences, and lots of emotion - the carpet had seen service in many houses, its edges had been the racetrack for many a toy car, and its intricate patterns had entertained infant minds for hours.

Guests who have stayed at the Old Pine Yurt will know what happened next; we cut the carpet to fit around both the offending post and the fireplace. The baby was saved!

Fast forward two years to the nice gentlemen from VisitScotland who were doing a survey on glamping, and came to ask us some questions. It was a cold April day, with frequent snow showers, but we were all cosy in the Hut, with the stove crackling away as we sat with coffee and biscuits. The business part of the meeting over, talk turned to more general things. We noticed one of our visitors, Bob, admiring the carpet; he told us that his father had owned a carpet company, in which Bob himself had also worked for several years, so he was somewhat of an expert in the field. We proudly related the story of how the carpet had been brought out of retirement to save the delicate hands and knees of a tender infant.

“Hmmmm” he said, “that’s a shame – it would have been worth two or three thousand pounds if you hadn’t cut it up” . . . . .

By oldpineyurt, May 24 2017 09:01PM

Having introduced the old Scots pine tree in our first blog, perhaps we ought to begin this one by introducing ourselves.

'We' are Donald and Fenella and we've lived in this area for most of our lives. Fenella has always lived in the north-east of Scotland, but is a comparative newcomer to Tomintoul, having been here only since 1963; however, Donald's ancestry in Strathavon can be traced back to the 1750s. In the 19th century his paternal great-grandparents were living in Glen Brown, first at Tombreck, then at Stronachavie, where his grandmother was born; looking at the ruined buildings today, it's hard to imagine that Stronachavie was once home to a family of 12.

Donald's grandmother left the croft as a teenager to take a job in 'service' in East Lothian; there she met and married Donald's grandfather, who had fled from a life of poverty and hardship in rural Ireland for, probably, a harder one in the steelworks of central Scotland. Some 80 years ago, after the death of her husband, she returned to Tomintoul and bought Fodderletter, which has been in the Corr family ever since, passing first to Donald’s Uncle Raymond – who ran a veterinary practice from the cottage - then to Donald’s father, and latterly to Donald himself.

The Hut was erected as a base for family holidays almost 60 years ago, when Donald was a young boy. At that time his family lived in Edinburgh, where his father was teaching. However, the call of the wild was strong and every summer the whole family – father, mother, Donald, his brother, three sisters, and the dog – would pile into an old Fordson van and head for Fodderletter, where Uncle Raymond was living at the time. Donald’s youngest sister was invariably sick on the journey and horror stories abound of how the other siblings took evasive action, scrabbling desperately to the farthest corners of the vehicle interior as the poor wean clung miserably to her bucket. It was always a tedious journey for the children, but the latter stages of the trip were brightened by the promise of a sweet for the first person to spot the cottage as the van rounded the final bend of the journey; even the youngest one cheered up at the prospect of a toffee.

The five youngsters spent the whole of their summer holiday at the hut, doing what children used to do before the onset of the digital revolution; they swam in the river, had campfires, climbed trees (including the old Scots pine), dammed burns, went fishing, and had expeditions into the hills, armed with a packet of sandwiches and a camping kettle. However, although there are those who maintain that the sun shone all day long during the neverending summers of their youth, Donald tells a different story; it rained frequently during these Corr family holidays, the children were usually soaked to the waist from thrashing about in the long, wet grass all day and, inevitably, the whole family went home with a tell-tale ‘welly boot rash’ just below the knee. Halcyon days indeed!

Below: the Hut on a suitably wet evening brings back memories for Donald!

By oldpineyurt, Dec 9 2016 10:29AM

. . . or rather, in this case, from little pine cones!

Thinking that the process would be relatively simple, we decided to enter the world of blogging. It turns out, though, that it’s full of technical jargon that we really don’t understand, and the learning curve is going to be pretty much vertical for a while! However, we’re going for it – and where better to start than at the beginning, at about the time when Donald first decided that he had to do something with the neglected patch of hillside under the spreading branches of the old pine tree?

Of course, the beginning goes back much further than that; we can't really be sure how old our Scots Pine tree is, but it has probably been growing happily on the hillside here for at least two hundred years, and could doubtless tell a tale or two. The track between the cottage and what were once the farm outbuildings was originally part of the old military road so, amongst other things, the tree will have witnessed the transition from foot and horse traffic along the old track to the very first motor car to travel on the new road!

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